The Staff

Meet the people behind the organization.
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Michele Burmaster

Michele Burmaster

CEO; President

With a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of South Florida and 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, Michele’s life mission is to make fitness accessible to everyone. After an intentional period of dramatic weight loss, she recognized the disordered practices and extremes in the fitness industry causing people more harm than good for their overall health. She devised the BPFA Eight Pillars to help guide trainers from all around the world in making their fitness practices accessible, approachable, fun communities that operate within scope of practice and are focused on full mental, emotional and physical health. The mission incorporates body positive environments – free of judgments or assumptions.

Janelle Burmaster

Janelle Burmaster

CFO; VP of Administration

Janelle has previously served on the board of Surf City Fit Club, inc. as acting Secretary and CFO where she established the company’s best practices. In her current roles with the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, she is working to maintain growth at a steady pace through solid fiscal strategy. When she’s not logging time at the calculator, Janelle enjoys painting and spending time with her family, which consists of her CEO wife and their two adorable pups.

Maria DeMesa

Maria DeMesa

Senior Vice President; Graphic & Web Designer

Maria is a freelance Graphic + Web Designer in Dublin CA. She has been working with Michele since 2014 and became an official board member in 2017 and handles all things Graphic + Web. When she’s not behind a computer, she is busy being a mother, powerlifting, cooking/baking, and traveling between Northern and Southern, CA.

Laura Vineyard

Laura Vineyard

VP of Affiliated Professional Resources

Laura Vineyard is a biology Ph.D. turned personal trainer and roller-skating enthusiast. She owns ShockYard Fitness & Social Club, a body-positive, strength-training gym and shenanigan-generator in Ithaca, NY. While the more body-positive roller derby world is what got Laura into fitness, opening up her own gym was a crash course in the toxic attitudes and techniques of traditional fitness. Connecting with the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, back in 2014 was like finding an oasis. BPFA gave Laura the confidence to keep pushing back against those harmful traditional fit1point0 values and the tools to build her own accessible fitness community. She is passionate about helping other professionals find their way to body-positive practices.


Katie Feeley

VP of Verified Communities

Katie owns Power Plant Gym in Aston, PA (Philly suburbs), a BPFA Verified Community. She spent a good bit of time working in the Fit1.0 community with a focus on working with women and beginners. She helped her clients see what their bodies could *do* without regard to what they looked like. She knew that her approach was not the norm, but she didn’t have a way of explaining that until she met Michele and was able to put a name – Fit2.0 – to her style of practice. She worked with Michele to become the first Affiliated Professional, and opened her own brick-and-mortar gym using the BPFA Pillars as the backbone of their practice. She’s passionate about making fitness – especially strength training – more approachable, and introducing as many people to joyful movement as part of a balanced approach to full health. She currently coaches every level from beginners to collegiate athletes and everything in between. She maintains PPG as a space where people with a variety of backgrounds and interests can train together for a common goal of being stronger inside and outside the gym.

Sharon Moss

Sharon Moss

VP of Operations

Sharon is a fat, feminist, queer strongwoman and Highland Games athelete who has competed at the national and international level. When not in the gym, she can be found wandering the woods or in/on the nearest body of water. Sharon believes that access to positive physical activity is a right, in any body. She loves teaching people, especially larger-bodied folx, how strong they are.


Kate Browne

VP of Communications

Kate joined BPFA in 2016 as a pre-professional because she wanted to stay connected to a community that shares her values of accessible fitness. As a writer and wellness marketing consultant, she helps fitpros create campaigns that reflect their commitment to making their practices welcoming, inclusive, and fun.

Raven Ainsel

VP of Education

Raven Ainsel is a pole dancing instructor at College Station Pole Fitness and has been a BPFA Affiliated Professional since 2017. As pole instructor, Raven enjoys introducing new students to pole as a form of self-expression and physical challenge and connecting with the diverse pole community around the world. Pole is an important part of her personal practice of Full Health- complementing mentally challenging academic work as a statistician, social scientist, and educator. Raven uses her experience in both worlds to contribute to the BPFA’s many educational opportunities for fitness professionals.


Bryan Wither

VP of Affiliated Professional Relations

Yoga, kettlebell and grappling instructor. Member since 2015. Met Michele through the Disrupt your Diet page and the Strength Stories video.