Last week, we celebrated our winning cohort of Xero Australia Award champions from FY22 and FY23. It was awesome to bring together 26 small business owners, advisors and app partners from across Australia to acknowledge their outstanding contributions to their local communities and the wider world of business.
So what did the winning experience involve? In an exclusive two-day event hosted at Xero’s Melbourne HQ, the group had the chance to learn from industry professionals, network with like-minded entrepreneurs, and fine dine at one of Melbourne’s most iconic restaurants. Below, we’ve covered all the highlights of what was undoubtedly a memorable celebration.
Learning from thought leaders and industry changemakers
Throughout years of running the Xero Awards program, we’ve learned our winners often share one thing in common – a desire to stay at the top of their game. This is why the awards experience was all about equipping our champions with the tools they need to level up their professional and personal development. Here’s are some standouts from the sessions:
Understanding personal branding with Fiona Killackey:
Fiona Killackey – a.k.a. the founder of the highly successful consultancy company My Daily Business Coach – stopped by to share trade secrets on the art of personal branding. Through an interactive workshop, Fiona covered everything from how our beliefs and values inform the way we show up at work, to the emotional drivers behind every successful marketing campaign.
This was super valuable for some of our award winners, like Christina Guthrie of The Guthrie Collective – a disability support business focused on age appropriate social experiences and Xero’s FY23 Sole Trader of the Year. “I loved Fiona’s session. My business is literally centred on people, so bringing it back to what matters most – our teams and clients – was really fantastic,” she says.
Learning about all things business sustainability with Cogo:
As any cutting-edge entrepreneur knows, prioritising ESG (environmental, social and governance) is a massive drawcard for modern consumers and investors alike. This is why we invited Xero’s sustainability expert, Joel Hanna, to interview the brains behind Cogo, Julie Lindenberg – a cloud-based carbon tracking tool that enables small businesses to understand, measure and reduce their carbon emissions. Together, they discussed how leaders could embrace sustainability and spread the good word within their communities.
Mastering the mind with Phil Crothers:
Stress is an inevitable part of running a small business. So it helps to learn some techniques to manage it – ideally, from an expert, like Phil Crothers. As a cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner, Phil led an outcomes-focused workshop on how to explore, analyse and manage our mindsets.
Matthew Laming of BDO left Phil’s session with plenty of practical takeaways. The FY22 Enterprise Partner of the Year says, “The most interesting part for me was understanding that we can’t always operate in a thriving headspace – and that’s okay. When the time comes, there are strategies to reset.”
Ethan Cooney of Ignition, Xero’s FY23 Practice App of the Year, agrees, adding, “I can already think of four things I’ll immediately apply when I’m back in the office next week. Particularly around creating a safe space for people to talk about how they’re going, and how we can motivate the team.”
At the end of the two days, our award winners were armed with practical learnings, food for thought, as well as hard and soft skills to help elevate their businesses in the year ahead (and beyond).
Creating meaningful connections
With so much brain power in one room, strong connections were bound to be made. In fact, the networking was the best bit for many of our champions. Christina says, “I’ve been in operation for a year now, but there are people here who’ve been doing this for up to a decade. I’ve learned what’s worked for them and what hasn’t – it’s blown my mind!”
The same goes for Peter Horder of Finlert, Xero’s FY23 Small Business App of the Year. He says, “Meeting the other award winners and understanding how they operate in business – from what their customers are looking for to how they meet their needs – has been invaluable. Outside of the sessions, the networking has honestly been fantastic.”
Celebrating in style at Melbourne’s iconic Vue de Monde
Of course, the Xero Awards aren’t all work and no play. We ended the two-day event with a special ceremony and dinner at Vue De Monde – one of Melbourne’s swankiest fine dining institutions. Our champions dressed to the nines to officially receive their trophies from Xero’s leadership team. Seeing some of the top entrepreneurial talents be awarded and recognised amongst their peers was truly special.
As we wrap another Xero Australia Awards program, we want to thank our winners and finalists for making this year’s program a success. For those looking to submit a nomination in FY24, keep an eye on Xero’s socials and check your inbox for updates. We can’t wait to do it all again next time!