Board of Trustees

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.

Here is the current Board of Trustees of ISMAUK

Chair – 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.

Trustee – Yvonne Williams


With over 15 years experience as a specialist in the field of health, wellbeing and stress management, Yvonne’s passion is to support individuals and organisations by ensuring that they have the tools to be resilient and make the link between engaging with their role and the importance of health and wellbeing.

Yvonne is a qualified Business Performance Coach, NLP practitioner and Certified Stress Resilience Coach.  She is a Member of the Association of NLP Practitioners and The International Stress Management Association and is accredited in using various psychometric tools, as well as designing her own personality profile training program simply titled ‘Impressions’.  Prior to this, she worked in occuaptional health for over a decade, working with FTSE 100’s through to SME’s in the field sickness absence management.

Yvonne has a love of technology, creativity and having worked in operational management for BUPA Wellness, she also has an obvious passion for business and entrepreneurship.  Outside work, Yvonne enjoys cooking, travel and is always excited to share photo’s and the story of the renovation of her very own Georgian Hall.

Yvonne joined the board in 2015.

Trustee – Edmund Jacobs


Edmund is a member of the Institute of Directors, a Chartered Fellow of IOSH, and Head of Health & Safety for the Ministry of Justice, which is one of the largest government departments. He has twenty five years’ experience in the field of Occupational Health/Well-Being, Safety, and Risk Management across a wide range of large and complex public sector organisations.

His OHS strategy during his time at London Borough of Sutton led them to receiving a HSE Regional Award for European Week for Safety & Health. He is the past Chairperson for the London Health & Safety Group and was previously for many years Vice Chairperson / Board of Trustee for a local charity dedicated to supporting people recovering from mental health difficulties.

Edmund has a Masters Degree in Occupational Safety & Health and undertook a research project into the application of dynamic risk assessment for the City of London Police, where he previously worked for several years as Head of Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare (during the time of the London bombings). His research led to the revision of dynamic risk assessment training within his police force.


President – Professor Stephen Palmer

Stephen PalmerProf. Stephen Palmer PhD is a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a special interest in stress management, performance and wellbeing. He is HCPC Registered Health & Counselling Psychologist, a member of the BPS Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors and holds the European Certificate in Psychology (Clinical & Health).  His PhD thesis was titled, Stress: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives.

Stephen is the Founder Director of the Centre for Stress Management and Centre for Coaching, London. Since 2001, he has been the UK’s first Visiting Professor of Work Based Learning and Stress Management at the Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University.

Stephen has authored over 225 articles and 47 books on a range of topics including stress management, self-esteem and self-acceptance, positive and coaching psychology, resilience,  suicide prevention, death and bereavement, cognitive behavioural and rational emotive behaviour therapy, coaching psychotherapy and counselling. He is also a Consulting and Executive Editor of several esteemed journals.

He is actively involved in a number of professional bodies as President, Vice-President, Founder, Director, Chair and Deputy Chair. He is a Fellow and former Vice President of ISMAUK. He has been a member of ISMAUK (and the former ISTCS) since 1987 and was Editor of Stress News.

In 2000, Stephen received the Annual Counselling Psychology Award from the British Psychological Society, Division of Counselling Psychology, for his ‘Outstanding professional and scientific contribution to counselling psychology in Britain’. In 2008, he received a Distinguished Award for his outstanding and continued contribution to coaching psychology from the British Psychological Society Special Group in Coaching Psychology.

His interests include jazz, art and coastal walking.

Vice President – Jane Abraham

Jane abraham

Jane is the founder of Flourish Workplace Ltd and is a freelance consultant specialising in health and wellbeing at work. Her specialities include wellbeing audits, impact assessments and evaluations of wellbeing programmes, Government policy, improving business performance and organisational culture through the workforce, the future challenges to workers health, evidence-based models for wellbeing at work and Corporate Social Responsibility. She is also an accredited assessor for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter.

Jane is acknowledged as an expert in her field with exposure on a national and global scale. She has won multiple awards for her wellbeing programmes across a range of sectors and is recognized for her expertise after working at a strategic level for the UK Government to deliver the Black Report (2008) recommendations and the Boorman report for the NHS. She has been responsible for managing large strategic partnerships with stakeholders to facilitate the delivery of health and wellbeing at work programmes and has been a catalyst for action and central point of reference for Government policy, stakeholder engagement, service providers and good practice.

More recently Jane has been a specialist advisor to the University of Exeter Medical School advising on Government policy, good practice from around the world and global research on work, wellbeing and health. She is a Senior Lecturer for the Medical School and Business School, as well as other academic institutes, and is a regular keynote speaker in venues across Europe speaking about policy, the growing evidence base and the models and theories of good practice to support successful interventions.  Jane is part of the World Health Organisation’s healthy workplace network.

Vice President – Professor Derek Mowbray 

Derek MowbrayDerek is a Chartered Psychologist. He specialises in the primary prevention of psychological distress. His work approaches and interventions are well recognised and adopted throughout the UK and internationally. He is a Director of The National Centre for Applied Psychology, Chairman of The Wellbeing and Performance Group, a group of companies specialising in prevention including Organisation Health and The Management Advisory Service.

Derek is visiting Professor at Northumbria University and the University of Gloucestershire, where he is tutor to the MSc in Wellbeing and Performance based on The Wellbeing and Performance Agenda.  Passionate about his subject he has written extensively about it and in the past year has published Guides to The Wellbeing and Performance Agenda, Corporate Resilience, Adaptive Leadership and Personal Resilience.

Derek’s work in the stress management field focuses on the problems at work that may trigger off adverse reactions in people, causing them to feel unwell, under intense pressure, tension and strain, and which results in under performance. This includes psychological presenteeism, its devastating impact on the performance of individuals and their organisations. Learn more about Derek’s work here

Vice President – Ann McCracken

BSc (Hons). MSc. ARCPath. PGCE, Dip Clin Hyp, Dip Stress Mgt. Dip Coach. Cert CBT EBW Adv. Facilitator MHA  FISMA







Ann trained as a scientist, working in both the medical and education sectors and is now an experienced stress management consultant and trainer. Ann is an author, media expert, motivational speaker, hypnotherapist, and  coach. Ann is a Vice President of the International Stress Management Association (ISMAUK) as well as an Accredited ISMAUK Trainer for PAS 1010 ,an experienced leadership Coach and EBW Advanced Facilitator and Managing Director of AMC2.