The Big Issue Unleashing Potential


This month’s production of Big Issue brought senior executives together, to walk alongside and witness the resilient souls marching towards a brighter future. The CEO Selling International Vendor Week is an annual event celebrating the 500+ vendors involved with the Big Issue. Big Issue Vendors are individuals who have experienced homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage, yet despite their circumstances, they’re choosing to work hard and change their lives for the better.

How Does The Big Issue Unleash Potential?

Gary Whittaker, Director of Sales and Marketing at Chandler Macleod recently engaged in his second year selling the Big Issue. This year’s CEO Selling program gave Gary the opportunity to be partnered with Mick; a true Sydney Swans fanatic, father of a lovely three-year-old boy and doting partner.

“Due to complications at birth he has learning difficulties, but that hasn’t stopped him doing the things that he loves. He approaches every day with a smile and a sense of infectious optimism.”

Despite Mick’s previous 6-hour shift selling the Big Issue and the 35-degree heat, he still leads the team in high spirits. Mick proudly discussed the tap and go Quest device provided and powered by the National Australia Bank and talked knowledgeably about the Mobile Payment App “Beem It” which is jointly owned by CBA, NAB and Westpac and will appear “everywhere within the next 12 months!”

Gary’s eagerness encouraged his colleagues to support the Big Issue team. This measured a high rate of collaboration, selling 13 copies in just 30 minutes! Mick, who divulged selling just one copy in the previous 6 hours (grossing a revenue of $4.50 in the sale) explains, “you have good days, you have slow days.”

Asking people face to face to consider buying something off you is confronting. Facing rejection more often than tasting success tests your resilience. More than that though, being ignored and even feeling invisible is not something anyone can get used to. The CEO Selling program is a rewarding, confronting, confusing, daunting, inspiring and humbling experience. However, it is a rose-coloured simulation that does not replicate the experience of being homeless.

Congratulations to Mick and the other 500+ vendors working diligently every day, on the scorching summer days and the chilly winter mornings to improve their circumstances.

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