Vinnies NSW calls for female business and community leaders to take part in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout

2 June 2021

The St Vincent de Paul Society is putting the call out for women business and community leaders to participate in the 2021 Vinnies CEO Sleepout and raise money for homelessness and domestic and family violence services.

The focus of this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout is women’s safety. More specifically, the critical role Vinnies domestic and family violence services play in our community, and our concern older women are the fastest growing group of people in Australia at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

“We recognise women are under-represented in leadership roles and that’s an issue built into society that we need to address with greater urgency,” said Yolanda Saiz, Executive Director, Commercial Enterprises, Fundraising & Communications, Vinnies NSW.

“Strong female representation at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout in the context of our theme this year is important to Vinnies, while also acknowledging the ongoing effort required for equality.

“Vinnies operates 11 domestic violence services across NSW and the funds raised during this year’s event will continue to support this critical work.

“At Vinnies, we continue to be alarmed that the rate of homelessness amongst elderly women continues to increase, a demographic too often overlooked,” said Ms Saiz.

There are many and varied personal motivations for leaders to take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, but always at the core is a desire to bring about change.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout presents us with the raw, undiluted truth of homelessness, domestic abuse, and poverty with all of their accompanying complexity,” said Anna Willis, Managing Director, Oceania, Nokia

“It’s simultaneously confronting, galvanising, and humbling.

“I’m taking part so that I can help Vinnies make a difference and support their amazing work with those most vulnerable, in particular their work supporting those experiencing domestic abuse,” said Ms Willis.

Many of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout participants are returnees, having participated multiple times before and found the experience rewarding.

“Homelessness, domestic violence and poverty are still so prevalent in the lucky country that we call home - this sleepout is so important in raising awareness and funds,” said Jane Lu, CEO, Showpo.

“This is my 6th sleepout and I look forward to braving the cold for such an important cause,” said Ms Lu.

The authenticity and commitment of our Vinnies CEO Sleepout participants is a core reason for the success of the event, now in its 16th year.

“Seeing things through the eyes of a child reminds you to view the world in a new light. So often, the things many of us take for granted such as a roof over our heads, clothes, meals and freedom from violence, are not available to many in Australian society,” said Cara Morton; Group CEO, Cover-More.

“In my case, it was my nine-year-old daughter Sofia who gave me the inspiration to take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

“Sofia is passionate about Aussie kids who don’t have access or support to get a good education, and seeing that passion gave my involvement added relevance.

“The funds we’re raising for Vinnies will help them support those experiencing domestic violence and address the growing concern older women are increasingly at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

“Please join us on the night and help us raise funds for much needed supplies and services for people really doing it tough,” said Ms Morton.

Since 2006, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout has raised more than $60 million nationally to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“Every dollar donated to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will be used to give the most vulnerable in our society hope with crisis accommodation, food, clothing, healthcare, educational programs, assistance to find permanent housing and support to rebuild their lives,” said Brooke Simmons, Vice President – Social Justice, Vinnies NSW.

“On any given night in NSW there are more than 37,000 people experiencing homelessness – the past year has shown just how important it is for people to have access to support in times of crisis. With the funds raised from the Vinnies CEO Sleepout our services will be able to offer a hand up during those times of hardship.”

Media contact: Lachlan Jones  |  0417 446 430