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Joe Roberts, ‘The Skid Row CEO,’ coming to Courtenay for speaking engagement

In addition to being a successful businessman, Joe Roberts is also the executive director and co-founder of The Push for Change Foundation, a charity advocating for youth homelessness prevention. Roberts walked 9,064 kilometres across Canada from May 1, 2016 until Sept. 29, 2017, pushing a shopping cart to raise money and awareness about youth homelessness. Photo supplied

Courage takes centre stage as local heroes are invited to an inspiring and gratitude-filled event with ‘The Skid Row CEO,’ Joe Roberts.

Firefighters, paramedics, police officers, security guards and healthcare workers, as well as the general public, are welcome to attend an evening of appreciation on Thursday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at 505 - 6th Street.

Titled “Honouring Our Community Champions: An Evening of Inspiration and Gratitude,” it will feature a talk by Roberts, who has transformed adversity into advocacy by sharing his remarkable journey from homelessness to CEO.

Dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary efforts of frontline workers during challenging times, the presentation will also encourage engaging conversations about pressing societal issues, including the opioid crisis, homelessness and mental health.

“Over the last 25 years in business and leadership, I found that one of the best ways to address some of the big social issues in our communities is dialogue and engagement,” says Roberts. “And a lot of it has to do with my personal story.

“Not too long ago, I was homeless. I was in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver – I pushed a shopping cart, I struggled with my mental health, I struggled with opioid addiction, I lived under a bridge. But thanks to first responders, thanks to frontline-service providers, I got a second chance, and I went back to school.”

Less than 12 years later, Roberts had become a celebrated CEO. In 2017, he finished an incredible 9,064-kilometre charity walk called The Push for Change, raising funds and awareness for homelessness.

Today, he helps companies and individuals redefine impossible by sharing his story, one that embodies the strength of the human spirit. He touches on how to build resiliency, why failure is normal, and how to convert failure into assets by reframing limiting mindsets to see possibilities.

The event is sponsored by many local businesspeople, including: Colby Wilson, co-owner of Butcher Block; Shawn Vincent, CEO of Simba Investments; and Robert Mulrooney, senior advisor at Mindset Wealth.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Our first responders embody this courage every day, facing challenges with resilience and dedication,” notes Wilson. “We stand with them in our gratitude for their unwavering commitment to serving the Comox Valley.”

Shawn Vincent echoes this sentiment. “I’m thrilled to be part of the team bringing Joe Roberts back to Courtenay to share his experience and life story. I believe that we can do so many wonderful things for our community to raise awareness about the challenges many face here. Frontline workers are true heroes in our community, integral in helping neighbors struggling with addiction and homelessness. This event is a small token of our appreciation for all they do.”

“I am looking forward to an evening full of community appreciation,” says Mulrooney. “His message is empowering and applicable to anyone navigating significant change, whether as an individual, first-responder, business owner, community leader or parent.”

This marks Roberts’ second visit to the Comox Valley. In fall 2021, he gave an evening presentation and spoke during the day with school groups at Highland and Isfeld about the importance of potential.

That visit inspired the Isfeld Interact Club to submit an entry for The Push For Change Foundation’s “Promise Project.” In June 2022, Isfeld Interact’s ‘Shoebox Campaign’ – assembling and distributing shoeboxes filled with donated toiletries, food items and warm accessories to youth in need – was chosen as the foundation’s grand prize winner of a $5,000 grant toward the club’s chosen charity, The Foundry, exemplifying the profound impact of community connection and the ripple effect it generates.

No matter the audience, Roberts’ message is consistently inspiring, moving and honest. He stresses, “Whether you’re setting big goals or discussing how to address painful social challenges every community is facing, human connection and sharing stories are vital to deepening our understanding.”

To experience firsthand the power of human connection and how it fosters engagement, reserve your spot at this special presentation. Donations to The Push for Change and Stepping Stones Recovery House for Women will be gratefully accepted at the door.

To secure your attendance, visit For any inquiries regarding registration, please contact Vaish at Mindset Wealth by phoning 250-338-5222 or emailing