Meet Our Board

Dr. Robert Ashcraft
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Robert F. Ashcraft, Ph.D. is a citizen champion of public parks and recreation. His years of service are based on a belief that parks and recreation are essential to building community well-being, not for some, but for all. Dr. Ashcraft served for a decade on the board of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), including a stint as its Chair, during an era when NRPA developed and enacted its pillars of Health and Wellness, Equity and Conservation. Dr. Ashcraft has a global reputation for his pioneering work to advance the understanding of and effective practice for leaders of nonprofit/philanthropic organizations. Under his leadership, the ASU Lodestar Center is considered one of the world’s leading nonprofit academic centers, renowned for its research, education, leadership programs, technical assistance and conference activities, helping to build the capacity of the social sector for those who lead, manage and support nonprofits. In 2012 Dr. Ashcraft was named one of the most influential leaders in the nonprofit sector by the Nonprofit Times as a member of its “Power and Influence Top 50” list.

Lori J Daniel
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Lori J Daniel developed and directed the city of Aurora, CO, Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department recreation services since 1972, twice National Gold Medal Award recipients; graduated from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC); regularly participated in professional development schools, conferences, and National Certification Program. Lori has served many professional state, regional & national association roles including National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) president, chair of Strategic Planning and Governance Reduction, NRPA Ambassador; state CPRA president and all elected offices; Board of regents/instructor for various national schools/conferences; American Park & Recreation Society president. Lori has been recognized for Life Time Achievement locally, the Distinguished Professional Award at the state and regional levels, and UNC Distinguished Alumni Award.

Chris Dropinski - Board Secretary
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Leading projects across the country, Chris has gained perspective and knowledge of best business practices. Championing a mission-based entrepreneurial approach with engaged stakeholders she offers expert advice in areas such as organizational relationships and strategic management, striving to assure professionals are prepared to respond appropriately to well-meaning policy makers and constituents. 

Her current role as co-owner and Senior Principal at GreenPlay, spanning 20 years, builds on a strong foundation of 24 years of Parks and Recreation administration with nearly half of that as Director of the City of Boulder, Colorado, Parks and Recreation Department.  Armed with a teaching degree in addition to her P&R Administration degree, Chris has passionately helped move our profession forward, taking advantage of opportunities to serve in leadership and faculty positions ranging from non-profits and foundations, to the NRPA Rocky Mountain Revenue and Management School, and the National Association of Park Foundations.

As a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive, a fellow of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administrators, and experienced consultant she continues to help organizations remain relevant in our ever-changing environment.  Living in Colorado with her husband Mike is extraordinary, and motherhood has been the joy of her life.

Lori Berkes-Nelson
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Lori Berkes-Nelson, M.S. Ed, CFRE,is the Executive Director of the Rockford Park District Foundation. She has been securing philanthropic support and enhancing awareness of the Rockford Park District's benefits to the community since 2014. The Rockford Park District Foundation was founded in 1979 and to date has raised more than $50 million dollars thanks to the generosity of friends and donors to support various capital projects and programs that serve youth. The Foundation is a 501 c (3) and is led by a 22 member volunteer Board of Directors.

Lori is a natural born networker who believes in the importance of intentional and motivational leadership. She has devoted her professional life to non-profit viability through successful leadership, board development, strategic planning, fundraising and marketing. She has over 30 years of non-profit management experience including leadership at Rosecrance, Golden Apple Foundation and Econ Illinois. Lori holds a Master of Science in Counseling from Northern Illinois University and has earned the credential of Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

Eriks Janelsins
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Eriks Janelsins was named President & CEO of The Oglebay Foundation in October 2012 after spending more than a decade as the Director of the Henry Stifel Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay where he led a multi-state educational program. During his tenure, he worked to create a number of statewide professional organizations devoted to education and the environment working with diverse partners. Eriks served as the founding Director of the NRPA Green School, a comprehensive professional development program for park professionals focused on improving sustainability and green infrastructure within municipal parks and communities. He represents West Virginia on the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission and Chairs the Public Interest Advisory Committee. He has chaired task forces related to local education, community development, and health initiatives. Eriks moved to Wheeling as part of his year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA when he worked on education and community development projects in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. Eriks received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Wabash College and has completed graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University. He is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Carol Johnson
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Carol Johnson leads all community affairs partnerships, branding, communications and external relations for the largest regional park district in the U.S. She also serves concurrently as Executive Director of the Regional Parks Foundation, overseeing all

private fundraising and a corporate governing board whose mission is to expand access to parks for under-represented communities. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from University of San Francisco, and a certificate from the Public Affairs Institute, affiliated with U.C. Berkeley. Carol serves as chair of the California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism, and Board Member for the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Center for Nature & Health Advisory Board.

Tim Herd
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Tim Herd, CPRE is the CEO of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, the statewide professional association for those who work or volunteer in parks and recreation, providing industry leadership, professional development, advocacy, and resources.

He is a Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE), and has been nationally recognized by the Take Pride in America Awards Program for his “commitment and exceptional contributions to the stewardship of America’s natural and cultural resources.” Tim is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, and the author of six books and countless published articles, features, and serial columns on leadership development, the benefits of parks, and connecting to nature. He is married to Carol for more than four decades, and boasts of four grown and accomplished children.

