At The Grace Tales, we're acutely aware that as soon as she takes on the role of 'mother,' every woman becomes a 'slashie.' No longer are they merely a lawyer, an author, a stylist, an athlete, an entrepreneur ... They become a woman who does it all.
And while we’ve seen our fair share of impressive slashies, there has perhaps never been one as remarkable as Annabelle Williams. Perhaps it’s best you take a breath and a long sip of tea before considering just a little of Annabelle’s resume …
She is a Paralympic Gold Medallist (a swimmer), international keynote speaker, lawyer (until recently, the Legal Counsel for the Australian Olympic Committee, no less), TV reporter and sports commentator and passionate diversity advocate. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2013, is the Vice-President of the Board of Paralympics Australia, Chair of the Paralympics Australia Athletes’ Commission, and member of the IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal. She has held advisory roles with the Australian Swimmers’ Association and the Australian Sports Foundation. She has broken numerous world records, worked in Paris for the Australian Trade Commission (where she consolidated her French language skills) and in Washington D.C. for a US sports agency and – wait for it – was a stunt double in Mad Max 4: Fury Road.
She’s just returned from Silicon Valley where she completed an executive MBA at Stanford, one of the USA’s most prestigious universities, with her baby girl, Josie, in tow. As if we’d expect anything less, Annabelle delivered the valedictory address to her class at Stanford and followed up her speech globe-trotting – in the last few weeks alone she has been to Spain, France, Belarus and back to the US – delivering motivational speeches to top executives and organisations.
Her latest partnership is with Flo Health, a women’s health platform with more than 100 million users, where she is about to release a course about empowerment – aimed at empowering women as they navigate bumps along the road. Having very recently resigned from her legal role, she used her spare time (ha) to set up her own company, consulting and speaking all over the world.
Now let me catch my breath while I consider how many achievements I’ve missed.
If you thought this was enough to feel a slight twinge of resentment toward the perpetually over-achieving Annabelle, her infectious persona will quickly squash those thoughts. She is as kind as she is successful, as self-deprecating as she is accomplished, and as lovely as they come.
Let us introduce you to the incomparable Annabelle Williams …
Follow Annabelle at @anniejwilliams and www.annabellewilliams.com.au.
Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born in Sydney on 21 July 1988 at King George V Hospital in Camperdown. Rumour has it that I was the biggest baby ever to be born at the hospital – but I think (and hope!) that’s a story which has been embellished over the years! Nevertheless, I was large! Plus, I was missing my left hand, so I would have been even heavier! Haha. We moved to Jakarta, Indonesia when I was 7 for my Dad’s work and lived there for 3 years. I attended the British International School, which is where I started to swim competitively. When we returned to Sydney, a number of my friends were swimming competitively in squads so I went along with them a couple of times a week. To be honest, I hated swimming training. I thought it was so antisocial and much preferred athletics where I could chat to my friends during training, rather than having my head buried in the water.