Positioning Plaid Cymru as "your community party", she drew attention to Labour's failings on public service delivery, saying "Wales cannot afford to keep rewarding a legacy of failure".
Addressing her Spring Conference audience in Newport, the Rhondda AM praised the track record of Plaid Cymru in local government.
She highlighted some of the achievements of the four Plaid Cymru-led local authorities, pointing out;
* Carmarthenshire Council's success in delivering improved outcomes according to the Wales Audit Office, and in building new council houses.
* Ceredigion Council's high performance in education, having the top Welsh spend per pupil.
* Conwy Council's position at the top of the league table for perceptions of council performance.
* Gwynedd Council's stance on protecting residents from the insidious Bedroom Tax, with 1,409 households helped so far.
In her speech, Leanne Wood said:
"Plaid Cymru is your local party. Your community party. We are on the side of the people, not the political establishment or bureacratic elite. In an increasing number of places, we are the people. We come from our communities and represent the people in them.
"I want this party to be rooted in the towns, villages and cities of Wales. I'm not interested in a party which speaks to people. Plaid Cymru speaks for people and with people. Our conversations are a two way dialogue, not a broadcast. And through those conversations, the tide is turning.
On Plaid Cymru's track record in local government, she stated:
"Since Plaid Cymru took over, the Wales Audit Office has commended Carmarthenshire for delivering improved outcomes. Plaid Cymru is restoring the county's good name.
"Ceredigion Council is spending the most money per pupil for education in the whole of the country. And under the Party of Wales Ceredigion is in the top 3 councils for almost all of the major education indicators.
"In the league table for people’s perception of the quality of council services, all four Plaid Cymru-led authorities score above average, with Plaid-led Conwy Council topping the league.
"And Plaid Cymru-run Gwynedd council has been innovative in its compassion and care for local people. Gwynedd has alleviated more than £600,000 of Bedroom Tax payments, enough to protect 1,409 households from the insidious Tory Bedroom Tax.
"Plaid Cymru councils are innovating and leading Wales in areas that matter to people, from social housing, education and clean streets that we can take pride in. All of us in this Conference hall can take pride in our excellent Plaid Cymru councils."
Closing her speech with an appeal to people in Wales, Leanne Wood said:
"And to all of the people who make up this wonderful nation of ours. I say this. We don't have to keep accepting second best. We don't have to put up with neglect, with the same political parties who have let people down time after time. We don't have to put up with dirty streets, with downgraded services, with our young people struggling to find opportunities.
"This is an opportunity for your community. And for your country. Don't let Wales be ignored. Send that message that we exist, and that we matter. Stand up for your interests, and for your own control, just like the Chartists did here all those years ago. Give your backing to Plaid Cymru, and join with us as we put in place the building blocks of a successful, more equal, and outward-looking Wales. Building a strong nation starts in your street. Building the new Wales starts with us, with you."