The Aspires Awards 2023

The wait is over.
Find out if you’re a Top 2 Finalist for the 2023 Aspire Awards!

After an exhilarating year filled with exceptional talent and remarkable submissions, we are thrilled to unveil the top 2 finalists for every category and region. Could you or your team be among this year’s outstanding Top 2?

The task of selecting the finalists was a daunting one for our panel of experts. We received so many great entries showcasing individuals and teams who demonstrate our mindsets and shine as beacons of inspiration. However, after careful deliberation, the network leaders have narrowed down the field to the top 2 finalists in each People category and region, as well as the best overall in the Stars categories.

A leadership panel, comprising of Sharon Whiteman (Chief Network Officer), Kathryn Waugh (Chief Quality and Curriculum Officer), Louisa Rinaldi (Chief People and Culture Officer) and Warren Bright (CEO) – handpicked the finalists, and the overall winner will be revealed at the Awards Night on 31 August in Melbourne. Remember, The Aspires are about people and Teams who make their Centre a delight for children, families, and colleagues in everything they do. Stars can shine in ways big and small; it’s making a difference that matters. Enjoy going through the nominations and celebrating the great work being done across the network!

Congratulations to all the finalists!


The Aspires Star Categories

The Aspires Stars are the pinnacle of achievement. They have been created to recognise those people who shine.

Click the links below to see the TOP 2 FINALISTS!

Centre Team Of The Year

Awarded to the Centre team that exemplifies most or all of the Guardian mindsets and works tirelessly to achieve each and every one of our guiding principles.

The Aspires Mate

The Aspires Mate is the person or team that has been your greatest ally, team player or support network in achieving one of the Guardian guiding principles.

The Aspires Innovator

The Aspires Innovator is the person or team that has introduced a new initiative or innovative thinking approach for the good of the company and its people.

The Aspires Star

The Aspires Star Award will recognise the person or team that embodies all the Guardian mindsets and is set to be a star of the future!

Support Office Star

The Support Office Star Award recognises excellence in a Support Office Role. It is someone who is amazing in supporting Centres and Teams to deliver fantastic experiences for families.

The Reconciliation Award

The Reconciliation Award is a brand-new award in 2023.

It recognises and celebrates the team who has promoted and implemented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation initiatives. This team values indigenous cultural connection and has experiences and/or programs that connect their Centre community with relevant indigenous cultures. They have commenced a journey of real and lasting positive change based on reflection, cultural understanding, respect, and improvement.


The Aspires People Categories

The Aspires People category recognises excellence in each role in our Centres, the people who make Guardian a great place for all of us. 

Click the links below to see the TOP 2 FINALISTS!

Educator Of The Year

You are a connector of children, teams, families and community. You go above and beyond, and others look to learn from and are inspired by you.

Teacher Of The Year

You create opportunities and connections within your community, contribute to our Teachers network, are a leader and mentor, and you have a passion to share, learn and improve.

Educational Leader Of The Year

You are a motivator and innovator, demonstrating great practice, or contributing to our Educational Leader network. Your leadership is felt, seen and heard.

Student Of The Year

You are an exceptional learner who has shown this in practice, your academic results and commitment to your studies. Your future is bright!

Cook/Chef Of The Year

You are a leader, an educator, communicator, and innovator who promotes great food and nutrition ideas. Your kitchen is the heart of your Centre.

Assistant Centre Manager Of The Year

You are a listener, collaborator, problem solver, and you empower those around you. You build strong trusted relationships with teams, families, children, and the community.

Centre Manager Of The Year

​​​​​​​Your leadership skills support a high performing team that maintains high-quality practice, awesome team and family experience, a safety first culture, and strong business discipline.




Winners will receive…

  • ​​​A Trophy 
  • $500 cash gift voucher to spend as you wish 
  • All-expenses paid ticket to attend a national ECE conference of your choice, worth more than $1,500
  • Time to visit a Centre within your own state to spend time with a colleague to network, watch and learn from them.

Centre of the year will receive…

  • ​​​​​​​A Trophy
  • $150 per team member for a team celebration of your choice
  • $200 per team member for professional development
  • BONUS Centre resource blitz of resources of your choosing.

Runners-up will receive…

  • A Commemorative Plaque
  • $250 cash gift voucher to spend as you wish 
  • A mentoring session with a colleague of your choice, including the Senior Leadership Team 
  • Time to visit a Centre within your own state (or neighbouring state for SA, ACT winners) to spend time with a colleague to connect, watch and learn from them.