The 50 Coffee Challenge

In ancient times, and more particularly in a time before COVID-19 (a.k.a last year), I attended a fantastic networking breakfast event, at which one of the guest speakers shared some of her experiences from her business development journey.  Thank you Kate Dillion.

She spoke about the early part of her career and her determination to meet as many people as she could, which in turn opened a myriad of doors and opportunities for her. The focus of the morning was to encourage each of the attendees to get out there and meet a variety of people, invite them out for a coffee and a 15-minute chat. The aim was to connect with 50 people in a set period – and so, the ‘50 Coffee Challenge’ was born.

Running on adrenaline, I set myself the task of the ’50 Coffee Challenge’ and set in motion a plan to connect with 50 experts in their respective fields, to expand my network and develop professional relationships to support my clients and my ongoing growth, as a family law expert.

Within weeks, I had reconnected with old friends, met new professionals, and was captivated by each of their stories, whilst absorbing any bit of advice that I could. We discussed referral opportunities, how we could assist each other in developing our respective practises and simply connected.

As the weeks went by, I was arranging at least two catchups with different professionals each week and I was on track to reach my goal within no time. From psychologists to financial advisors, real estate agents to mediators. The coffee was flowing and the conversations were enlightening. I was beginning to build on these professional relationships and developing my network, through regular catch-ups and social networking events. I had just hit the 30 mark, then came (insert dramatic pause) a global pandemic – how on Earth was I going to achieve my target in a world of social distancing?

The best way to describe how I felt at that time is represented by that emoji of a hand shown pressing against the head of a person; that’s right, the ‘facepalm’ emoji. Deflated and in lockdown, I decided that I would give up on my 50 Coffee Challenge, or at the very least place it on hold. Then, during a morning Zoom team meeting, it hit me – video technology. I could continue my challenge by reconnecting with my network group through various communication platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and WhatsApp.

Follow my journey in continuing the 50 Coffee Challenge through a newfound virtual world, 37 coffees and counting…

By Maria Pejoski-Aleksovski, Senior Associate, Melbourne Office

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