Debbie Trueblood, MS, CAE
Executive Director

• Oversight

• Board

• Budget/Financial Health

• Strategic Planning

• Foundation 

Year started at IPRA:

Education: Master’s in Social Work, Certified Association Executive (CAE), certificate in nonprofit management

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: My favorite event is our annual Awards Luncheon at the conference. I love the opportunity to recognize professionals across Illinois for their hard work and dedication. It is a wonderful opportunity to see each award recipient’s face light up when they hear their name called and they hear the words of their peers honoring them.

Little Known Fact About Me: Before he had a security detail with him, I once ran into Barack Obama in a hotel elevator when I was going for ice in my pajamas!

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: When I’m not at IPRA, I like to participate as volunteer supporting theater in my local community. I also enjoy spending time with my mom and my husband Tom.


Matt Fairbanks, MS, CPRP
Education and Membership Director

Educational & Networking  Oversight 

• Membership Strategy

• Affiliate Relations

• Elections
• Awards

Year started at IPRA: 2012

Education: B.S., Geography, Illinois State University, M.S., Recreation and Sport Management, Indiana State University, Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), Aquatics Facility Operator (AFO)

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience:  I have a quite a few including - the Leadership Academy, Agency Showcase & State Education Roadshows.

Little Known Fact About Me: I do not like watermelon!

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Spending time with family and friends, CrossFit, watching/playing basketball, enjoying good food and traveling.


Barry Franks
Finance Director                              

• IPRA Financials

• Section Financials

• Foundation Financials

• Finance Committee Liaison

• Audits

Year started at IPRA: 2009

Education: MBA    

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: My time spent in Lombard Maintenance Facility during our location transition.

Little Known Fact About Me: I was an Olympic Torch Bearer.

What I like to do when not working for IPRA:  Any outdoor activity.


Leesa Johnson
Conference and Meetings

• IAPD/IPRA Conference

• IAPD/IPRA Conference    

• Meeting Planning

• IPRA Event Logistics 

Year started at IPRA: 2013

Education: B.A., Liberal Arts & Sciences, Virginia Tech; M.S., Social Work, University of Chicago

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: Conference stuffing party. It's a ton work to coordinate but awesome to see all of the volunteers come together to help.

Little Known Fact About Me: I was a senior in high school twice because I earned enough credits to graduate a year early, but then decided to stay with my original graduating class! 

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Spend time with my husband; visiting family and friends back in DC; hosting gatherings with local friends.


Jean Kane
Marketing & Executive Assistant

• Board support for the IPRA Board

• Support for the IPRF Board

• Marketing

• Office management

Year started at IPRA: 2018

Education: Moraine Valley Community College: Focus in Business Administration, Meeting & Event Planning 

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: TBD

Little Known Fact About Me: I was in several movies.

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Spend time with family & sleep!


Kim Laper
Membership and Website

• Membership renewal, retention and recruitment

• Registration and Member services

• Website

• IPRF / Joint Section Golf Outing

Year started at IPRA: 2018

Education: B.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, M.S., Recreation, Sport & Tourism, University of Illinois

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: Professional Development School

Little Known Fact About Me: I hate bananas!

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Spending time with family/friends and traveling.


Duane Smith, CPRP
Education & Events Manager

• Administrative Support to Education and Conference Directors

• Section & Committee Liaison

• CEU Processing & Information

• Conference Mobile App

Year started at IPRA: 2016 

Education: B.A., Social Science / Secondary Education, North Central College 

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: Soaring to New Heights Conference 

Little Known Fact About Me: I coached high school soccer and taught junior high Language Arts for four years. 

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Traveling, reading, wood-working, biking, and spending time with my family.


Heather Weishaar
Outreach Director

• Commercial Membership

• Job Board

• Newsletter

• Unplug Illinois 

Year started at IPRA: 2001

Education: B.A., Organizational Communication, Western Michigan University

Favorite IPRA Event/Experience: Park Pursuit

Little Known Fact About Me: I love to watch boxing. 

What I like to do when not working for IPRA: Spend time with family, shuttle my kids Emma & Andrew to their park district activities, travel!