Carbon’s CEO tells us what he learned during Cardiff’s ‘CEO SleepoutUK’.
Michael Burne lay in drizzle for a night, alongside 100 other sleeping-bag clad CEOs. The event hoped to draw attention to homelessness and its causes. With hot tea served during the night, and sheltered by the castle walls, it was not anything like actually sleeping rough.
Even so, Michael faced a chilling realisation: homelessness could happen to anybody.
It’s not often you hear a successful CEO admitting to feeling vulnerable. Especially in the world of law – a profession that’s all about confidently managing risk. But in the 4am dismal cold, Michael learned something about himself. Even this middle-class version of homelessness made him feel more isolated and exposed than he could possibly have predicted.
‘Think about facing this night after night and not to know you are going home to a hot shower and breakfast’ says Michael.
‘We don’t do pity PR. I’m definitely not using this experience to say, look at me, look what a great person I am. But I realised that we are all just a few unlucky steps away from being homeless. I have not walked mindlessly past any occupied doorways since then. I just wanted to share this lesson.’
The money raised is going to help individuals to access a more secure and positive future, and to support people who are homeless or faced with severe hardship.