Board, Staff & Advisors

Meet the team behind the organisation


Board Members

Kym McDonald – President

Kym is the founder of Yogic Wisdom. Kym teaches Yoga and Yoga Therapy within the tradition of Krishnamacharya, combined with Ayurveda the science of life, for the ultimate potential for each student. The ancient Yogis believed that for an individual to reach their highest potential a combination of Yoga for the mind, Ayurveda for the body and meditation for the higher self provides the perfect set of tools for freedom and wellbeing. Kym is also the founder of the Karma Yoga Community which provides meals daily for 250 children at the Ashraya School and orphanage in Bangalore, regular events on donation bases are held at Yogic Wisdom in the spirit of service.

Nikola Ellis – Vice President

Nikola is a certified yoga therapist, psychotherapist and online educator who has been immersed in yoga for over 25 years. Trained in the tradition of Sri Krishnamacharya, with post-graduate training in counselling and public health, Nikola fuses traditional yogic wisdom with modern science. She founded Adore Yoga in Sydney in 2002 where she and her team develop evidence based yoga and meditation for special needs populations in clinical settings, including cancer, addiction recovery, eating disorders and trauma recovery. Nikola trains both yoga teachers and health professionals to use the tools of yoga and meditation in health care settings. She developed Australia’s first accredited 650hr Yoga Therapist training, the country’s most advanced recognised qualification in yoga.

Claire Holloway – Ordinary Board Member

Claire brings the logical and strategic approach of an engineer to her work. She has held business improvement and board/committee roles across Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and now Tasmania. With strong communication skills and an approachable yet direct style, Claire enjoys facilitating workshops and presenting to teams. She finds simple, relevant and audience-tailored language allows her to effectively share yoga with her students. Claire believes that there can never be too many yoga teachers, and is passionate about supporting current and aspiring yoga teachers in their service to their students.

Rita Davis – Treasurer

Rita has a finance background with a Bachelor of Business and has been a Certified Practicing Accountant with CPA Australia for 25 years. Rita is an Associate of the Australian Institute of
Company Directors with a passion for good governance, transparency, strong culture and respect. Rita has experience in the private and public sector and has been spent the last 18 years in various state and federal government departments and agencies.  Rita is at the start of her yoga journey and is looking forward to bringing her financial expertise to Yoga Australia.

Rebel Tucker – Secretary

Rebel is a qualified naturopath of over 25 years and a yoga teacher of 7 years. She has been practicing yoga for over 35 years, since her mum introduced her at the age of 12. She is a level 2 member with Yoga Australia and is currently extending her studies in yoga to become a yoga therapist. Passionate about research and ongoing education in the field of natural health and yoga, she particularly finds the philosophy and meditation practices of yoga to be the most supportive in her own life and for her students. Rebel believes that ongoing professional development is fundamental for yoga teachers and that belonging to a membership group that encourages learning and supports yoga teachers with the business side of things is incredibly helpful. She comes to the Board of Yoga Australia as Secretary and hopes to support Yoga Australia in continuing to grow the community of teachers and therapists and further develop the resources and support available to members.

Lisa Allwell – Ordinary Board Member

I’m a health professional who unexpectedly fell in love with yoga. I held senior public health roles in mental health, cancer, stroke and chronic illness, but traded up a focus on evidence, research and evaluation to teach yoga. Now, I encourage my students to run the yoga experiment in their own body and mind, with a sample size of one, and richly reap the rewards of their own personal research program. 

I have been teaching for over 10 years in a variety of yoga settings including studios, gyms and corporate spaces. In 2017 I co-founded Seed Yoga + Wellness, which has grown into a thriving community exploring accessible and inclusive yoga. I lead vibrant retreats and yoga trainings both locally and internationally. Life throws us all kinds of challenges. While we can’t control the complications that present themselves, we can control how we deal with and react to these situations. Yoga has given me the tools to cope infinitely better. And – as an added bonus – I’m not quite as clumsy as I used to be (in fact, sometimes I have the occasional moment of grace).

