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PERSONAL trainer Corey Davies had not really considered himself a leader until a client tapped him on the shoulder and suggested he would be a good fit for the Leadership Ballarat and Western Region forum. Before PT, Mr Davies had been working in a factory. He moved into the fitness industry working for a PT business than gave him clients. Gradually, Mr Davies knew he wanted more and took the plunge to start his own business DVS personal training. The idea of him doing a leadership course still took Mr Davies by surprise but, wanting to push out of his comfort zone, he took up the challenge. "It's really opening my eyes on community leadership," Mr Davies said. "We're about halfway through the program, it's still raw." Mr Davies joined LBWR leaders forum on a Peter Davies (no relation) scholarship, fully-funded by Committee for Ballarat in memory of the visionary businessman who was passionate about supporting emerging entrepreneurs across the region. Until that tap on the shoulder, Mr Davies said he, like many of his friends, had no real idea about LBWR or Committee for Ballarat or the advocacy work both bodies do for the community. The forum is broadening Mr Davies perspective on what makes this region tick. A visit to Langi Kal Kal prison, near Trawalla, made him realise how much work went into self-funding programs. The visit also challenged his thinking on how to separate what crime might have landed a person in prison to what kind of person they might be now. "I'm taking notes all the time and letting it all sink in," Mr Davies said."I'm going in open-minded on how to lead and have learnt so many things...Personal training is a very saturated industry, but not competitive if you know how to work with people and be honest with them." A key feature of the forum is self-assessment and how to more effectively work personal strengths. From this, Mr Davies is helping to encourage his gym base Spartans to become more involved in the community and break the stigma of gyms being a male-dominated environment. Mr Davies said everyone had their own goals and their own insecurities and he wanted to help build confidence in all he worked with. KATE Davis was at a complete cross-road in her life. Working through the trauma of becoming a single mum, Ms Davis found amazing inspiration and a new perspective on life by throwing herself into the community. It took Ms Davis a few years to figure how to best channel all she had learned from her time in Leadership Ballarat and Western Region leaders forum - she just felt a responsibility to share. The past couple of years, the essence of what community leadership means to Ms Davis has emerged organically in her role in developing Plate Up Ballarat food festival and her new venture Eat Drink West, connecting cafes, restaurants and chefs with local producers. Her sense of leadership is also evident in the six or so seats are reserved at a Plate Up event this year for people most in need. "Everyone has a story and things going on in their lives," Ms Davis said. "People are time poor. It can be hard to jump on committees or boards but I felt I still had to make a difference. I thought, what is it I can do to give back. Everything I do has an element of community to it." Similarly, the spirit of LBWR carries on in the work of fellow Peter Davies scholarship recipient Janelle Ryan, who continues to reflect on the learnings she took from the 2012 leaders forum. The then-emerging public relations consultant now leads co-working space Runway as a stakeholder relations director. This offers a platform to support other small business or satellite workers in helping to grow and shape a dynamically changing Ballarat. Ms Ryan also runs her own open networking forum, Left of The Clique, featuring a panel of somewhat unassuming Ballarat leaders from wide-ranging fields. Personally and professionally, Ms Ryan and Ms Davis (2013 Davies scholarship) said LBWR shaped their life, direction and community understanding. Peter Davies was a visionary businessman, passionate about helping emerging entrepreneurs and his community. Mr Davies owned Ballarat's first McDonald's, served as president on the Sovereign Hill board and was inaugural chairman of what is now Committee for Ballarat. Ms Ryan was one of his McDonald's employees. "The soul of the scholarship recognises and supports people like me, who would otherwise be stopped from joining the leaders forum or have the forum only be for those who could afford it," Ms Ryan said. "That's an incredible legacy he's left." Samantha Davies said it was special to see how her father's legacy continued to play out in others in the decade since his death. Ms Davies has a personal hand in selecting recipients each year and said her father would be so proud on the different paths each participant had taken. "Dad was passionate about Bllarat and he would love so much to see how Ballarat is getting better and better and how much it has grown in the past 10 years," Ms Davies said. "Every year it's a lovely reminder of what meant so much to him." Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.