Consulting leaders brave cold for Vinnies CEO Sleepout

20 June 2023 3 min. read
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An estimated 120,000 Australians are currently experiencing homelessness, with access to basic services often a matter of survival. Vinnies annual CEO Sleepout helps to ensure ongoing support.

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual CEO Sleepout events are set to take place across Australia with representatives from some of the country’s top consultancies taking part – including the heads of Synergy Group, Infosys, Wipro, and Right Lane Consulting.

Together, the consultancies will hope to help best the $9.6 million in funds raised last year toward vital support services and breaking the cycle of homelessness, by spending one night out braving the cold.

Consulting leaders brave cold for Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Among the top ten local fundraising teams to date is Synergy Group, which is participating in the consultancy’s home-base of Canberra and is half way towards its $44,000 target. Led by executive chairman Robert Kennedy, the Synergy team features more than ten senior leaders, including Satish Kumar, who was recently installed as CFO. Executive director Mark Pattrick will also sleep out, along with partners Sally Dorsett and Mandy Hill among others.

Meanwhile, the A/NZ and APAC regional heads of two of world’s largest technology consultancies – Wipro and Infosys – will face the frigid temperatures in Sydney, which are forecast to drop down to as low as 6 degrees. Christopher Smith, who was appointed to the top job at Wipro toward the end of last year, will be joined by recently recruited consulting head Bernadette Harkin, along with half a dozen senior colleagues who have so far raised over $20,000.

Last month appointed to head up the firm’s Asia Pacific business after overseeing the growth of its Australian practice over the past eight years, Infosys executive vice president Andrew Groth will also take part in the Sydney sleepout, to be held at the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle. Groth has participated in the event for the past four consecutive years, personally raising in excess of $20,000 to support the estimated 120,000 Australians experiencing homelessness.

Another participant in Sydney is former Marsh Australia and Pacific CEO Scott Leney, who is now the Asia Pacific head of risk management and Australia country corporate officer for Marsh McLennan (which includes Mercer and management consultancy Oliver Wyman). Leney is among the top five fundraisers in New South Wales, having brought in almost $50,000 in donations this year and a remarkable $360,000-plus over his past decade of participation.

Others from the consulting realm taking part across the country include Protiviti managing director Ghislaine Entwisle in Melbourne, Chiara Lawrylast year appointed CEO of Melbourne-based Right Lane Consulting, BDO’s Sydney managing partner Grant Saxon, and Adelaide-based William Buck business advisory directors Michael Fairlie and Martin Hill. A fifteen-strong team from KPMG’s Queensland offices will also be sleeping out on the Gold Coast.

“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” says RSM national restructuring & recovery head Frank Lo Pilato of joining the Canberra event. “For most of us, homelessness and its brutal hardships remain an uncomfortable concept which can be easily forgotten. I will never truly understand the struggle faced as a daily reality, but participating previously gave me a small insight into just how difficult a life without a stable home can be.”