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Gwen Eileen Leslie, BSc(HEc)

Committed to the profession of home economics, Gwen Leslie believed in service to the public and in maintaining professional standards. In doing so, she dedicated many hours, and travelled across the country willingly and enthusiastically.

Gwen graduated in home economics from the University of Manitoba in 1955. While at university, she was active in the student council, newspaper and yearbook, and was campus reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press for a year.

Following graduation, Gwen worked at the Portage la Prairie School for the Mentally Handicapped, at the Winnipeg Municipal Hospitals, and at the Winnipeg Tribune. In 1958, she became associate home editor at Country Guide magazine, where she remained until 1968, when she joined the federal government as consumer consultant for Fisheries Services, Department of the Environment. In 1973, she moved to the Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada, as Regional Consultant, Educational Services, Central Region (Manitoba/Saskatchewan), a position she held until her death. In these capacities, Gwen participated in public education programs on radio and television, as well as in conferences directed at public information and industrial issues, both as an exhibitor and as a presenter.
Throughout her career, Gwen was active in the Manitoba Home Economics Association, including a term as president in 1966, and the Canadian Home Economics Association (CHEA), including a term as Manitoba director and as co-chair of the 1977 CHEA Conference in Winnipeg. She was a member of the Saskatchewan Home Economics Association and was a founding member of Home Economists in Business – Winnipeg.

In addition, Gwen held positions in several professionally-associated organizations. These included chair of the Canadian Women’s Press Club (Winnipeg); Manitoba regional director of the Canadian Women’s Press Club; a director of the Board of the Alumni Association of the University of Manitoba, chairing the membership, branch development, and public relations committees; alumni representative on the University of Manitoba Board of Governors, where she chaired the public relations committee; and chair of the Winnipeg Branch of the Media Club of Canada. Gwen was a member of the Federal Government Information Officers Group, and a member of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, Manitoba Region, where she was program chair in 1980-81 and a member of the National Conference planning committee. As a member of Alpha Delta Pi, she offered leadership and support for the sorority’s philanthropic projects and other activities, as well as gaining lasting friendships which were an important part of her life.

Gwen strongly supported the aims of the Canadian Home Economics Foundation. Following her death in December 1985, her family wished to perpetuate her association with public education in her professional field. They have done this by funding an annual lecture, first held in 1989. The Gwen E. Leslie Memorial Lecture, on a health promotion topic of interest to both members of the public and of the profession, is administered by the Canadian Home Economics Foundation.

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