The Committee for Ballarat has opened expressions of interest for a new chair, as the city stands "at the crossroads".
It's a position that comes with gravitas and the expectation of going toe-to-toe with prime ministers and premiers to get the best result for the entire city, but former chair Judy Verlin said it should not be considered "daunting".
"The city is poised at the moment, ready to take that next big step," she said.
"We need the partnerships, and a collective voice, for where we're going.
"We're looking for that unique leader - it's someone who has the confidence to pick up the phone, open doors, and who people can look to and say 'I've got confidence in what they're going to do'."
The committee is an apolitical membership-based organisation, with many of the major players in the city represented, from big businesses to hospitals and universities - the new chair would have to lead long-term thinking as Ballarat stares down potentially doubling in population in 15 years.
Interim chair Rod Walton said the candidate needed to be ready for massive changes in the short and long term.
"We need to be ready for this - how do we actually work together, at a time when governments are saying 'we'll invest more money, spend more money, than any time in history' - so we as a community need to ensure we get our share of that infrastructure spend, and spend on communities, to protect the bits we love the most," he explained.
"We go beyond the council elections, the state elections, the federal elections - we're in a position now to say we're looking for visionary leadership."
He added the new chair would be backed up by a strong board of committee members, and dynamic chief executive Michael Poulton.
"We see Michael, backed up by a strong secretariat, to be front and centre, so we really need a person who is the chair of the Committee to come in and contribute at the right times, and the important times, for advocacy," Mr Walton said.
"It's not about personalities, it's about the strength of what the vision is, to be able to communicate, collaborate, advocate, so in some ways it's a special person, with a passion for their community, who understands the community, and actually can share the vision we have.
"They could make a generational impact."
The current priorities are connectivity, particularly for rail to Melbourne, and energy, as Victoria's grid decentralises from the Latrobe Valley and more investment in renewables come online.
Ms Verlin said the results of the committee's advocacy through the years were huge - from solving water issues during the Millenium Drought to keep big manufacturers in town, to incremental but massive improvements along the Ballarat rail line.
"Sometimes it's challenging, because if the work's all been done, you've got the collective decision made around the table, and another level of government comes in and says 'we'll fund something else', you have to say 'sorry, these are the non-negotiables, these are the transformational projects that we are advocating for'," she said.
"Government listens to that, they listen to decisions being made by the community.
"If we're looking at 50 per cent growth, the churn of planning, of council, of government, it takes so long, and we can't afford to wait.
"If you've got Mars and McCain going to do an expansion, for example, and spending $70 million to do it, they can't look at three or four year cycles, they have to look at longer term planning, and they have to have the confidence in the person taking the lead for them.
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"It sounds as if it's overwhelming, it's not - I was a previous chair and it was such a privilege to sit at the boardroom table with all the top CEOs in the city, giving their time, coming together as a collective - education, health, the water authority, big business, council - all sitting around the table planning for the future, and that's why the Committee is there.
"The city is at the crossroads, so we need the right person in place."
Applications close December 11.
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