Mark & Luke’s CEO Sleepout Experience

19.06.15 Learn Blog SumoSalad

This winter, SumoSalad has teamed up with Vinnies to help make a difference in the lives of Australia’s 100,000+ experiencing homelessness. To help further support fundraising and awareness we sent SumoSalad’s two big bosses, Mark Maloney & Luke Baylis, off to Vinnies’ annual CEO Sleepout. Mark has logged their experience to share with us.

Before: Getting Ready for the CEO Sleepout

Listen to Mark’s Before Audio Log



Just looking outside my office and it is absolutely teeming down with rain. We are meant to be starting the CEO sleep out in 3 hours. I am sure Petra, SumoSalad’s Head of Marketing, has been doing rain dances all night long.


People have been asking me all week “Are you ready for Thursday night?”, “How are you feeling about it, are you worried?”, and I have kind of thought to myself this will be easy, we have all been out for late nights before – it can’t be that hard. I’ve just had a realisation though looking at this rain, I had a real appreciation that the homeless actually have to sleep in this and that makes it really real. Actually it feels a bit lonely and scary


Okay packed and ready to go. Sleeping bag, check, pillow, check, earplugs because Luke snores, check. Beanie, check, hip flask of whiskey, check (just joking!).

During: Into the night…

Listen to Mark’s During Audio Log



Okay just arrived here with Luke, we are about to start.

Mark: “How do you feel about tonight Luke?

Luke: “I am really excited and looking forward to meeting great people that are helping the cause and with the challenging conditions we will get a real taste of what it’s like. “

Mark: What are you looking forward to the most?

Luke: “Really understanding how challenging it is and to put ourselves in the shoes of someone that is really disadvantaged and how much they need the support.

Mark: “Me too… I’m looking forward to getting closer to you and sharing a piece of cardboard with you… (Laughs)


Luke and I have just come back to our abode for the night, its absolutely saturated, cardboard wet, sleeping bag soaked. Need to find a new place to live. This is a real experience. Thanks Petra.


Okay so we’ve bunkered down after being rained out and saturated, this is a real understanding of what the homeless can go through – conditions change so dramatically and they might need to change positions numerous times. What a night to experience this. This is real.


Now that we are settling down for the night we can reflect on some of what we have seen so far; amazing education and experience process these guys [Vinnies] have put on. Real understanding through videos and talks of what the homeless go through. Some of the surprising things I learnt, even if someone loses their house and have money to rent another they are not guaranteed to get one. Sometimes they can’t find a house at all and go through 50 – 60 applications to find one. Alarming stat; women that are homeless. A lot I never really understood and I’m sure the same for many people.


And this is what it sounds like… (Rain pouring…)


Okay Luke and I are going to bed now (or try to sleep), cardboard looks very inviting. Despite the conditions being hard there is any amazing sense of comradery and friendship and I’m not sure if that is exactly how it is replicated to the homeless however I imagine, given their circumstances and challenges that everyone pulls in and helps each other out. And that’s what some of the case workers told us tonight. I imagine most of the time it’s very difficult for them however there are those okay and special moments where there is friendship/ people pulling together. Like what soldiers talk about in war.


After: Waking Up & Reflection

Listen to Mark’s Reflection Audio Log



One thing that I can guarantee for sure is that sleeping on cardboard and cold half wet concrete floor is no fun and something none of us want to do on a regular basis. The noise through the night of hearing people far away or close by, screaming from nightmares, listening to people moving around, snoring, coughing from people who are very sick. This is quiet harrowing, wow what an experience, what a night. Not feeling refreshed at all.


Just got home, I had intended to bring some sleeping tablets with me – couldn’t find them last night … Just walked into my house and have seen the sleeping tablets on the floor, fallen out of pocket. Good feeling; had a bit of a laugh to myself, a bit of a sign that I wasn’t met to have them. It was a tough, terrible & uncomfortable night. Glad the sleeping tablets didn’t make their way there and I got the real experience. Felt like I would have been cheating now.


About to take a nice warm shower after the night, feels a bit guilty and doesn’t feel very right given the homeless don’t get to do that after a rough night. Soul destroying thing on the way home – listening to the radio and they were interviewing a global rock star who was talking about these amazing parties he has in his penthouse/ money spent / party party… made me think, “What the hell??!”. There are people globally that don’t even have a house, but this guy has a $10m penthouse and spending unreasonable amounts on parties. We are all meant to have fun but that seems very unfair and a lot more good we can do with our money.


One of the best part of the nights for me was getting a better understanding of Vinnies and the volunteers. They have an amazing group of people with such kind giving hearts working for them and with them. I’d like to thank them for organising such a great event as it makes us aware of what is actually going on out there. We are all aware of homelessness and some of the issues, however until you’ve been through that you can’t really appreciate what it’s like.

Vinnies through the CEO sleep out give you that experience. I think it’s changed me dramatically, this has really taken it to a much deeper level. I now feel I can be doing more than what I was doing before.

On reflection talking to Luke, we both had an amazing wonderful time as hard as the time was, we will continue to do it for years to come. We are already planning and conspiring how we can raise more money next year and want to thank everyone for their support especially Petra and the marketing team and SumoSalad.


A couple of hours after the event now and I’m feeling gratitude for the life I have but also feeling very light and rewarded. They say giving rewards the giver as much as it rewards the receiver. Particularly when it’s your time that you give, not just necessarily money. It’s easy for us to give money but giving time is much more impactful on the receiver and the giver. I would encourage everyone to give up more of their time to events like this.

There’s still time to donate to support Mark Maloney & Luke Baylis on the CEO Sleepout’s fundraising page! Help us make a difference in the lives of people doing it tough this winter who don’t get to go home after a night like Mark & Luke experienced.


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