A SESSION in under-15 Ballarat schoolboys’ representative football is where Jake Bridges first heard talk that would guide his career path. He just did not realise this at the time. Now his life has come full-circle.
The talk was from performance motivators Leading Teams, a business co-founded by Ballarat’s Ray McLean and Kraig Grime.
Mr Bridges has been a facilitator with the company for three years now, helping professional and sporting teams develop their trademark and learn the art of genuine conversation.
“It does seem simple but simple isn’t easy,” Mr Bridges said. “The training in this is the bit I’ve found fascinating in facilitating.”
The genuine, honest conversations along his own journey helped lead Mr Bridges to this point.
Growing up, Mr Bridges lived and breathed football. It was all he wanted to do until his high school physical education teacher Faith Maple asked him the hard question: what would he do if he did not play AFL football.
Mr Bridges kept playing through the TAC Cup under-18 system with North Ballarat Rebels, then stepped up to North Ballarat Roosters’ Victorian Football League club. But the question was always in the back of his mind.
While studying education at the then-University of Ballarat, Bridges started to help as an athlete facilitator with Athlete Development Australia (now Leading Teams). His work later took him to join BluEarth Foundation in empowering children, then teaming with running icon Steve Moneghetti in motivation.
In January 2015, his life crossed paths with Leading Team’s Kraig Grime again.
“Kraig asked me to shadow him for six months,” Mr Bridges said. “Kraig must’ve seen something in me that perhaps I didn’t even realise, to bring me on and learn about the business and what it does. It feels the right fit.”
Leading Teams is best known for changing elite sporting teams’ cultures, but most of their work is with businesses. Mr Bridges relishes the chance to give back and help business in his hometown make their mark, including PETstock, The Forge and Mesh and Masonry because he knows firsthand how talk could make a big difference.