Jill Taylor – Ordinary Board Member

Jill has been involved in sports administration for over 20 years, including 9 years as the National Coaching Development Manager at Athletics Australia.  Along with a passion for Yoga, Jill brings to Yoga Australia  extensive knowledge and experience in the development and delivery of coach education, stakeholder management, the development and delivery of Sporting Schools programs and has recently been part of a working group consulting to  World Athletics regarding the development of  inclusive community programs.

Committees 2021

Grievance Committee

  • Kym McDonald – President
  • Janet Rodger – CEO
  • Shyamala Benakovic
  • Gabrielle Boswell – Teaching & Standards Principal

Governance & Policy Committee

  • Jill Taylor – Chair
  • Rita Davis – Treasurer
  • 4 other representatives (recruitment process underway)

Working Groups 2021

Teacher Training Standards and Education

  • Kylie Hennessy – Chair
  • Jill Taylor (Board Representative)
  • Gabrielle Boswell (Staff Rep)
  • Estefi Maiztegui
  • Leigh Wood
  • Loraine Rushton (Children’s Yoga)
  • Nic Russell (Children’s Yoga)
  • Regina Cruichank (Children’s Yoga)
  • Alison Verbruggen (Mentoring)
  • Belinda Burke (Mentoring)
  • Cherise Vallet (Mentoring)
  • Kate Pell (Mentoring)

Yoga Therapy Standards and Education

  • Liz Morgan – Chair
  • Nikola Ellis (Board Representative)
  • Rebel Tucker (Research)
  • Kendra Boone
  • Liz Bennett
  • Natja Wunsch

Yoga as a Business

  • Samantha Doyle – Chair
  • Lisa Allwell (Board Representative)
  • Delamay Devi
  • Judes Yang
  • Karen Bishton
  • Tanya Clark

Social Responsibility and Sustainability

  • Ramone Bisset – Chair
  • Claire Holloway (Board Representative)
  • Kathleen Williams
  • 3 other representatives

Community Representatives

Daniela Laucht – NSW

After working for ten years in the education system, Daniela has immersed herself full-time into the teachings of Yoga. As a Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, she has experience in facilitating a variety of group classes, from kids at schools, teenagers recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, people managing the effects of Scoliosis, to the residents of Dementia care. Moreover, Daniela has worked privately with people experiencing various health conditions, such as cancer, anxiety and depression, chronic pain, Endometriosis, and musculoskeletal injuries. With her broad experience and her passion for making Yoga accessible to everyone, Daniela is excited to chair the Yoga for Children Working Group and work as the NSW National Management Committee Member.

Vittala Shettigara – SA

Vittala has been teaching Yoga at Yoga Spirit Studios since completing a 500 hours Certificate of Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2015. He has also completed Level 1 Somatic Exercise Coach Training and Level 1 iRest Yoga Nidra Training. Apart from understanding the intrinsic beauty and life values of Yoga, he is interested in following medical/scientific research in Yoga. Before becoming a Yoga teacher, Vittala had worked for the Australian Department of Defence as a Senior Research Scientist. He is keen to bring a rigorous scientific approach to inquiry into Yoga so that it is accepted by the wider community.

Amanda Owen – VIC

Amanda Owen was born in UK and was a circus theatre performer based in London until her practice of yoga superseded her career in the theatre. She became a yoga teacher and then a yoga therapist, working with various individuals and communities in London, including many years teaching yoga to people with anxiety and depression for the NHS (National Health Service). In 2017, she moved back to Australia with the dream of setting up a rural retreat to offer yoga, yoga therapy and meditative walks in nature for better mental health. She works as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist in the beautiful Hurstbridge area, North East of Melbourne, where the city meets the bush.

Sara Evans – WA

As a student of yoga for more than 20 years, she is inspired to flow in a way that invokes our intuitive nature through movement, she offers up this experience to other students through her carefully crafted sequencing: a fluid and feminine exploration of traditional asana and pranayama.  With a special interest in yoga for women, she is arguably Perth’s most experienced pre and postnatal yoga teacher, bringing Bloom Yoga to life in 2011 as the first and the only studio of its kind in the Northern Suburbs, offering intimate yoga classes that cater for all seasons of life.   With more than a decade of sharing her love of yoga, Sara’s classes are inclusive, inspiring and most of all – playful, tapping into our innate sense of joy!

