Bendigo's Dr Penny Davies sees her skill as seeing a need and finding a solution - or, seeing a solution and finding where it is needed.
Putting this talent to work in the fields of higher education and community health has led to her appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia this year.
Dr Davies founded the Bendigo Cystic Fibrosis Support Group more than 40 years ago because her two late children, Justin and Megan, were diagnosed with the condition as infants.
She remembers it as heartbreaking news, especially because the life expectancy at the time was short and she had struggled to have children.
"I felt very isolated and very alone, because all the treatment was in Melbourne, and over the years there were more diagnoses made and I thought, 'I've got the skills to make sure this doesn't happen for other people'," Dr Davies said.
Dr Davies continues to support families with children who have cystic fibrosis and those who have also lost children to the condition.
She is also an advocate and educator for organ donation through DonateLife, her son Justin having received two double-lung transplants before he died aged 37.
"My son was a great advocate for organ donor awareness, and so really do a lot in that field," she said.
Dr Davies said her role involved signing people onto the organ donation register and providing information, but it also concerned supporting others.
It was about bringing people together, she said, because like with cystic fibrosis, serious health conditions were isolating.
A local group of people affected by organ donation in some way gather a few times a year.
"It's a way of checking on each other and supporting each other, which is really important," she said.
Dr Davies was also part of a group that established the Heart and Lung Trust's Second Chance Accommodation, which pays for and subsidises accommodation for patients and families who have to spend extended periods of time in Melbourne for a transplant.
She said her contribution to the field of education began when she helped found La Trobe University's Bendigo Tertiary Education Anniversary Foundation, a spin-off from the 125th celebration of tertiary education in the city in 1998.
She was the media representative for that celebration, and found there were people offering donations for scholarships.
In a short time, Dr Davies said, they ended up with thousands of dollars and the promise of much more, so the foundation was created to support the university and its students.
Dr Davies remains the fundraiser for the foundation, which provides scholarships, buys equipment and supports research projects.
She has made a name as the campus historian and completed her doctorate on the history of higher education in Bendigo.
Having initially trained as a nurse, Dr Davies later enrolled in a social sciences and humanities course, then completed a Diploma of education (which led to a decade of teaching).
Later she did a Graduate Diploma in community health, a Masters in health sciences, Diploma of arts and professional writing, and eventually, her PhD.
Dr Davies said she valued higher education.
"I had two kids with cystic fibrosis who were really not terribly well, and education was the one thing I could control," she said.
"It was my escape, if you like, so it's been really good for me and good to me.
"I think if you've got skills, you should give them back, and that's what I've attempted to do."
Outside of the university, she is involved in various other organisations including the Bendigo Writers Council and the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Dr Davies said she was driven by a desire to share her skills and give back to the community she loves.
She also enjoys the strong support of her husband of more than 40 years, Cled.
Being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia was encouraging, Dr Davies said.
"I'm very humbled, of course. I think it inspires you... it is an acknowledgement and that's nice," she said.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.