Execs brave the cold, sleep outside for Covenant House

Industry leaders, including Scotiabank's Duncan Hannay and Taxi's Nancy Beattie, slept on the streets last week to raise awareness and money for homeless youth.

Industry execs usually get together en masse to make new connections at a conference or collect accolades at an award show. But last week, 74 decision-makers from marketing to financial to the entertainment industry came together for a worthy cause, stepping outside their comfort zone and braving a night outside with only a sleeping bag and cardboard box.

The “Executive Sleep Out” took place last week Thursday in Toronto and several other North American cities including New York and Vancouver. Weeks prior to the event, the participating business and community leaders rallied support from friends, family and colleagues to raise money for Covenant House to support homeless youth.

Co-chaired by Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of MLSE and Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications, the event managed to raise a total of $750,211 for the charity to support 3,000 youth on the street. This surpassed the more than $500,000 raised during the 2012 event.

This year’s Sleep Out, which was the second edition of the event in Toronto, saw the likes of marketer Duncan Hannay from Scotiabank, Taxi president Nancy Beattie and Media Experts president Penny Stevens sleeping under the night sky behind Covenant House on Gerrard St. We caught up with each of them to find out why they participated and how they mentally prepared themselves for the night.

For more information on the Covenant House Executive Sleep Out, visit the website. And to read Jeanne Beker’s first-person account of her experience that night, click here.