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 – Sam Goddard

Samantha-Goddard1As a trained Human Resource Manager with many years of experience in UK and US Financial Management, I understand the growing pressures and accompanying stress that can be present in organisations for both employer and employee. Since making the decision to become a Stress Management Consultant and Therapist some ten years ago, it is this experience that I draw on when working to provide applicable practical and transparent solutions for stress awareness and management.

My training in Stress Management and Energy work has provided me with a number of invaluable and practical tools to enable me to help individuals look at their current state of being in its entirety: physical, mental and spiritual health. This provides a platform to learn the impact that Stress has on all three aspects of our body and the need for equilibrium between them.

I have trained, and have experience of, in a number of holistic therapies including Reiki, Massage, Mindfulness and Integrative Counselling. I am a Registered Stress Practitioner and a Full member of ISMAUK, as well as a Reiki Master Teacher for the UK Reiki Federation and a full long-term member of the CThA.

This, together with my extensive and varied work experience incorporating Office Administration, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Band, Tour & Event Management, leads me to believe that I bring a very different and fresh perspective on direction for ISMAUK. I am keen to develop Stress Awareness within the Music Industry & the Family Sector, specifically with Teenagers.

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 – Paula Kalik

Paula KalikDuring my 25 years as a successful interior design consultant providing a bespoke service to clients worldwide, I gained valuable experience in managing the workplace and the effects of stress on the individual which prompted me to study Business Management in order to be a more effective leader. It was clear to me that although good leadership is critical in managing a workplace effectively, it did not fully address the issue of stress. This led to my earning a BSc Degree (with honours) in Psychology & Ergonomic. My interest in well-being rapidly increased and I qualified as a Clinical hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, a Master NLP coach, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Stress Management Consultant, EMDR & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I continually add further qualifications to form an impressive therapeutic toolbox.

As a director at Affronte Well-being Therapies and Affronte Corporate Stress, I work in both the public/ private sectors, and in Mental Health & Learning Disabilities helping clients to overcome a diverse range of challenges. My training in Ergonomics has been extensive and the understanding that many work-related injuries/illnesses are reduced when ergonomics and the psychology of stress are taken into consideration. As result, the services I provide take a strategic approach to improving well-being, managing stress and workplace absenteeism by implementing strategies in Ergonomics, Stress Management and Holistic therapies.

I am dedicated to promoting well-being and tackling stress; and am a member of ISMAUK, the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, the National Council of Psychotherapists and registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register.

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 AbrahamJane 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

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

AMcAnn 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.

Non Executive Member Alan Bradshaw

Alan photo

I’m a Business Psychologist and my business is called Work-Life Solutions ( 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 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 ISMAUK 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 ISMAUK. (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!