Panellist - Joe Williams

Co-founder, Yurruga
Joe Williams
Joe Williams is a Wiradjuri/Wolgalu 1st Nations Aboriginal man born in Cowra, raised in Wagga NSW having lived a portion of his life as a professional athlete. Joe played in the National Rugby League for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional Boxing in 2009. As a boxer Joe was a 2x WBF World Jnr Welterweight champion and also won the WBC Asia Continental title.

Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe battled the majority of his life with crippling mental health challenges. Throughout this road of challenges, Joe felt his purpose was to help people who struggle with similar obstacles. On the back of this, Joe founded mental health & wellbeing organisation, The Enemy Within in 2014.

oe’s autobiography titled Defying The Enemy Within.

In 2017 Joe was named as finalist for the courage award in the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards, 2018 awarded the Suicide Prevention Australia Life Award & In 2019 Joe was awarded Australia’s highest honour in the Mental Health field, announced as a co winner of the National Mental Health Prize.

In 2023, Joe founded the Our Way Academy Pty Ltd, working in schools to create a better now for First Nations young people. Our Way Academy creates a culturally responsive environment for students to learn and thrive through belonging, values and behaviours.

Joe's dedication to creating a sustainable future through renewable energy remains steadfast, rooted in his deep sense of responsibility to both his country and the environment as a First Nations man.

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