Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Heather Weishaar, Outreach Director, 708-588-2282

CEO and Founder of GreenPlay, LLC Keynotes 2019-20 Leadership Academy

La Grange - In 2012, The Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) launched its Leadership Academy, an intensive program that benefits park and recreation professionals, regardless of what stage they are in their career.  There are two levels to the Academy and the curriculum at each level focuses on building great leaders to strengthen parks and recreation agencies. At the completion of each level, individuals will receive a Certificate of Completion from Western Illinois University. Applications for the 2019-20 program are now available on the IPRA website,

Since its inception, over 500 professionals have graduated from the program, with over 96% stating they would recommend the program to a colleague. Previous participants have said:

  • "...Thank you IPRA for providing me with the valuable tools and opportunities to grow as a professional within this field."

  • "I felt that Leadership Academy was extremely worthwhile.  I will highly recommend it to others who are looking to grow in the field.  I am looking forward at growing in my leadership skills with the information that was provided."

  • "This was an incredible learning experience.  Thank you."

The program highlight for 2019-20 include:

  • Educational topics including: Global Leadership, Innovation, Change Management, Development, Communication, and Hot Topics/Trends

  • iLearn: Literature Review and Research Program
    iLearn is a multi-faceted program facilitated by the Joint Section Education Committee in conjunction with Leadership Academy.  iLearn Participants will be placed into small groups to research a hot topic, discuss the topic's implications to the Parks & Recreation field, and present their findings at the IAPD/IPRA Annual Soaring to New Heights Conference.

  • Rod Aiken Memorial Scholarship Opportunity
    This is a special scholarship funded by restrictive funds solely designated to this scholarship type.  This scholarship was developed in memory ad honor of Rod Aiken, a former and passionate IPRA member who was committed to the development of young professionals so that Illinois would have a sustainable approach to developing the new leaders of the Illinois Park and recreation system.

  • Building your personal network of parks and recreation colleagues

  • Small-group, personal-growth discussions

  • Team-building community service project performed by attendees

The 2019-20 program will feature keynote speaker, Teresa Penbrooke. Dr. Teresa Penbrooke’s career has included over 30 years of private and non-profit business management, teaching, and research, including years as a parks and recreation agency administrator and program coordinator for three different public agencies in Colorado. She is currently the Director of the Healthy Communities Research Group and Faculty for GP RED, a national non-profit that provides Research, Education, and Development for health, recreation, and land management agencies. Teresa is also the CEO and Founder of GreenPlay, LLC, a leading national private parks, recreation, tourism, and open space consulting firm, which has completed community engagement and planning for over 500 communities since 1999. 

More information and applications for the 2019-20 Leadership Academy are available on the IPRA website,

Established in 1944, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s mission is to provide and promote exceptional standards of education, networking, and resources for all professionals in the Illinois park, recreation, and conservation communities. For more information about IPRA, its board and mission, please call us or visit the IPRA website: