CEOs swap boardrooms for sleeping bags


2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout launch
The 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout launch at Hilton Hotel Sydney.
Photo: Bella Zanesco Photography

Leading CEOs have bunked down with sleeping bags and beanies as they switched their attention from making decisions to making a difference at the national launch of the 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

CEOs attending the launch at Sydney's Hilton Hotel on Tuesday 12 April included Hilton Worldwide Vice President Ashley Spencer, LJ Hooker CEO L Janusz Hooker, Pfizer Australia Managing Director John Latham, Choice CEO Nick Stace and St Vincent de Paul Society National Council CEO John Falzon.

This year’s event - which will be held on Thursday 16 June in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Launceston and Darwin - will see leading CEOs sleep rough for one night to experience what it is like to be homeless, while raising awareness and money for Vinnies homeless services across Australia.

Armed only with a piece of cardboard, a sleeping bag and a mug of warm soup, Australia’s CEOs will be a world away from their usual comfortable surroundings.

Dr John Falzon told launch attendees that the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is about trying to both learn and share a little about the world of homelessness in a wealthy country.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is about changing minds and hearts,” Dr Falzon said.

“It’s about changing negative attitudes to people doing it tough; people who are usually demonised but who, I believe, should be deeply respected and admired for their tenacity and inventiveness.”

Ashley Spencer said that his first experience of sleeping out in 2010 had changed his perceptions on homelessness and believes that the community should not shy away from the confronting figures around homelessness.

"105,000 living and sleeping homeless every night: 12,000 children under 12; 22,000 aged 12 to 18; these are horrendous statistics that we really have to do something about," Mr Spencer said.

CEOs who take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout are encouraged to seek sponsorship from colleagues, friends and family.

All money raised will go towards supporting the Vinnies homeless services across Australia.

Visit 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout


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