Meet Our Team

Meet the team behind your national governing body for group exercise. Hover on the pictures to find out more.

Marcus joins us after five years as Managing Director of AoC Sport where his main responsibility was to get 700,000 16-19-year olds physically active. With more than 20 years’ experience in sport and physical activity, Marcus started his sports development career in local government in the 1990s before moving on to sport and leisure consultancy for 12 years. More recently, he has been Interim CEO at ISPAL, Welsh Cycling, and London Sport. In his spare time, Marcus’ big passion is cycling and this year he has completed his first triathlon.

Marcus Kingwell

Chief Executive Officer

Our heads of department

Jade started her career in the sports and fitness industry aged 14, volunteering as a swimming instructor. She has since experienced the industry as a participant, instructor, coach, development officer, manager and leader in local, regional and national roles. Jade has been part of the EMD UK team for over 10 years and currently oversees its insight, digital and data management strategies as well as leading on the delivery of insight-driven projects and programmes. She is also a facilitator on the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy and a trustee for UDOIT and likes to keep fit, spend time with her family, travel and occasionally party!

Jade Cation

Head of Business Development

Info to follow – watch this space!

Kirstin Espley

Finance Controller

Shelley has over 15 years’ experience in the sports sector, graduated from Brighton University with a BA Hons in Leisure and Sports Studies and in 2014 was one of the first graduates of the Women’s Sports Leadership Academy. She was COO for a social enterprise supporting young people into work through sport and fitness programmes. Shelley is responsible for key projects/developments such as classfinder and This Girl Can. A qualified ETM instructor and running coach, she established a running club and ran the London and Loch Ness Marathons. She is passionate about animal welfare and volunteers for a dog rescue.

Shelley Meyern

Head of Operations

Brett is a highly experienced, award-winning sales and marketing professional, with over 30 years’ experience in running media organisations in the UK, Middle Eastern and Asian markets. Previously part of the team that established ProActive, an organisation based in Abu Dhabi to encourage local Emiratis to become active, he returned to the UK. He is now responsible for positioning EMD UK as the ‘go to’ organisation for all aspects of group exercise and to drive growth in group exercise by supporting organisations and instructors to deliver excellence and get our nation more active.

Brett Pearson

Head of Sales and Marketing

Sue has over 30 years’ experience in the fitness industry as a group ex Instructor, PT and International Fitness presenter, developing programming and education in the UK and for American brands including TRX, TriggerPoint, BOSU, Stroop’s and Total Gym. She worked for Physical Company as Education Co-ordinator which led to her working on her own consultancy business developing programming for LA Fitness, with their launch of LA Primal Nationwide and latterly with Everyone Actives EA Series. Sue is a triathlete and runner spurred on by raising funds for Alzheimer and Dementia Research.

Sue Wilkie

Head of Instructor Development

Instructor Development

Carolyn joined EMD UK after working as a Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active UK for 5 years. Whilst there she was awarded Group Exercise Manager of the year. Carolyn began dancing at an early age, taking ISTD grades to student teacher in ballet, tap and modern dance. She trained in Ballroom and Latin dance and coached a Latin formation team. Carolyn has qualified in group exercise dance and fitness disciplines including Aqua, cycle, HIIT and Zumba, and even covers the occasional Anti Gravity Fitness classes. Carolyn regularly delivers fun-filled community fundraising sessions for Parkinsons UK and MIND.

Carolyn Allen

Academy Manager

Danica has worked in sales for the last 6 years, and was previously at university and travelling the east coast of Australia. On her return from Australia, she started at executive level and moved into a sales account management role before moving onto account management with a field marketing agency. Danica is now utilising these skills from a sales and marketing perspective, in her role at EMD UK. Danica graduated in Film and TV Studies, so out of work she enjoys all things related to her degree and will often be talking about some kind of TV series or, failing that, about cats. She also enjoys baking, so fits in well with the team.

Danica Armstrong

Academy Support Officer (Sales)

and Office Manager

Chloe attended ballet classes from the age of three and quickly developed a love of dance. She studied for a BA (Hons) in Dance Performance at Falmouth University, graduating in 2015. During that time, she pursued many opportunities, particularly in teaching, as she wanted to share her passion for dance. In 2014, Chloe qualified with EMD UK as both a Just Jhoom! and Exercise to Music Instructor. She has continued her work as a dance teacher and fitness instructor but is also enjoying her new role as Academy Support Officer. Outside of work Chloe loves to bake and regularly brings new recipes into the office for her colleagues to try.

Chloe Greer

Academy Support Officer (QA)

Naomi graduated with a First Class degree in Dance in summer 2020. Whilst studying, she undertook many dance performance jobs alongside working in a gym. Naomi is also a fitness instructor as well as a dancer and qualified on our DFQ/ETM course back in 2019. Naomi joined the team in September 2020 as an Academy Support Officer assisting her team in getting aspiring group exercise instructors qualified. In her spare time she loves to read a good motivational book!

Naomi Jepson

Academy Support Officer

Before joining EMD UK, Sarah previously spent 15 years with American Express Membership Travel, working in a sales and customer service-based role before joining their project team. Following that, she set up an online childrenswear store, which she ran for 4 years before moving into a new retail role. Sarah has a real passion for fitness, loves a HIIT workout and has now run a few 10Ks! She enjoys cooking and creating new recipes, and loves spending time with her two boys, family and friends.

