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Josh Baldacchino reflects on his Coffee Roulette experience

Josh Baldacchino is a property lawyer at Baker McKenzie in Melbourne. He shares his insights into the importance of staying connected and engaged with the profession – through PIF’s Coffee Roulette – whilst remaining firmly ensconced in the lounge room of his apartment. PIF’s Coffee Roulette connects members of the industry up each month for a face-to-face or virtual coffee.

I am a relative new-comer to PIF and its Coffee Roulette program but have thoroughly enjoyed each of my interactions to date – all of which have been via Zoom and during the COVID-19 pandemic. What a time to be networking!

Coffee Roulette has provided myself, and no doubt all participants, genuine one-on-one time with a fellow industry professional, providing the benefit of really getting to know one another on both a personal and professional level. The experience has actively demonstrated that the continuity of networking initiatives such as PIF’s Coffee Roulette are instrumental in the absence of more typical in-person industry gatherings, cocktail events and professional development courses.

In the short period of time I have participated in the program, I have enjoyed honest and engaging conversations with a range of industry professionals including Eliza Fisher, Senior Surveyor at CBRE and Rob Zeidaks, Strategic Advisor (Real Estate) at PwC. Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the brilliant Stella Rosenthal, Chief Operating Officer at Monark Property and a member of the Board of Advisors at PIF.

Stella and I had the opportunity to discuss our various, albeit different professional experiences in the property industry and the challenges and opportunities faced by our respective organisations and client-bases. We discussed the economic constraints facing residential development in Victoria, government reform to assist development and how organisations will engage with their workforces in an effort to find the right balance in returning to in-office work environments or alternative arrangements.

It is not often you are provided one-on-one time to sit down and have a conversation with the COO of a significant player in the property development finance space. The fact that PIF provides industry professionals like myself the opportunity to sit down with industry leaders such as Stella is a testament to the organisation and the individuals and teams that drive PIF. I would strongly encourage everyone in the industry to sign-up!

Josh practices in all areas of real estate including high-value sales, acquisitions and developments as well as commercial and retail leasing. In addition to providing more typical real estate advice, Josh advises leading foreign renewable energy companies on their acquisitions of land interests for large-scale solar and wind developments across Australia. He was recently shortlisted as a finalist for the 2020 Lawyers Weekly ‘Best Lawyers Under 30’ Awards.