Joanne Williams career began in high school when she hosted the teen talk show on Milwaukee’s WAWA Radio. Two weeks after graduating with honors in film from Northwestern University, she started working for WTMJ TV. In 1973, Joanne and Pete Wilson started The Morning Scene – the first 30-minute, early morning TV newscast in Milwaukee.
That was followed by several years at WGN TV in Chicago as a reporter, writer and part-time weathercaster.
She returned as WITI TV’s (later FOX6) Community Relations Director in 1978, producing many projects, including “The Disabled Are Able”, which was nominated for a daytime Emmy. In 1982, Joanne returned to the WITI newsroom and wore many hats as reporter, anchor, and producer during her tenure. Over the years, Joanne hosted live call-in programs, town hall meetings, and participated in thousands of community events on behalf of FOX6.
For 8 years, she was the host and segment producer for Milwaukee Public Television's "Black Nouveau" which won a regional EMMY in 2018. She has won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2012 and won the Bronze award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best Documentary or new special for the program "Harry Kemp: The Photography Man".
Joanne was a regional director on the board of the National Association of Black Journalists, a founding member of the Wisconsin Black Media Association, past president of the Milwaukee Press Club and has served on many boards and committees of service agencies in Milwaukee. She is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame. and a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle honoree in 2009. In 2014 the Milwaukee Business Journal honored her as a Woman of Influence for her inspiration to others.
In 2023 Joanne was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
Joanne worked with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County for 10 years and was a part of the teams that raised over $51-million dolars every year. She has become associated with Milwaukee Film as an independent documentary filmmaker, with her film “The Exchange. In White America. Kaukauna & King 50 Years Later”.