Hospo queen: Kate Davis supports local producers and venues, also the director of Eat Drink West. Photo: FILE

Women in business Shine at awards

November 27, 2020 BY

PLATE Up Ballarat director, Kate Davis and Leroy Mac Designs’ Rebecca McErvale were both recently celebrated at the Shine Awards, putting women of rural Australia in the spotlight.

Presented by The Weekly Times and Harvey Norman, Mrs McErvale reached the finals process, while Ms Davis won the Passion Award category.

Ms Davis said she was “proud and humbled” to receive the gong which encapsulates exactly how she feels every day, working to champion the region’s hospitality industry.

“I’m extremely passionate about Ballarat’s place on the map…and everything I’ve done has been for the dynamic people, producers, business owners and chefs in Ballarat; the culinary capital of western Victoria,” she said.

“What I loved most about it was that I was nominated amongst so many dynamic women, like Rebecca, and that the judges spoke about work I’d done quite some time ago.

Husband and wife team, Rodney and Rebecca McErvale are the faces behind Leroy Mac Designs’ merino wool products. Photo: FILE

The Weekly Times have followed my journey for a long time, and that made me reflect on all the wonderful things I’ve been able to do over many years.”

She said the opportunity for Ballarat’s hospitality community to get this national exposure was “incredible.”

“Our city is getting better and better with our venues and offerings. Our hospitality scene is so strong.”

Mrs McErvale said the person who nominated her remains a mystery, so her recognition came positively “out of the blue.”

“I’ve been so excited about it. It’s unbelievable to be a finalist because there are so many amazing rural women out there,” she said.

“We had a fire at our Lexton farm at the start of the year, so we’ve overcome lots of challenges in 2020, but so has every other woman nominated.

“All the women were so deserving, so I am honoured that I was recognised.”

Mrs McErvale said it was wonderful to have a popular newspaper and a large corporation giving rural women a platform, and helping them reach a wider audience.

“It’s been phenomenal and marvellous to see Harvey Norman and The Weekly Times leading the way in recognising rural women and helping us along the way.

“Often our farming men receive awards or exposure, so this is an amazing opportunity to champion and celebrate women, share their stories and initiatives,” she said.