QLD – Camille Jeboult

ACT – Sarah Nuttridge

ACT – Kellie Toohey

NSW Woolongong – Merryn Lee Perez

Byron Bay – Flo Fenton

VIC – Agnieszka Maminska- Gray

WA – Heather Robbins

TAS – Sophie Keegan

TAS – Deborah Ann

QLD – Vacant

Office Team

Let us introduce you to the team that provides the best of support for members, yoga schools, teacher trainees and the general public while ensuring the ‘best-practice’ management of the day to day operations of the Organisation.

Janet Rodger (Hopkins) – CEO

Janet is an experienced CEO and senior leader in the Not for Profit sector, much of it focused on mental health and well-being. Janet has been CEO of Lantern Mental Health and General Manager for SANE and Mindful Employer. A qualified accountant, she is also an experienced Management Consultant, working across the country on various projects, large and small.

Janet has been practicing Yoga for many years and has a strong interest in mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation. A self-confessed early adopter, she is very comfortable around technology and digital media, and her roles have frequently drawn on her wide range of administrative and management skills and experience. Janet is delighted to be the new CEO of Yoga Australia and is looking forward to working with the team to support and grow the Yoga Australia community. Janet is in the office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Jackie Rogers – Membership Manager

Jackie is no novice to membership management and customer service with over ten years

experience in the role; she’s responsible for the smooth day-to-day running of the Yoga Australia Membership Department. Her responsibilities encompass many aspects of our business including memberships, billing and customer service. Her incredible organisational skills keep our team running smoothly.

In her spare time, Jackie enjoys spending time with her family and is passionate about her health and fitness. Jackie’ s calm and happy demeanour sets the perfect undertone to our humming office. Jackie works Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Hayley Uberti – Membership Admin

Hayley has newly joined the team as our Membership Coordinator after many years of experience with customer service through a variety of admin, hospitality positions and running her own yoga studio business in Bath, UK whilst living there in 2016/2017. As a former professional dancer with two decades of dance training and teaching, Hayley transitioned into the yoga community six years ago after her career came to a halt from injury. Hayley is now a passionate yoga teacher and forever student, if you can’t find her in the studio she will be outdoors taking in the sunshine or cooking up a vegan storm at home. Hayley works Monday, Thursday and Friday

Wendy Lim – Events Coordinator

Wendy is a passionate Yoga Teacher and creator of PT for the Mind, who in a past life was a Chemical Engineer. She personally loves the mental benefits that yoga brings and considers herself a lifelong student of yoga. Her current fascination is guiding people through inner exploration in Restorative Yoga. Her experience organising and managing projects and her interest in yoga are assets she brings to the Events team. Wendy is a big foodie, loves cooking and spending time growing anything edible (herbs, veggies, fruits, etc). She has three happy free ranging chickens who bring her lots of daily joy. 

Gabrielle Boswell – Teaching and Standards Principal

Gabrielle has been teaching yoga since 2002 and her greatest passion is sharing the joy and benefits of yoga with others. She is C-IAYT yoga therapist and registered senior teacher with Yoga Australia. Gabrielle brings her experience as a yoga training provider and studio owner to her role as Training and Standards principal. She loves walking in nature and cuddling up with her two rescue dogs, a whippet and a grey.

Council of Advisors

The Yoga Australia Council of Advisors (YACA) is an honorary group of respected leaders in the field of Yoga and related professions. We are grateful for our Advisors’ independent, authoritative opinions on critical matters related to the operations of our Association and the teaching of Yoga in Australia. Appointment to the Council of Advisors is regarded by the association as an expression of honour and respect.

  • Di Lucas
  • Julianne Wantrup
  • Suzanne Fletcher
  • Leigh Blashki
  • Paul Ellison
  • Janet Lowndes
  • Jean Byrne
  • Tamara Ogilvie
  • Deb Roberts
  • Merryn Lee Perez
  • Leanne Davis
  • Robyn Lewis
  • Shyamala Benakovic

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