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ESSA and You


Our Structure

ESSA is guided by two key documents listed below:


ESSA Strategic Plan 2017-2020

ESSA Constitution



Membership Bylaw


Organisational Structure

ESSA’s organisational structure can be broken into the three following areas:

National Board

National Office

State Chapters



National Board



Kirsty Rawlings

Kirsty Rawlings is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and is currently Head of Programs and Innovation at Council on the Ageing SA. She has extensive experience as an Exercise Physiologist within private practice, university and government settings, having practised as an Exercise Physiologist for the last 18 years, and being a full member and Accredited Exercise Physiologist with ESSA since 2002. She has led the SA ESSA Chapter as State President/Chair for four years, and also contributed her skills and experience to the ESSA Exercise Physiology Advisory Group for 3 years.

Kirsty has undertaken teaching, research and clinical roles with the University of SA, and a research role with Adelaide University. Kirsty has worked within South Australian and Australian Government in primary health care roles, managing the Primary Health Care and Workforce unit with Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Through her most recent roles as Deputy CEO and CEO with CAHML and Executive Officer with Rural Doctors’ Association of SA, she has gained extensive experience in corporate and clinical governance, strategic planning and operationalisation, risk management and legal compliance, and stakeholder and member engagement. Kirsty currently has oversight of programs, business development, strategy, engagement, research and evaluation in her role as Head of Programs and Innovation with COTA SA.

Vice President

Prof. Steve Selig

Professor Steve Selig is the retired Chair in Clinical Exercise Science at Deakin University, was an academic in cardiovascular exercise physiology for 32 years, and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Cardiology, The University of Melbourne. Since 2005, he has served as Director on the National Board of Exercise & Sport Science Australia (ESSA), and during most of that time he chaired two peak national advisory groups for ESSA. In addition, Steve twice led national initiatives to review and restructure the ESSA Professional Standards for Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP). The professional standards covered by the work of Steve and his colleagues span the period 2008-2021. You could say that ESSA is one of Steve’s hobbies in retirement, along with keeping fit!

Steve’s academic leadership has been recognised by many awards, including the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in E-learning at Victoria University in 2002, and a National Citation for an Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2006. In 2010, he was honoured to receive the ESSA President’s Award for services to clinical exercise physiology.


Dr. Kade Davison

Dr Kade Davison, Vice President, has been a passionate servant of ESSA for over ten years. During this time he has witnessed and contributed to enormous growth and maturity of the organisation and its professions.

After initially working as an Exercise Scientist in a number of gyms, he opened an Exercise Physiology clinic in the city of Adelaide and went on to establish and consult in clinics in SA and NSW including multi-disciplinary university and hospital based models.

He is currently the Program Director for Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of South Australia educating tomorrows AEPs and pursing research interests in cardiometabolic function, evidence based exercise assessments and the effectiveness of clinical exercise services in a range of settings and population groups.


Dr. Simon Rosenbaum

Dr Simon Rosenbaum is a Research Fellow in the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales and an Honorary Fellow at the Black Dog Institute and the George Institute for Global Health. His research interests are in the role of physical activity and exercise in improving the physical and mental health of people experiencing mental illness. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed publications and has experience working as an exercise physiologist in a variety of settings including public and private hospitals, general practice and community health centres.


Dr. Brendan Joss

Dr Brendan Joss is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and ESSA Fellow, and Managing Director of HFRC, where they deliver exercise based rehabilitation programs following complex orthopaedic surgery to optimise recovery. Brendan has worked as an AEP since 2001 at HFRC where he also completed a PhD in the Clinical and Biomechanical Comparison of Fixed vs. Mobile Bearing Unicondylar knee replacement in 2006. Subsequently, he undertook a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Queens University, Canada. In conjunction with his clinical work, Brendan has continual involvement is applied research to develop evidence-based treatment models for orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions and holds an adjunct Assoc. Professor position at the University of Western Australia. 

From 2009 to 2014 Brendan served as a Director and Vice President of the ESSA Board, in addition to a previous role as WA State Chapter chair. More recently being a member of the ESSA scientific conference organising committee for 2016, and the Chair of the organising committee for the ESSA Business forum in 2017. Having returned to the ESSA Board in 2017, Brendan is looking forward to contributing to the positive future direction of ESSA and its members. 

 Dr Brendan Joss - Cropped

Prof. Aaron Coutts

Aaron Coutts is a Professor in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He has published more than 150 scientific papers which mostly focus on improving our understanding of the factors that affect sporting performance. He has specific interest in conducting applied research and providing evidence-based recommendations for athlete monitoring, performance analysis and training design.

Aaron currently consults to several top-level professional sporting teams is an advisor to the Nike Sports Research Laboratory and the Digital advisory panel for the Australian Sport Commission. He has also been the recipient of an Australian Teaching and Learning Citation for outstanding contributions to student learning in sport and exercise sciences. He is currently an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance and Science and Medicine in Football. Aaron is also a practising Accredited Sport Scientist and a Director of Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA).


