ITAA Board of Trustees

Elana Leigh, President (2019-2022)

Elana Leigh, Batchelor of Social Work, MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, TSTA (Psychotherapy) has been a member of ITAA since 1985. She immigrated from South Africa to Sydney Australia in 1980. In 1982 she relocated to London where she trained at the Metanoia Institute. After 13 years she returned to Sydney where she has been working as a psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. Elana’s South African and migrant history have underpinned her interest and drive in understanding and working with the challenges of living and working with difference. This has led her to work with and in many international cultures. In the ITAA she has served in the role of Vice president of Research and innovation as well as on the training and certification committees. ITAA’s core philosophy, its ‘commitment to high professional standards as well to social justice issues is what keeps ITAA her home base.

Diane Salters, Past-President (2019-2020)

Diane Salters, MSc, TSTA (Psychotherapy), has been a member of the ITAA since the early 1980s.  She lived in the United Kingdom for 25 years where she received her TA training and integrative training at Metanoia. Twenty years ago she returned to her native South Africa where she now lives and works.  She is a recipient of the Hedges Capers Humanitarian Award.Diane has served on the ITAA Board of Trustees as regional representative for Africa, on the ethics committee, and as chair of the Eric Berne Fund for the Future and the Scholarship Fund committees. She is previously the VP for Research and Innovation and had a particular interest in the publication of The Script and the Transactional Analysis Journal. Diane values the international TA community and offers Skype supervision to trainees in various parts of the world. She is committed to maintaining the ITAA’s valuable role within that community.

John Oates, Treasurer (2018 - 2021)


John is a chartered accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales - ICAEW). After qualification in 1975 with what is now PwC, he specialized in IT and Business Systems. In the mid-1980s, he joined what is now RSM (UK) in Manchester as partner in charge of IT, managing the firm’s own systems and providing IT consultancy services. During this time, the business grew substantially. John has been a member of the Technical Committee of the ICAEW’s IT Faculty since 1989, chairing it for 7 years, and then chairing the faculty itself for the maximum 4-year period. He retired as a partner in RSM in 2011, remaining as a consultant for 2 years. He continues to conduct software reviews for the ICAEW’s IT Accreditation Scheme, helping him keep up to date with the fast changes in the software industry. John has a number of voluntary roles. He is treasurer of a local group supporting the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales, where he has volunteered since 1969. John is Director, Business Systems at Ffestiniog Travel, being influential in upgrading their systems, putting most of them in The Cloud. He is also chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association (400+ members) and chair of the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership. His wish is to see ITAA’s systems run slickly and for the executive and board of trustees to have appropriate information to inform their decisions as the ITAA develops.

Sumithra Sharatkumar, Secretary (2017 - 2020)

It is a great honor and privilege for me to become ITAA Secretary. I started my TA journey 15 years ago in Bangalore, India, where I received all of my training. After moving to Singapore, I joined the regional TA association (TAAS) and served as secretary on their executive committee for 5 years. My career in counseling has included both individual clients and group workshops on the use of TA in parenting. I was fortunate to cofound the Social Psychology Meet-Up Group of Singapore, where I had opportunities to organize group sessions on a variety of topics for young adults—from dating and office politics to advertising and more, all within a TA framework. I deeply treasure this multicultural experience because it taught me to think on my feet about the different ways TA concepts can be used effectively in real-life situations. I now live in Malaysia, and my work centers on parents, students, and teachers within a school community. I have served as the chair of the ITAA Nominations Committee since 2011 and have learned an immense amount about the workings, goals, and aspirations of the association. As secretary to the ITAA Board of Trustees, I will continue the good work done by my predecessors in spreading TA awareness to larger, more diverse audiences. Having already practiced counseling in different countries, I look forward to working with the various international organizations in the field using TA as a global language to connect countries and cultures.

Deepak Dhananjaya, Vice President, Development (2019 - 2020)

Deepak is a psychotherapist, Agile Coach, Certified Transactional Analyst (psychotherapy), and ACC-level Certified ICF Coach. He is an experienced professional with over a decade in Agile space as a developer, technical expert, manager, process consultant, coach, and now cocreator of AgileSattva Consulting LLP. Having worked for many years on Agile transformations, he believes that the goal of Agile is to create self-sustained, self-organized, and self-reliable systems. Deepak has experience working with a wide range of companies, from large organizations to mid-sized companies and startups. He is also actively engaged with various industry bodies, has presented at conferences, and has been on conference review panels and organizing groups. Deepak is the managing editor of SAJTA (formerly the SAATA Journal), the e-journal of the South Asian Association of Transactional Analysts; chair of the ITAA Membership Committee; and project coordinator of the ITAA supervision project (since 2016). He has a BE in computer science, an MS in sexuality and sexual counseling, a SAATA Diploma, and an SAATA Advanced Diploma in Transactional Analysis.

