IHRSA Advocacy Staff
Helen Durkin, J.D.
Executive Vice President of Public Policy
As IHRSA's Executive Vice President of Public Policy, Durkin is a Champion of the Health Club Industry and a committed advocate for physical activity, primary prevention, and public policies that promote wellness because it will take more than personal responsibility to get the world active.
Helen joined IHRSA in 1989 and developed the health club industry's first government relations and legal service programs. Prior to her role with IHRSA, Durkin worked for the labor law firm of Kearns & Associates, and worked in various government positions in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.
Helen received her law degree in 1986 from Washington College of Law, American University and received her undergraduate degree in political science at Holy Cross where she was a member of the varsity lacrosse team.
Durkin lives to ski, dreams of knitting nirvana, is a mom, wife and springer spaniel owner.
Vice President of Health Promotion and Health Policy
Amy works on growing and promoting the health club industry by increasing the size of the exercising population, and protecting the industry from legislation that hurts clubs' bottom-lines. Bantham has worked in the industry for almost 20 years, as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer. She joined IHRSA in 2006. Prior to joining IHRSA, Bantham worked as a management consultant in the agri-food industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Master of Science from Northeastern University.
Vice President - Communications & Leadership Engagement
As Vice President of Communication and Leadership Engagement at IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, Meredith Poppler puts her 20+ year career in the industry to work protecting and promoting health clubs by raising awareness of and funding for important policy issues, and encouraging advocacy, collaboration and leadership within the industry. And, as IHRSA’s Media liaison, Poppler communicates the importance of physical activity and the benefits that health clubs provide to their communities. Meredith also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennis Industry Association, representing the health and sports club industry. Follow @PopplerMeredith for information on health promotion, the benefits of exercise, breaking industry news, and fitness trends. Learn more about Meredith in the Meet Team IHRSA blog series.
Alexandra Black, MPH, RD, LDN
Health Promotion Manager
Alex is a registered dietitian (RD) and physical activity advocate with experience as a college athlete, clinical dietitian, CrossFit coach, and nutrition blogger. As IHRSA's Health Promotion Manager she is committed to promoting health clubs as a primary solution to the physical inactivity crisis, and providing IHRSA member clubs the tools and resources they need to design and implement successful health promotion initiatives. She also writes articles for Get Active! Magazine, publishes the Health Benefits of Exercise Report every other week, enjoys running, and loves the Florida Gators. Follow Alex's tweets about physical activity and healthy lifestyles at @IHRSA_GetActive.
Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
As IHRSA's Communications and Public Relations Coordinator, Shannon communicates with members of IHRSA and the industry about policy issues that would impact daily health club operations. She also works with larger media influencers to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity and the role that health clubs play in making the world more active.
Shannon holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees—in communication and journalism—from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a regular contributor to the ihrsa.org blog and contributing writer & editor of the IHRSA Advocate.
When she's not writing, she enjoys the therapeutic benefits of a long run, the relaxation found in practicing yoga, and the adrenaline rush of cheering for the best sports team around—the New England Patriots.
Government Relations Coordinator
As Government Relations Coordinator, Suzanne analyzes legislation and policy issues impacting the industry in the 50 states and before Congress, and communicates the association’s policy positions to key decision-makers. She also works with IHRSA members on grassroots engagement to maximize opportunities to protect and promote fitness businesses.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Wellesley College. Prior to joining IHRSA, Suzanne held positions in politics and government, including as an opposition researcher on behalf of campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. She enjoys spinning and yoga in her free time.