President’s Report – AGM 2021

President's Report - AGM 2021

The PAA AGM 2021 President’s report recognises it has been another big year for the PAA and the committee with ongoing COVID restrictions and lockdowns across all states – some longer than others!

Our committee and staff have been really busy advocating to government, working on projects to support members and businesses, navigating the ever evolving restrictions and keeping members and the community up to date.


PAA Organisational Strategy

Vision: for the Pilates Method to be recognised as a professional and valued healthcare and fitness discipline.

Mission: to advance the interests of the Pilates Method and its member professionals.

Organisational Goal: to transform the PAA into a responsive, member driven organization, within two years.



PAA Membership 2021


2021 Current membership is 604 demonstrating very steady member numbers overall. The graphic above shows the breakdown of membership levels and location of members.

Membership level descriptions:

  • Professional level members – holding Diploma level qualification
  • Student members – enrolled on a PAA recognised training course
  • Group members – holding Cert IV or equivalent mat and reformer units from Diploma course

Members have faced business and financial challenges during Covid however it is precisely at this time that you realise that the industry is stronger and our voice is louder together.

Student membership is strong and it is great to see so many new students embarking on their Pilates training despite lockdown and restrictions in many areas.

It has been a challenge for Training Providers and students alike as they adapt and find new ways to work and study as we all have had to do.


Member Survey Jan 2021

The Annual PAA Member and Industry Survey results provide valuable information on our member base and the industry to guide the committee in its planning and direction. The feedback helps us improve services and identify needs and projects.  This reflection ensures the PAA can continue to be relevant, grow and support members in the changing industry landscape. This year’s survey focused heavily on conference questions so we could develop a strong offering and bring you a conference and presenters that met your needs and interests.

There were over 200 survey responses = 35% of membership


Equity and inclusivity

The PAA is aware that we need more rigorous policies and initiatives in place to ensure equity and inclusivity within our member community and in our communication and participation within the broader Pilates/health industries. This a current and ongoing project.

Top Reasons to Join PAA

  • Professional Recognition -50%
  • Support/ maintain/promote standards -32%
  • Support recognition of Pilates as a profession- 29%
  • Stay current with Education, skills and professional development -29%
  • Industry representation/ advocacy to Govt and Health Depts -15%

Biggest Concerns for Pilates Industry

  • Proliferation of short courses being advertised with no standards
  • Expansion of large group fitness reformer classes and studios
  • Unqualified and poorly trained instructors
  • Industry is not regulated
  • Not eligible for health fund rebates
  • Lack of recognition of Pilates

Biggest Day to Day Challenge for members

  • Finding fully qualified staff
  • Stress of lockdowns and ever changing restrictions
  • Running a small business – multitude of roles
  • Maintain good work/life balance
  • Low wages for qualified instructors compared to gyms


Continuing Covid-19 challenges

As you are all well aware Covid-19 has continued to impact Pilates studios and instructors.

Since 2020 we have all had to complete Covidsafe plans and implement practices for cleaning, physical distancing, check in procedures and record keeping.

The disruption and long lockdowns in VIC and NSW, snap lockdowns in other states, have provided many challenges for businesses and instructors. Fortunately WA, NT and TAS have not had the same level of business interruption and disruption and have been able to operate close to normal.

The PAA team – staff and committee have worked hard to keep abreast of the changing restrictions in each State and keep members up to date through

  • social media updates
  • regular roundups in newsletter
  • PAA Covid Information Hub on website – a collation of all the information and resources.

We continued our advocacy with State governments through ongoing discussions. Actively involved in stakeholder meetings with state departments. The PAA continues to collaborate with other associations and sector stakeholders to provide advice and feedback to government departments as they develop plans to ease restrictions and work towards ensuring a Covidsafe environment for our sector.

We have also provided advice to members on the implementation of the restrictions and understanding the Health Orders as they were released.

The regular PAA newsletters and ongoing communications provided members with information and access to the financial assistance or grants available in each State, plus resources available for businesses or individual instructors.

The PAA have been able to support members in cases of hardship and provide options for those struggling with PDPs and First Aid renewal etc.

Member services and support

  • Advice and information on restrictions
  • Consideration in financial hardship / health issues
  • Provide support, advice and options for completing PDPs
  • Waive First Aid requirement for membership renewal while in lockdown
  • Developed templates and guides for new graduates and new businesses

Expansion of FREE PDP offerings in member portal – added 2 more

  • Stress Response & The Immune System
  • Turning a Lump of Coal into Diamonds

plus there are more are in the pipeline.

To support members and businesses the PAA have held webinars on business topics with Ingrid Thomson – Healthy Numbers,  Adrianne Varga – Focus GDT,  John Cotterill – BMS insurance.

We also partnered with COM Marketing for a series on social media and marketing with founder Richard Toutounji, and held a social media strategy webinar with Lesley Logan- Agency.


Celebrating our members

We have expanded our member promotion and recognition initiatives

  • Instructor In Focus
  • New Emerging Instructor In Focus – for new graduates and students
  • Member Spotlight – highlighting special projects and achievements of members
  • Conference presenters and class teachers – The extensive scope of conference workshops highlight the diverse areas of expertise of our membership
  • Member contributions to articles for PAA newsletter – thank you to everyone who has contributed
  • We also plan to feature members on PAA podcast to share their insights and expertise

How can you contribute to your PAA Pilates community? We all have a perspective to share.


PAA Virtual Conference 2021

Planning the PAA Virtual conference has been the major project for the first half of 2021 and delivering the best possible event has been the focus of the past 3 months.

