Allansford resident Peter Gaffy wants to use his leadership experience to get more hands on in his local community, and inspire others to do the same.
Peter was a recipient of one of six Victoria Regional Community Leadership Program (VRCLP) scholarships offered by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, which invests in emerging leaders in dairy communities to help them develop leadership capacity.
Participating in the 2018 Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC) program has opened Peter’s eyes up to opportunities to collaborate with peers in the dairy community.
“The program has provided a unique opportunity to gain some perspective through sharing experiences and learning from other leaders across a variety of different industries that make up the South-West community.
“On reflection, it really stood out to me how unrivalled the dairy industry is when it comes to pulling together in the face of adversity. We have a great opportunity to embrace this collaborative approach when it comes to leadership; working together to pave the way for the future of the industry,” said Peter.
Peter said the program also shone a light on the need for greater awareness about the impact of the dairy industry on the local community.
“The program has made me more aware that there are people in our community who don’t realise the importance or magnitude of the dairy industry, or understand the challenges. There is a real opportunity to promote how our industry contributes significantly to the community.”
Peter’s passion for dairy began at a young age, having grown up on his family’s dairy farm in Ardmona, Northern Victoria. Currently part of the team at WestVic Dairy in his role as Regional Extension Officer (Feedbase), Peter relocated with his wife Fiona, daughter Lucy and son James, to Allansford.
It was Peter’s drive to give back to his local community that inspired him to apply for Gardiner’s VRCLP scholarship to participate in the LGSC program.
“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation really is an incredibly valuable resource to the dairy industry. As well as the leadership program, I’ve also participated in UDV’s New Zealand Study Tour, which is another wonderful initiative supported by Gardiner.
“I was fortunate enough to have several dairy industry peers refer me to the LGSC program, but it was really the connection the program had to our local community that prompted me to apply,” said Peter.
The LGSC program connects leaders in South-West Victoria, and aims to provide innovative leadership development that supports thriving and resilient communities.
“The program has allowed me to grow and develop, both personally and professionally. I have gained an even greater understanding of the region that I live and work in, and I’ve met some fantastic people and developed a really strong community network.
“Most importantly, the program has really shown me that you don’t need to be at the top of an organisation to demonstrate leadership. Great leaders have the ability to influence and motivate outcomes at any level,” said Peter.
Even with a young family and busy lifestyle, Peter remains more determined than ever to contribute more to the South-West community.
“I want to take on additional leadership positions in the community and across the dairy industry. I’d like to be involved in the school council and the CFA – local groups that really are the backbone of our region.”
Alongside his program peers, Peter has partnered with the Warrnambool Triathlon Club to initiate ‘Couch to Coast’, an all-inclusive triathlon event that encourages local community members at any level to participate and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The event will take place on Killareney Beach on Saturday, 3 November, with Peter encouraging everyone to get off the couch and have a go in the variety of events on offer throughout the day.
“It’s not about competing, it’s about getting off the couch and out of your comfort zone. Through this event, we want to bring our community together and get everybody more active,” said Peter.
For more information on Couch to Coast event, please visit the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/Couch2coast/
For more information on the Leadership Great South Coast program, please visit the website – https://www.lgsc.org.au/