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 – Simon Chater

Following a 22 year career in Central Government both as an operational manager and training consultant which included a period seconded to an educational charity, Simon founded and built JODA Training, designing and delivering a portfolio of management, leadership and interpersonal skills programmes within both the UK and Central/ Eastern Europe.

As member of ISMAUK for over 20 years, Simon is committed to raising peoples’ awareness of stress in the workplace and helping them develop coping strategies for themselves and others. He has delivered a range of events including Coping with Stress and Stress Awareness for Managers and Team Leaders. These have been either standalone short awareness programmes such as the ones recently delivered to staff of a local authority in Suffolk or as part of accredited programmes from the Institute of Leadership and Management.


Trustee – Carol Johnson

Carol Johnson1Professionally, I am a Director of HealthCV Ltd. which I established in 1991 to provide a high quality supportive service to organisations regarding the health and wellbeing of their employees. Previous to this, I 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 play an active part in designing and delivering these services.

My interest in Health and Wellbeing came to the fore when I was living in the USA. Wellness Programmes were prevalent at the time and I became involved with The Association for Worksite Health Promotion becoming Network Director, then Chair of the UK Branch.

On returning to England, 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 as I 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 ISMAUK since 1994 and very much value the support, information and advice I have received over the years. The opportunity to join the Board is 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 ISMAUK has a vital role in promoting high standards of professional practice.

Trustee – Frances Taylor

Frances avatarI have been working in the area of stress management since 2005 when I undertook a Diploma in Relaxation Interventions and started running practical stress management workshops in schools.

As my private practice as a stress management coach grew, I realised that helping individuals was only part of the solution as many problems originated in the workplace.

I undertook further training in organisational stress management and in 2008 founded Brightspark Training Ltd, providing a range of services from workplace interventions through to supporting individuals to return to work.

As a teacher and University Lecturer in my earlier career, I am often to be found running training events in the education sector as well as in a range of other business sectors. My private practice continues and I have recently founded The Personal Development Company (UK) Ltd, offering personal development coaching programmes.

I continue to develop Brightspark’s business services as the world of stress management changes. For example, more of my work these days centres on resilience and promoting a positive management culture. I maintain, however, my practical focus and love to run workshops on skills that people can learn and then use for themselves to enhance their wellbeing. I am particularly interested in insomnia.

I have been a member of ISMAUK since 2007. It has been immensely valuable to be able to draw on ISMA’s professional support to guide and inform my work. In return, I have contributed to the work of ISMAUK in a number of ways including running the North West Region. I was delighted, therefore, to be made a Fellow of ISMAUK in 2012.

I am passionate about high professional standards; joining the Board is a great opportunity to assist ISMAUK to flourish as the leading professional body for all those working in this field.

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 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 40 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 UK the Coordinating 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.