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Vinnies CEO Sleep Out, Thursday June 19th, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

I attended the above event last night – it was my first time. I was worried. The forecast temperature was concerning. I was unsure what to expect. It did not start well – once your attendance had been marked off and you received a beanie and drink bottle, then you line up for a photo. Then you are issued with your cardboard (and not special heat insulating cardboard – just plain thin cardboard!) and advised to set up camp somewhere along the concourse of Etihad Stadium).

 

But after that things looked up. My concerns were baseless. The 148 CEOs who signed up were more than well looked after by the hordes of enthusiastic and friendly St Vincent de Paul volunteers. Delicious soup and roll for dinner, tea/coffee and fruit for dessert.

Later in the evening we listened to a set of tremendous presentations from Vinnies explaining the important work they do and how the funds raised would be spent, the personal stories of three former homeless people, and a summary of the results of some recent research into homelessness.

The tragedy and futility of homelessness, and the need to do more to counter it was abundantly clear. Okay, I understand why we are all here.

We then retired for the evening (at least some of us did – some talked well into the night – very loudly). My sleeping bag and pillow ended up being warm enough, but the bright lights (from the football pitch recovery system), noise and unrelenting hardness of the concrete meant not much sleep was had. Plenty of time for reflection.

Most were up by 5:30 (they weren’t sleeping that well anyway). Breakfast was real coffee (from an espresso machine – there was a long queue) and porridge and honey (another long queue) served by yet more volunteers. At 6:00, Vinnies thanked us all for our participation and we were on our way.

So what did I learn? I really hadn’t thought that much about homelessness before, and most of that was probably value-judgement laden. The reality is far more serious, far more extensive, and demands we do more. I’ll be back next year, with the aim of raising more. I will also be thinking about what else I can do, personally and through work.

Donations will be open for several weeks yet. If you would like to support this most deserving of charities I would appreciate it greatly.

http://www.ceosleepout.org.au/

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Glenn Cockerton

Glenn is a recognised leader in the spatial information technology industry. He joined Spatial Vision in 2000 as CEO, and became Managing Director in 2004. With more than 30 years’ experience, gained working both in Australia and internationally, Glenn has a wealth of knowledge regarding managing professional service organisations. Glenn’s career has spanned both government and corporate sectors. He has worked extensively with all levels of government.

Glenn is strategic thinker and advocate of how spatial systems, data and analysis can be utilised to improve organisational decision-making and efficiency, and address some of our most pressing environmental, economic and resource issues.

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