The 3 day conference was broadcast live from 3-5 Sept. The schedule was jam packed with incredible workshops and amazing presenters from New York, Portugal and Australia.

There was great live participation with over 336 attendees and the feedback has been fantastic from both attendees and presenters.

The virtual format with On Demand access has proved to be very successful and enabled many members and instructors from regional areas or interstate to participate, learn and grow. We have received really positive and heartening feedback as attendees watch and re-watch the workshops and take classes in their own time and all around their personal schedule.

This year we employed some new strategies for our marketing and were able to expand our reach and audience. The newly launched PAA podcast featured interviews with the conference presenters, and use of affiliate networks and promo videos formed a key part of our focused social media plan to spread the word and promote the event.

It has been so rewarding to see all the great feedback and interaction from attendees as they shared their experiences and gratitude on social media.

Thank you to all who attended and shared in our passion for Pilates.




Engagement with Training Providers

This year we have had discussions with Professional Training Providers on recognition of accredited training courses and expanding the promotion of them.

There have also been updates and promotion of PAA standards (Course Competency Criteria) as benchmarks for Pilates training at all levels.

Promote the pathways to Professional level membership

  • Improve communication to ensure that prospective students are well informed on required industry skill levels and training options.
  • Promote PAA-approved accredited education whilst still providing unbiased and balanced information to the public on Pilates education and training.
  • Encourage graduates of approved non-accredited training to explore RPL with PAA-approved accredited providers

Expansion of PDP options

  • Extending the allowance for online PDPs to accommodate ongoing Covid restrictions and lockdowns
  • Just introduced PDPs for completion TAE – 4PDPs, PDPs for teacher training faculty delivering PAA recognized courses (Cert IV, Diploma, Adv Diploma) – max 10
  • Extended the definition and scope of writing an article to include podcast contribution for PDPs

Fitness Australia

The PAA have had discussion and input on level of training for Fitness Pilates instructors. There are ongoing discussions with Fitness Australia on collaboration with industry advocacy and on other ways we might be able to be of mutual benefit to each other and our members.


Natural Therapies Review Expert Advisory Panel (NTREAP) progress

Over the past 12 months the PAA has continued to support and contribute to the work of the NTREAP panel and any requests regarding Pilates under the Natural Therapies Review. Robyn Rix and myself have attended the industry stakeholder meetings designed to provide updates following each NTREAP meeting. I would like to thank Dr. Penny Latey for her work on the Expert Advisory Panel and the hours of work she continues to voluntarily donate to fight for the recognition of the Pilates industry.

NTREAP timeline

Submitted over 420 studies in February 2020.

In December 2020, we were asked to prioritise outcomes for each condition covered by a research study.

In April 2021, the government decided that there are too many studies on Pilates for them to evaluate all of them, so we were asked to prioritise the top 30 conditions. In addition, we advised 11 conditions that we were happy not to have included & an additional 5 that were not included in the top 30 but we would like them to remain as conditions that Pilates could help with, but not be evaluated at this stage.

Draft evidence evaluations are nearing completion for Pilates. The next meeting of the NTREAP in October is likely to focus on consideration of these draft evidence evaluation reports for Pilates.

Originally, it was planned that there would be one large report published at the end of the review process covering all the modalities being considered. However, because some modalities are much further advanced on their timeline, there is a chance that these modalities will be reported on in November & December. This includes Pilates, rolfing and possibly tai chi, shiatsu & yoga.

If the evidence supports Pilates, there is a possibility that we may have it considered for inclusion as a rebateable health fund service from April 2022. However, this is an exceedingly tight timeline and so we are not holding our breath.

Check for updates on our NTREAP page.


Marketing and communications

We have initiated a review of our branding, website and member platform led by Robyn Rix. The website restructure is underway with streamlining site navigation and clearly differentiating audience pathways as our key goals.  Member feedback has directed our priorities.

This year we have employed a social media assistant, Natalie Ryan, to expand the PAA presence and promote PAA standards, Training Providers and membership. Natalie has helped create content and posts for conference promotion and sales. We have been able to further develop and expand our social media strategy to support our aims.

The fortnightly newsletter has communicated many changes and updates to restrictions, provided a roundup of resources for financial and business support, it has also featured members and shared their expertise in articles.   Kerry Haywood, PAA Support Officer is behind the PAA communications and keeps the website and information up to date.

PAA members were very active in the annual March Matness celebration of Pilates started by Benjamin Degenhardt. This event creates a great sense of community worldwide and brings us all back to why we love Pilates and inspires us to share our passion.

PAA Podcast

Development and launch of PAA Podcast is a new initiative. It has recently celebrated 1000 downloads!

The idea for a PAA podcast was first floated 12 months ago by Bruce Hildebrand and with committee input and discussion it has evolved to be a conversation with our community and the industry.

The first episode of the PAA podcast was launched in July to extend the reach of the PAA to wider audience to promote the Pilates Method.  Thank you to Bruce Hildebrand, who has worked tirelessly to get this up and running. There are several seasons now available including:

  • Interviews with conference presenters gave a glimpse inside the workshops and the passion of each presenter. They were a new way to reach attendees and were a great boost to our marketing.
  • Training providers have also been the focus of the recent PAA Podcast season along with interviews with students from the various accredited Professional Training Providers.

The Elders history project

This year we have commenced an ongoing project – The Elders history project with the aim to promote awareness of the different lineages of Pilates and to explore their unique history and contributions to the Pilates Method.

We will celebrate the birthdays of Joseph and Clara, and those that studied with him and were his students. We share the wonderful information coming to light as many people from across the world uncover many resources and piece together the historical facts.


Sharan Simmons
PAA President (outgoing)