From homelessness to CEO: a profile of a CEO Sleepout participant
A formerly homeless man who became CEO is now giving back to help the homeless.
Gary Poole, who owns an award-winning accommodation, The Escarpment Retreat and Day Spa on Mt Tamborine in Queensland's Gold Coast hinterland, is one of the many CEOs participating in St Vincent de Paul's CEO Sleepout in Brisbane on the 20th June.
The CEO Sleepout campaign was officially launched in early April and it aims to combat homelessness by asking CEOs across Australia to sleep rough and raise money for the cause.
Gary might be one of the few, if not the only CEO there who knows firsthand about homelessness: he was homeless from the age of 14 years old. Gary, who won last year’s Business Person of the Year Award for the Scenic Rim region, is so keen to help Vinnies that he has pledged part of his business proceeds to support the cause.
“I know times are tough, especially for the accommodation industry,” he says, “but I am doing all I can to support St Vincent de Paul’s efforts.”
Gary is creating what he terms ‘Heart Packages’ - a series of packages that would set aside donations to the cause as well as sharing his story to encourage people to donate.
This is an excerpt of his story, which is available in full on The Escarpment Retreat’s website:
“ I left home and never returned. I lived in sheds and slept on dirt floors with a cordial bottle full of hot water tucked in my blanket. Despite enduring freezing Victorian winters this way, I was happy to be free of the abuse. Yet I was incredibly scared – I was still a child after all, had no social skills, life skills or money.”
Gary hopes that sharing his story might move people to donate to Vinnies.
“I am sharing my story with you to tell you that homelessness can be overcome – and those horrible conditions can lay the foundation for a better life.”
Queensland's 20,000 homeless is the third highest homeless population in the country. Last year’s event raised $800,000 and was attended by more than 150 business and government leaders.
Posted By mick on 16th May 2013
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