audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word


A former Rugby League player's journey of self-accountability, adversity & resilience


Russell Packer is a proud Maori man (Ngati Apa; Ngati Kuia & Muapoko) who grew up in a small rural town, Foxton, New Zealand and lived with the challenges of being part a broken family.

These early life experiences gave him an insatiable drive to improve his circumstances. At 16, Russell secured a long-term contract in rugby league and moved to Auckland. He has made many mistakes and learned plenty of life lessons the hard way. In 2014 he was imprisoned for an assault, this experience was a turning point in his life, and he decided he would do everything to make the changes necessary to be the best person he could be, by starting with his education, then focused on his sporting career.

Although he does not have an undergraduate degree, he was accepted into a graduate business programme, which led to his recent graduation of an MBA, with a distinction average. Currently, he is enrolled at Auckland University to complete a Master in Legal Studies.

Russell’s desire is to combine the skills he has acquired through education, sport and self-development, and apply them in an environment that allows him to contribute, develop and create positive relationships. He says, his battle scars have shaped the person he is today and through his adversity he has become a better person. His strengths are his determination and discipline.

Sport has given Russell many opportunities and the attributes he has developed on and off the field are transferable to any workplace.

An inspiring speaker, Russell talks about his personal experiences of understanding himself, knowing his weaknesses, dealing with setbacks and using those as fuel to persevere. Russell also shares take-away tools and techniques that he has come across that have helped him with his self-growth.
The perfect speaker for topics including: mindset, self-accountability, choices, adversity, resilience and hope.

Russell has been a guest speaker on several occasions with our organisation both in person but also as a guest online in a podcast format. Russell has a message that resonated with many of our staff as elite professional athletes. In addition, he tells a powerful story about his journey in life and the lessons he has learnt on the way as a former Rugby League Test player and NRL player over his 14-year career. His approach to leadership, self-reflection and self-determination was well received by our key staff members, especially the tools he used to overcome adversity. We were particularly interested as executive managers because of the ease with which he was able to transition from our elite sporting environment into the business world. His ability to harness and practice the principles he advocates are a testament to his knowledge and insights into life. New Zealand Warriors

Russell brings a WOW factor. He's thought provoking, motivational, knowledgeable, relatable, and inspiring. His lived experience is incredibly unique and his ability to dig deep on, and explain, some of the experiences he's lived is a true talent. But not only does Russell do an incredible job of explaining his philosophies of change and the reasoning behind it, he tailors it perfectly to his audience in a really authentic way kiwi way. Thanks for providing so much value Russell, you are helping us to change perspectives and give hope to your audience.

Water Boy

Russell presented to the Steamers rugby team as part of their Personal Development for 2022. His session was raw as he spoke openly about his journey and the highs and lows and everything in between. This provided the athletes with an incredible insight into his life as well as the importance of creating a life outside of sport and how to be prepared for anything. Our team loved this session and still talk about his story. Russell was fabulous to work with, adapted to meet my brief, engaged with the players, made the environment comfortable and I would think he would add value to any organisation that he presented to.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union
Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Celebrity Speakers updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist