Hundreds of CEOs slept outdoors in chilly temperatures on June 16 to raise money for the homeless.
Dataweave, managing director, Norman Weaver, was one of 250 executives, who put on some extra layers and rolled out the sleeping bags.
Weaver, who runs the Australian IT consultancy firm, which specialises in enterprise applications and Oracle solutions, took part in the Vinnie's CEO Sleepout at Luna Park in Sydney, raising $3000.
The charity fundraiser is held once a year, in various locations across the country. More than $3.7 million has been collected.
"This year was my first CEO sleepout, and it really gives a horrifying glimpse into the hardships faced by homeless people in winter,” Weaver said. “Mental illness and family break-ups are significant contributors to homelessness. We can all help prevent these issues becoming tragedies by supporting our staff and our friends through crises and depression.
"Thanks to the support of my colleagues, clients, and friends, Dataweave was able to raise $3000 to help Vinnies fund their homeless services."
Speaking about the experience with ARN, Weaver said he wanted to get involved because he has first-hand experience, through family and friends, with the issue of mental illness and homelessness.
Weaver said he was impressed with the night’s proceedings, which included being issued a piece of cardboard to “stake a place,” feeding time which included some soup and a bread roll; along with a host of presentations by organisers and some “harrowing and uplifting stories” from homeless people, followed by some workshop sessions with other CEOs about ‘What can businesses do to make a difference?’
“It was very lucky the weather was good, considering all the cold and rain we’ve had. Last night was kind to us. It got a little bit cool, but I was well prepared with my Australian army, Afghanistan-issued sleeping bag” he said.
Other members of the IT community put on their warmest attire to rough it in the great outdoors.
Juniper Networks ANZ managing director, Mark Iles, was also braving the elements, telling ARN his consciousness was raised during the night’s proceedings about the issue of loneliness, and how homelessness and isolation go hand-in-hand.
“Loneliness is a big issue that we don’t often think about. Even though lots of people pass them on the street, nobody talks to them. This loneliness leads to mental health issues,” he said.
Iles, who was also impressed with the proceedings of the night and the fact that 1001 CEOs took part nationally, said there was a bit of skill involved in picking your spot for the night.
“You had to carefully check the direction of the wind blowing and check for rain. It is surprising how cold it can get with just a little wind,” said Iles, who got some morale support from his daughter’s ‘Lenny the Lion’ cuddly toy.
“It was a very inspiring event,” Iles said. “If I can use my name and title to help charity, just for one uncomfortable night, it’s well worth it. I will do it again next year.”
Other ‘sleepout’ participants from the IT community include: Integ CEO Ian Poole, who raised $4135; Fuji Xerox Managing director, Nick Kugenthiran, who raised $3690; Telstra executive, Gerd Schenkel, who raised $3275; Acronis Pacific ANZ general manager, Karl Sice, who raised $2975; and UltraServe Managing Hosting CEO, Samuel Yeats, who raised $1795.
Send us an email and let ARN know if you also participated in last night's sleep out.