Mark McKinnon
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Mark McKinnon has nearly 40 years’ experience in parks and recreation administration, programming and facility management in the Chicago metropolitan area.  From 2006 through 2015, Mark served as the Executive Director of the Addison Park District and previously held positions with the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District and the Orland Park Recreation Department.  Today, Mark is the CEO of Recreation Executive Consultants (REC), a consulting firm focusing on managing strategic and comprehensive plans, executive searches and staff teambuilding.  He and his wife, Kathy, live in Bloomingdale, Illinois and are the proud parents of 3 great adults—one of which followed Mark into a career in parks and rec management.

Matthew Rosebrock
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Matthew Rosebrock has worked for the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission for the past 18 years primarily Managing the Festival and Event department for the Recreation Division. In August of 2019, he took the role of Business Development Manager managing all activities for the Charleston County Parks Foundation and the sponsorship and sales initiatives for the Commission. He is happily married to Marie and has an eager 18 year old daughter named Lucy. Matthew enjoys playing with his dog Henry, listening to music and playing sports like basketball and Frisbee golf.

Kelly Schmidt
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Kelly Schmidt has worked in the field of parks, recreation and conservation education for more than  26 years, serving municipalities, non-profits and park districts in Florida, Colorado, Scotland, California, Texas and Washington. Kelly is a founding board member of the National Association of Aquatic Professionals and Vashon Island Parks and Recreation Foundation.  Kelly is a graduate of the NRPA Director’s School. Academic achievements include her Bachelor of Science in Natural resources Recreation & Tourism from Colorado State University’s College of Natural Resources and her Masters of Science in Recreation and Leisure Service Administration and Management from Texas State University.

Professionally, Kelly currently serves as the Parks and Community Services Director for the City of Dripping Springs, TX and resides in the same community she serves with her husband and two daughters.

Lakita Watson
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Lakita Watson is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional with over 25 years of experience in organizational leadership, program development, and capital improvement project management. She was appointed Executive Director of the Richland County Recreation Commission in Columbia, South Carolina in July 2018. She is also the volunteer Executive Director for the Richland County Recreation Foundation. Lakita is a graduate of Norfolk State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. She is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Public Administration from Liberty University. A true believer in lifelong learning, Lakita serves as a guest lecturer for universities and presents at local, state, and national conferences.

She currently serves as a regent for the Revenue Management Development School and on the Advisory Committee for GP RED. Lakita is the Past President of the National Recreation and Parks Ethnic Minority Society (NRPEMS) and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials (NACPRO). Lakita was inducted into the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration in 2020. In 2019, Lakita founded the Women in Parks and Recreation (WIPAR) Facebook Group, which is committed to providing a positive platform and space for women in the field to collaborate, connect and support each other. In 2021, WIPAR was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with an online following of almost 10,000 strong and growing every day!

Debbie Trueblood - Board Vice Chair
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​Debbie Trueblood, MSW, IOM, CAE: Debbie has been the Executive Director of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association since 2012. She has formerly served as Executive Director for Illinois HomeCare Council (Interim), International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, Academy for Eating Disorders, Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine, and Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. She has been a lobbyist for Illinois HomeCare Council, National Private Duty Association, and American Osteopathic Association. She is a graduate of the Dunn Fellowship with the Illinois Governor’s Office, the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, and the Institute for Organization Management (IOM). She is a Certified Association Executive. She has a Masters in Social Work from University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelors in Social Work from MacMurray College. She was a recipient of the Association Forum’s “Forty Under Forty” award. She served on the American Society of Association Executives Ethics Committee as Chair. She is a frequent presenter on association related topics.

Jill Applebee
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Jill Applebee is the Village Administrator of Forsyth, IL.  Previous to this role she served as Foundation Director for Decatur Park District.  She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and holds her CFRE and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management obtained from Indiana University Lilly Family School Of Philanthropy. Jill is a member of AFP, Rotary #180, P.E.O.

Joe Wynns - Board Chair
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Wynns served as the Director of Indy Parks, Indianapolis, IN from 2000 to 2008 leading Indy Parks to the level of national finalist for the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2005, ’06 and ’07.   Concurrently, Wynns served on the Board of Directors of the National Recreation and Park Association (NAPA) Board of Directors from 2004 – 2011 during which time Wynns served on the Outdoor Resources Review Group (ORRG), a national bipartisan advisory panel with honorary co-chairs Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Jeff Bingaman. His work was presented to President Barack Obama’s Administration (Department of Interior) documenting the need for parks, outdoor recreation, open space and related issues. 

John Sydnor
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John was born and raised in Virginia and has called Richmond home for over 35 years. John received his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and has been in the nonprofit field for over 30 years working in economic development, fund raising, and affordable housing. John has been the Executive Director of the Enrichmond Foundation since 2011 and has grown the foundation from a one person operation to the vibrant, multi-jurisdictional and multi-departmental team that it is today.  Starting in 2016 Enrichmond initiated a renewed commitment to equitable access in public and open spaces for communities in need and started proactively implementing financing and services to rectify this critical issue. One of the most effective efforts in this commitment has focused on the reclamation and preservation of historic African American cemeteries in the City of Richmond.

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