IT chiefs brave the elements for Vinnies CEO sleepout

Staples Technology Solutions, Lenovo, Microsoft, UXC Connext bosses support Vinnies in tech alliance
Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Redfern, Sydney.

Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Redfern, Sydney.

Australian IT bosses were among the more than 300 business leaders who braved the cold last night at the Vinnies CEO Sleeout in Sydney.

Avnet A/NZ general manager, Darren Adams, Lenovo executive director, Matt Codrington, Websense country manager, Gerry Tucker, Bulletproof chief executive, Anthony Woodward and the head of Staples Technology Solutions, Karl Sice and Thomas Duryea Consulting, chief executive, Andrew Thomas, were some of the leaders roughing it to raise money and awareness for the homeless.

The aim of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is not only to raise funds, but raise awareness of homelessness.

So far, this year's event has raised more than $1.8 million.

Adams, who has so far raised $8,404, told ARN it was amazing to think that hundreds of thousands of people in Australia had to sleep rough every night.

"We have been sponsored by people all over the world," he said. "It's quite humbling to see sponsorships, and of course, it's all going to a great cause."

Codrington, who has so far raised $18,750, said on any given night in Australia 105,000 people were homeless.

"Nearly half of these people are under the age of 25," he said. It is an unfortunate reality that most young people are homeless through no fault of their own."

Tice, who took part in last year's event for the time, has helped bring IT companies together to support Vinnies operations over the past year.

"We came away from last year's event inspired and left the night feeling we could do more, and we decided to do something about that," he said.

"We knew in the technology industry we have certainly got access to some great resources, we have got access to some great products, and I would summarise it by saying we had a lot of will, but we didn't have the plan or the organisation."

Staples, along with Lenovo, Microsoft, UXC Connext and others formed a consortium to help the operation of Vinnies.

"What we did is: we formed a council that worked with Vinnies to worked out what the most pressing priorities were within Vinnies," Sice said.

"Instead of chucking a few products on the table and saying how does that work for you we brought together resources and really bright people from all over the industry, and were able to bring the ability to get working on those projects in way ways that wasn't possible otherwise."

He said Vinnies had been constrained by resources.

"We were able to accelerate Vinnies through clever use of those resources," he said.

"By blending together organisations that work competitively, I think the creative juices flowed, because tension turned into creativity, which led to solutions."

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout began as a local community venture in Sydney’s Parramatta in 2006, the brainchild of a local business leader, Bernard Fehon, Managing Director of Tactical Solutions.