Chitra Ravi,  Vice President, Operations (2018 - 2021)

I am honored to serve as ITAA Vice President Operations. I had the privilege of being on the board as the regional representative for India/Asia from 2015–2017 and have also been the cochair of the International Board of Certification since 2012. Both of these roles gave me experience in holding key positions and contributing to the ITAA, and I have enjoyed the exposure and learning that I have gained in the process. In my role as the regional representative, I was able to address significant issues, answer queries, and solicit suggestions. As IBOC cochair, I have been involved in taking some difficult yet important decisions, often balancing safeguarding the policies and procedures of the Training and Examinations Handbook and the IBOC office with exploring what was required contextually by an individual’s needs. I have found both roles very satisfying. I am, therefore, excited to become the VP of Operations and look forward to undertaking the responsibilities and opportunities that role will entail. I know it will involve even great responsibilities, but I am confident that I can draw on many resources and individuals to help me carry out my duties to the best of my abilities.

Thorsten Geck, Vice President, Professional Standards (2018 - 2021)

Thorsten Geck (Germany) has a passion for TA that began with a TA 101 in 1995. He has a degree in psychology and is a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst in the organizational field. He works as a freelance consultant in leadership development and organizational counseling. Thorsten is an EATA language coordinator and contributes to the scientific committee of the German TA Association (DGTA). His commitment to the ITAA goes back to 2012 when he was asked to cochair the International Board of Certification (IBOC). His main motivation for contributing and volunteering is his understanding that TA associations live and benefit from volunteering and giving back what members received during their training from mentors, examiners, audiences and supervisees, boards of trustees, presidents, and delegates. He writes, “I believe that transactional analysis will evolve and improve by linking to the real lives of clients, research, and maintaining standards. I perceive standards as an opportunity to maintain quality. The dark side of standards, however, should not be neglected. Standards create boundaries at which people and their interests may sometimes be left out and kept on the ‘other side of the fence.’ I understand that it is a challenge to balance flexibility and persistence regarding standards to maintain the good reputation TA has in the professional world. This is what I want to pursue in the position of VP Professional Standards.”

Steff Oates, Vice President, Research & Innovation (2018 - 2021)

I served as ITAA Secretary from 2009–2014 so I am very aware of the workings of the Board of Trustees and the executive committee. During that time, I was involved in the process of the TAJ moving to an external publisher. Since the end of my term as secretary, I have remained involved, especially with our publications, which are an important area of responsibility for the VP of R&I. I have been coeditor of The Script, have coedited three TAJ special issues, and have had a number of articles published. I remain a member of the TAJ editorial board and have recently been involved in supporting authors whose first language is not English in their writing for the TAJ. I have also been involved in writing for and soliciting articles for the French-language journal and am very interested in collaboration with TA organizations who publish in their own languages. As secretary, I managed the awards committee and so am well aware of the awards processes, including the Eric Berne Memorial Award and the more recent ITAA Research Award. I am used to regularly producing reports about team and committee activities and would enjoy working with and representing the editors of the TAJ and The Script. I have a passion for disseminating the TA literature and to that end have coauthored a TAJ article with a psychoanalyst. I would very much like our journal to achieve wider coverage in intellectual circles across our four fields of application and beyond.

Alex van Oostveen, Regional Trustee, Africa and Middle-Eastern Regions (2018 - 2021)

Alex van Oostveen (South Africa) is a consultant, coach, and coach supervisor who currently serves as the vice chair of the South African TA Association. He has always been keenly interested in how people’s inner being impacts their doing, and transactional analysis has provided him with a number of clear perspectives on this that are applicable to individual and social contexts. He writes, “I have experienced and believe that TA is particularly effective in bringing peace, progress, and wholeness to Africa and its psychological dynamics. Africa has suffered centuries of injustice and tragedy that continue to manifest macro- and microscopically across the continent. The growing shift in awareness of global issues and technology’s positive impact on communication, travel, and education provide a powerful platform for turning our continent’s scripts around. Apart from advancing the use of TA in developing private individuals and their societies, its use in organizational environments will benefit African communities on a grand scale. TA provides a simple, tangible theory that can be grasped by those without higher education (a problem in Africa as a whole) and as such is ideal for helping people to make sense of themselves, each other, and the world around them. My intention as Africa representative will be to promote and support the use of TA at all levels of society so that it may act as a catalyst for Africa’s beautiful people to think, feel, and behave with awareness, self-worth, mutual respect, and authenticity.

Christine Kalin, Regional Trustee, Australasia (2017 - 2020)

I completed my CTA-P registration in 1999 in New Zealand and a TEW workshop in Sydney in 2015. I am currently in training as a PTSTA-P and am a member of the board of the Aotearoa New Zealand Transactional Analysis Association (ANZTAA). I operate a private psychotherapy practice in Auckland, New Zealand, and am registered in New Zealand as a nurse, a drug and alcohol treatment practitioner, and a psychotherapist. In addition to my clinical qualifications, I have a master’s degree in business and administration and a certificate in company direction (governance). I have enjoyed a successful 30-year career in the health sciences, which has included senior clinical and management roles in child, youth, and adult mental health and addiction services. Eleven of these years were in the capacity of CEO. I have always been passionate about TA, which has significantly informed my practice. As a member of the ITAA Board, I will bring a strong commitment to the purpose for which the association was established: to promote awareness and understanding of transactional analysis. I strive to work from a philosophical base of “I’m OK, You’re OK,” which supports me in working constructively within a team environment. I have a robust understanding of ethical, professional, and safe practice coupled with qualifications and experience in supporting this from a governance perspective.