Philippa Ellis

Philippa Ellis joined the ESSA Board in March 2015 and serves on the Governance & Nominations Committee. She brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and extensive governance experience to the Board, underscored by a 30 year career in the financial services sector in Australia and New Zealand. Philippa is a team player with a unique ability to constructively challenge the status quo and a track record of getting things done resourcefully. Her strong business acumen, combined with whole brain thinking and curiosity, encourages innovation and enables wider perspectives to guide a business and drive change. Philippa has a natural ability to connect with people and build valued relationships in ways that promote collaboration and deliver successful business outcomes.

Throughout her life Philippa has enjoyed competing and participating in a variety of team and individual sports and has focused on keeping fit and healthy with regular exercise. Her true passion is “wellness” which is strongly aligned to ESSA’s vision “To enhance performance, health and well-being through the science of exercise and sport”.

Philippa is also currently a non-Executive Director on the Board of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia Australia.


Carolyn Pillans

Carolyn Pillans is an experienced director and senior executive, as well as a qualified and capable chartered secretary, and is currently the Chair of ESSA’s Audit Finance & Risk Committee. Her background includes over ten years as company secretary of water and energy utilities and executive manager with responsibilities including strategy, risk, compliance, quality and governance. Carolyn’s expertise lies in developing pragmatic governance frameworks, planning and leading merger and change teams during industry reforms and business restructures, and working closely with shareholders to develop trust and engagement.

Currently, Carolyn is Principal Consultant in a governance and management consulting firm where she has been working on governance change projects with government business enterprises throughout Australia, private companies and local government.

Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance. She is a non-executive director and treasurer of Lifeline Tasmania and a member of its Audit and Risk Committee, as well as an independent member of Tasman Council’s statutory audit panel.


Professor Julie Cotter

Professor Julie Cotter is a talented non-executive director with experience in the health, agribusiness, education and research sectors. She has a track record of ensuring strong governance and risk oversight for large, complex organisations. 

Professor Cotter is a current Independent Member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee for the Department of Education and Training Queensland; a Board Member on the Darling Downs Hospitals and Health Board; and the Chair for the Australian Institute of Company Directors Toowoomba Regional Committee.

 WOBSX Julie Cotter A4- Homepix Photography 0026



National Office


Opening hours: Monday – Friday (not including public holidays), 8.30am – 4.30pm (Queensland Time)


Chief Executive Office

Chief Executive Officer                                                                                           Anita Hobson-Powell                  
PA to Chief Executive Officer Sandy Heggie


Member Operations 

Operations Manager Belinda Burke
Office Coordinator Nyomee Dickinson
Membership Officer Narelle O’Loughlin
Administration Officer Tara Robertson
Administration Officer Kirsty Caetano
Receptionist Jessica Muir

Professional Development and Conference Specialist

Sarah Hall
Professional Development Coordinator Jesse Bartho 
Professional Development Administration Officer Alex Wade
HEAL Project Officer Daniel Berkelmans


Policy and Practice Innovation

Policy and Practice Innovation Unit Manager                                                       Craig Knox                  
Advocacy Officer Alex Lawrence
Policy and Relations Advisor Leanne Evans
Practice Innovations Advisor Beth Sheehan 
Standards Senior Advisor Barry Pritchard
Standards Advisor Carly Ryan
Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Project Officer Christina Schmid


Marketing, Communications and Member Development

Marketing, Communications and Member Development Manager                                                                                   Zoe Bickerstaffe                                  
Marketing and Communications Coordinator Suari Price
Marketing Member Communications Officer Camella Brightman
Marketing and Design Officer Leigh McLennan
Member Development Advisor Nardine Presland



Accreditation Manager                                           Larisse Neil
Course Accreditation Manager Rachel Holmes
Accreditation Officer Melissa Creed
Accreditation Officer Ali Dulfikar
Accreditation Officer Christina Schmid
Course Accreditation Project Officer Daniel Berkelmans


State Chapters

The objectives or purposes for which the Chapter is established is to:

  1. promote the objectives and initiatives of ESSA at a regional level;
  2. to provide the regions with a voice for the members of that region;
  3. to foster collaboration with clinicians and other persons and organisations to further or advance knowledge in the fields of work of members of the Association;
  4. to provide local training and educational opportunities for members in the region, and
  5. to liaise and educate state governments and other interested state based parties on the roles and activities of the members of the Association

Queensland (QLD)

Chair               Emma Beckman

New South Wales (NSW)

Co-Chair Natalie Delana
Co-Chair Simon Turnbull

Victoria (VIC)

Co-Chair Rebecca Hallam

Nicole Marlow

South Australia (SA)

Chair         Braden Mitchell

Western Australia (WA)

Chair David Beard

Tasmania (TAS)

Chair Peter Bradley


Chair   Eva Boland


If you are unable to contact your state representative, please contact the national office at