Sarah Smith

Membership Officer (Sales)

Business Development

Faye graduated with a first class degree in Sport Development and started her career at British Cycling where she supported people accessing local cycling opportunities, managed a team of remote events officers and headed up their Women’s Cycling Strategy to increase the number of women participants. Faye joined EMD UK in August 2019 and is currently working on our This Girl Can project to create a new class concept aiming to engage less active women. Outside of work, Faye enjoys Irish dancing and competed all over the world for 18 years before retiring. She now shares her love for Irish Dance by teaching both children and adults.

Faye Downey

Projects Manager

Sarah has always had a love of sports, graduating from Roehampton University with a BA Hons Degree in Education and Science of Sport and Exercise. With over 15 years’ customer service experience, Sarah joined EMD UK in April 2019 and is thrilled to be working with the team to help promote and increase physical activity levels across the country. Outside of work Sarah enjoys attending the gym, skating, watching (and occasionally playing) football and badminton. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, and partaking in an occasional craft beer and ale.

Sarah Hall

Customer Support Executive

(Insight & Tech)

Kat graduated with a First BA (Hons) in Sports Management and Coaching Studies and is a qualified PRINCE2 project manager. Work placements include a local authority sports development team and the Football Foundation, plus volunteering for the FA’s Respect Programme and London 2012. She has worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years – from Freedom Leisure as a Community Sports Development Officer to Area Sports Development Manager and sat on the local Active Partnerships project board. Kat is a qualified athletics, tennis and handball coach and runner, completing the London Marathon twice. Her passion is supporting people to become more active.

Kat Mummery

Business Development Manager

(Insight & Tech)


Sarah joined EMD UK in May 2015 as a marketing executive. She has worked in the health and fitness sector for over 13 years, starting her career in junior activities and sports development at Places Leisure and implemented a variety of projects to get local schools active through sport, exercise and dance. Sarah graduated Brikbeck,University of London in 2015 with a first-class honours degree in Film and Media Studies. She has written for both national and trade magazines. Sarah has a passion for sports and outside of work is training in strongwoman.

Sarah Leeves

Marketing Manager

Penny went to university as a mature student and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Administration. She worked as a PA for several years before undertaking a series of permanent and contract roles. As these became more marketing-orientated, Penny was able to gain wide experience of digital marketing and communications, and particularly loves writing news stories or web pages. Outside of work, Penny enjoys spending time with the family, travelling to new places, gardening and sports, and has just got her 100 parkruns tee-shirt.

Penny Sanders

Digital Marketing Executive

Jo studied PR & Comms in Southampton and has worked in the fashion PR industry, aviation sector developing partnerships with luxury lifestyle brands and entertainment PR and Communications. Clients included Peter Andre and Millie Mackintosh. Jo has always loved swimming and dancing and tries to do both each week. She runs a street dance school six days a week, with her partner, for children/teens, helping to build a brand that is cool and current with the London dance scene. They have supported Flawless, Diversity and Kele Le Roc among other. In her minimal spare time Jo likes watching TV, being outdoors or playing with her little boy.

Joanne Ramachandran

Marketing Executive

Emily gained a BSc Psychology (Hons) and MA in Social Work at Leicester University and began her career in the social care and education sector. A keen runner and group exercise participant, she trained as a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, alongside her full-time job. In 2016 she joined the health and fitness industry as a freelance instructor teaching Pilates and other classes. Emily joined EMD UK in 2019 bringing 9 years of instructor experience and a passion for promoting the fun element of group exercise. Emily has completed three half marathons and when not at work enjoys running, yoga, weekend breaks and long walks with the family Cockerpoo.

Emily Cox

Business Development Executive

Carrie studied Film & Media in Sheffield, worked in event management before becoming a freelance fitness instructor. She was appointed Group Exercise Manager at Northampton’s Virgin Active health clubs, scheduling the group exercise programmes, recruiting and training new instructors and generally sharing her love of group exercise. A Level 3 Pilates teacher, Carrie was also Barre Master Trainer for Virgin Active, delivering training courses to instructors. She still teaches Pilates and barre and loves it when attendees are surprised at how hard barre it is, but then come back for more! Carrie’s spare time is usually spent attending other group exercise classes, running, or watching her sons play football.

Carrie Hill

Business Development Executive

Finance and Founders

Yvonne has over 25 years’ experience in finance and is a MAAT qualified accountant. She has worked in various industries including fitness, engineering and interior design (which she’s also qualified in!). Yvonne loves variety in her work which is great because EMD UK provides plenty of that – she also deals with HR, is the Board and Finance and Audit Committee meeting secretary and is very much involved with our founder members. Yvonne loves nothing better than finding new holiday destinations and getting together with friends and family. Her photo comes from dressing up ready for the 80’s Rewind festival!

Yvonne Eastoe

Finance Manager

Lianne has worked for EMD UK for the past 10 years, she started as a temp for 3 months and has stayed here ever since. In her role, Lianne supports EMD UK’s Founder Partners – Keep Fit Association, Medau Movement and FLexercise – administering all teachers’ and members’ memberships, resolving queries and generally doing a great job of looking after them all! Outside of work Lianne works for Princess Pony Parties and loves spending time with her family. At weekends through the winter months Lianne supports the Guildford Flames ice hockey team. She is also a huge Disney fan and has travelled to many places as she loves going on holiday, especially when it is Disney-related!

Lianne Barlow

Founder Partner Support Officer

Let’s Get Started…

Group exercise is an exciting and diverse mix of styles and activities that caters to ‘someone like me’ and everyone should have the opportunity to take part. EMD UK is committed to driving positive change within the industry and we believe that through cooperation and collaboration with industry bodies, understanding and removing the barriers that prevent people from taking part and by supporting instructors to deliver excellence, we can achieve a healthier nation through exercise. See how you can get involved below…