Coma to Championing Courage (Virtual Keynote)

My journey to courage started by surviving two induced comas and living through my worst fear - a tracheotomy.

Courage is the cornerstone of progress and begins by understanding fear. Fear is an excellent source of information influencing the way we assess risk, likelihood, and probability. The emotions caused by the threat of danger, pain, or lack of certainty from the unknown can cause anxiety, stress and may deter you from taking actions to achieve your goals.

You are so much stronger than you know! Create a list of memories of when you have been courageous and store them in the Courage Bank! Think about your successes, learnings from failures, times when you have been brave and how you felt when achieving difficult outcomes. When faced with fear use memories from the Courage Bank as a reference point for reflection and motivation to propel you forward. Courage has a cascading effect creating self-belief and confidence inspiring others to be courageous.

You can champion courage by following four simple steps at your own PACE: Passion, Action, Confidence and Excellence.


Martin Stark is a Keynote Speaker, LGBTQI+ Advocate, Courage Champion and Inclusion Practitioner. Martin is passionate about Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Social Justice and Fairness. Martin is a seasoned commercial negotiator and Supplier Diversity Expert with 15-years’ experience as an IT Strategic Sourcing Leader. Martin is the Founder of the Business Builders Group Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum the Yarning Circle and is a Pride Inclusion Advocate for Pride Life Global

Martin was diagnosed with Addison’s disease shortly after surviving being place in two induced comas and a tracheotomy. Since 2006 had had four major surgeries and over 70 hospital admissions. Martin believes in health and wellness, staying active, living life to the max and has the words “Courage” and “Fear Nothing” tattooed on his back. Martin defines courage as “The ability to take psychological and physical ownership of fear deciding to venture forward into the challenge or threat with confidence and resilience”

Martin is the Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit company World Gay Boxing Championships Limited (WGBC) and plans to hold the inaugural LGBTQI+ boxing championships in Sydney in February 2023 coinciding with the city hosting World Pride and Mardi Gras. Martin's aim is to introduce boxing to the LGBTQ+ and wider community encouraging people participate in the boxing in a safe and comfortable environment.

Martin talks about Courage, Inclusion, Sport and LGBTQI+ Advocacy and has been interviewed by The Guardian, Reuters, BBC World Service, BBC Sport and has been featured in prestigious Australian and international LGBTQI+ media including DNA magazine, Out Sports and