ISMA was founded by and is still supported by the top names in the field of Stress Management. It is the world’s largest and most widespread organisation of Stress Management professionals with branches in 10 countries. There have been seven International Conferences and ISMAUK (the largest and the most active international branch) has organised twelve National UK Conferences.
Here is the current Board of Trustees of ISMAUK
ISMA STANDARDS COMMITTEE
Prof Derek Mowbray BA. MSc. MSc(Econ). PhD. DipPsych. CPsychol. CSci. FIHM. MISMA.
Dr Derek Mowbray is a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist and Fellow of The Institute of Healthcare Management. He is also visiting Professor of Psychology at Northumbria University.
His experience includes that of a chief executive in the public and voluntary sectors, and as a company director in the private sector. He is an Independent Technical Expert for the European Commission assessing health services of countries seeking admission to the EU. Derek’s work in the primary prevention of psychological distress at work, and his expertise in leadership development and resilience is widely acknowledged as instrumental in changing approaches to managing stress.
His initiative in developing a Manager’s Code based on promoting behaviours that achieve commitment and trust is being applied in the public, private and education sectors, as part of his drive to embed wellbeing and performance in all organisations. He is the founder and a director of OrganisationHealth and The Management Advisory Service, and is a popular and regular contributor at national conferences on health and wellbeing.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
Dr. Katie Porkess MSc MBA PhD FISMA
My early career was in IT – designing and developing business systems. This led to business management consultancy. In 1998, an existing client, a major employer in the area, asked me to examine their HR database for information about absence rates. The analysis revealed that 25% of the absences were attributed to stress. However, discussions with the occupational nurse and welfare officer indicated but that employees were reluctant to acknowledge stress as a cause for absence because of the stigma attached to the condition and that the true figure was nearer 40%.
These findings intrigued me and on completing the contract, I went on to obtain qualifications in the management of stress in the workplace. In 1999, I set up my stress management consultancy. I am particularly proud of an electronic risk assessment tool that I have developed. It reports on stress at the organisational, functional and other group levels as well as for individuals.
This flexibility allows businesses to target their stress management strategies precisely where and as it is needed, and at the same time, enables individuals to learn what areas of their work-life would benefit from attention. In June 2011, I successfully completed doctorate level research into the relationship between stress and corrupt/unethical behaviour in groups.
I have now returned full-time to my stress consultancy business. My client list includes the MoD, academic institutions, the NHS and not-for-profit organisations. Private sector clients include companies in the manufacturing sector. In addition, I mentor individuals to help them develop coping strategies within their workplace. From time to time I also help people who have been off with long-term stress, to return to the workplace.
Frances Taylor FISMA
I’m lucky to enjoy a varied career which has seen me teaching classics in comprehensive schools, living and working in Turkey with two very young children, running a service for excluded school pupils and establishing three businesses. (not all at the same time!) No wonder I became interested in managing stress!
In 2000, on my return from working abroad, I decided to change direction and re-trained as a bodywork therapist and stress management coach. Spurred on by my love for this work, I realised that the workplace was in itself so often a cause of individual stress. Following further training and experience, I established brightspark training Ltd providing consultancy, training and coaching services to tackle organisational stress.
I also continue to run a private practice specialising in areas of personal wellbeing such as insomnia, relationship problems and other life stressors.
As one of the ways that I manage my own work-life balance is to experience the Great Outdoors, I feel very privileged to live in rural Derbyshire.
I knew early in my career that I wanted to support people to live more fulfilling lives. From my first workshops in local schools, I realised that the ability to relax healthily was a life skill that many people lacked. From there, I became interested in what caused people stress, whether that was the workplace or some other aspect of their lives. I’m passionate about sharing my practical expertise and have seen that surprisingly simple strategies can often make other’s lives more productive and fulfilled.
I have been a member of ISMA since 2006 and always valued the support and guidance of the Board. For the last 2 years or so, I have acted as Co-ordinator for the NW Region, organising informative events for members and others interested in wellbeing and stress management. I’ve always aspired to the highest standards in my own business and am consequently delighted to join the Board as it focuses on the promotion of rigorous professional practice.
By taking time to check out how I am feeling – a daily mindfulness practice is great for that. I am also a great believer in the therapeutic power of nature, even on a rainy Derbyshire morning! So as well as walking and gardening, I’m learning to sea kayak.
Carol Johnson MISMA
Professionally, I am a Director of HealthCV Ltd established in 1991 to provide a high quality supportive service to organisations regarding the health and wellbeing of their employees. Previous to this, I have worked as a Community Health & Fitness Officer for a Local Authority, Lecturer in Exercise and Health Studies and a Health and Fitness Advisor for a national company.
At HealthCV, programmes include full wellbeing initiatives, health screening, health & wellbeing workshops, open health events, and stress management consultancy, courses, and workshops. I live in the wonderful market town of Woodbridge in Suffolk and work closely with ‘Healthy Ambitions Suffolk’ to help promote good health across the region.
I lived in the USA for ten years and during that time I became very interested in the Wellness Programmes prevalent at the time. On returning to the UK, I explored ways of doing something similar here. Health and wellbeing was still relatively low on the agenda of many organisations and so there were lots of exciting opportunities for developing this area. I particularly became interested in the management of pressure and stress when having to juggle the demands of work, family and lots of changes and believe that a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of wellbeing is the most positive way to achieve a healthy balance.
I pursued further academic qualifications in stress management gaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Stress Management in the Workplace from The University of Oxford and also completed an MSc in Occupational Health and Fitness.I have been a member of ISMA since 1994 and very much value the support, information and advice I have received over the years. The opportunity to join the Board was a privilege and a wonderful chance to help make a positive contribution to the work of ISMAUK over the coming years. This is a particularly challenging time for individuals and businesses and I believe ISMA has a vital role in promoting high standards of professional practice.
Non Executive Members
Alan Bradshaw, Business Psychologist
I’m a Business Psychologist and my business is called Work-Life Solutions (www.the-stress-site.net). We promote evidence-based approaches to managing stress and enhancing wellbeing at work and provide training and development services to organisations.
I run a lot of events all round the UK (see alanbradshaw.eventbrite.com/). I’ve run 50 public stress management events in the last 20 months or so and have about 15 coming up. You have to be slightly mad to do this, but I love creating communities and having the opportunity to speak to a lot of people who share my interests (and it’s good for business!). I’m also a trustee of a homelessness charity based in Glasgow called The Marie Trust.
My interest goes back to the mid 1980s when I worked in the social care management field. I had some colleagues then who became ill, mentally and physically, where I was convinced stress was a contributory factor. I ended up doing a project, a kind of stress audit, as part of a management qualification and this really piqued my interest.
I ended up going back to uni in the early 90s as a mature student to study psychology and when I got the chance to specialise I chose work-related stress. After I graduated, I tried hard to find a job doing what I was interested in. But I couldn’t, so I started a business instead. Later, in 1998, with 3 partners, I founded a stress management consultancy called ‘In Equilibrium’, which is still going strong as far as I know. Since 2006,
I’ve been involved with the set up of a university spin out company called QoWL (stands for Quality of Working Life) and developing my current business, Work-Life Solutions. If anything, my personal and professional interest in stress has only deepened over the years. Despite initiatives like the Management Standards I think levels of stress have only carried on increasing. That’s worrying but also a motivation to do something to help reverse the trend.
A few reasons, both general and specific. I hope, like others involved, that I can make a difference, especially with regard to promoting stress prevention. I already do this in my day job so I feel I can support ISMA in promoting their messages too.
However, I have a more specific reason; I feel that my business development experience and skills could be helpful to the Board. I’ve set up and grown a number of businesses in the stress management field and made just about every marketing mistake it’s possible to make! But in the process, I’ve learned a lot. It would be great to use that experience to benefit ISMA. (I’m a trustee of another charity, in the homelessness sector, and I know how hard it is to generate income in the current climate).
A related reason is that many members are themselves trying to develop and grow their businesses in a very tough economic climate. In this sense, the launch of ISMA Business is hugely exciting. I hope that my business and marketing experience will help in the development of this much-needed service for members.
I try to play to my strengths and work with people with complementary skills (to make up for my weaknesses, of which there are several). I make sure that a good proportion of what I do is what I love doing and believe in. I work with, and collaborate with, people I like and trust. I’ve learned (the hard way!) that the small minority of problem clients and partners are not worth the hassle and stress.
Nowadays, if I get uncomfortable digestive grumblings, I take notice of them. I like to create – business is a creative activity and so are events. I’ve found that I really need that creative aspect. I’m a people person and an organiser by nature, so creating communities is important to me and gives me huge satisfaction.
Like many Scots, I’m a keen golfer and I enjoy the sport, social and nature aspects of golf. I’m as thrilled by seeing a bird of prey as I am by getting a birdie (an eagle is even better of course)!. Being able to help others and make a contribution matters to me, so my work with the charity and as a Rotarian is a great stress-reducer. Finally, I love a glass of wine. I’ve long been interested in wine and this led me a few years ago into setting up a wine meetup group that has 400+ members, for whom I’ve organised a huge number of events. Mad? Well, yes a bit, but this is what keeps me sane!