M: Hey Prue. Seems like you have been working with me for years, and you have, sort of. When did you start officially with me as a Max Hardy Consulting employee?
P: After years of working with Max on projects here and there, I got to finally be accepted as a full employee of Max Hardy Consulting on the 1st of May 2021.
M: As much as I reckon you are brilliant, as others do, I know your main aim is to be a highly successful comedian (and I guess you are now you’ve won the National Raw Comedy Comp). Must be hard establishing yourself given all the lockdowns….. (duh). Tell me, how has your comedy career helped you in facilitating collaborative efforts of our clients?
P: Luckily, community engagement and comedy aren’t too different – it’s gutting when you fail to get a laugh at either event! The skills I’ve learned doing improv and stand up comedy have probably been the most useful skills for working in community engagement and facilitation. Some skills like being able to speak in front of crowds, thinking on your feet and appropriately dressing down any hecklers have an obvious application to community engagement as well as stand up.
Overall, though, the most useful skill from stand up has been developing the ability to read a room and adjust what you are doing while facilitating. Though I have to admit this is much harder when facilitating than it is for stand up – the feedback isn’t quite so obvious.
M: Prue, apart from being very funny, you are also a smart cookie. In fact, you’ve just recently been awarded a PhD in Civil Engineering. Can you tell us about that?
Yes! After 4 and a half years I was finally awarded my PhD this year and hold that sweet title of Dr Blake. My thesis was focused on developing a new model to measure public transport ridership, that took into account the routine changes in ridership on a month to month basis rather than relying on measures of net growth/decline. This was definitely a PhD in persistence and a good opportunity for me to flex my quantitative research skills which are not my strong suit (would prefer qualitative research any day!). That being said it was great to learn some new skills and it has definitely helped me be clear with my writing and to think broadly and critically when it comes to research.
M: You’ve also worked at other consulting firms, and within local government. What kind of working environment best works for you? (I’m asking for a friend)
P: Though both environments have their pros and cons, I have primarily worked in consulting and generally find that to be more suited to my personality. I enjoy working quickly and having the flexibility to quickly adapt to changing conditions. However, it’s definitely been useful knowing the internal systems within local government to help work with them effectively as a client.
M: When you are ready to move on as a full-time comedian (just a matter of time) what would you like your legacy to be, in terms of your work at MHC?
P: I’m not sure about a ‘legacy’ but I would love to leave behind projects that have been successful in delivering meaningful community engagement that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Community engagement processes are often accompanied by a lot of anxiety that can be alleviated through good communication, clear processes and not being scared to have a laugh.
M: How do you think you can best help MHC (no longer asking for a friend)?
P: Oh there are many ways with my many skills! I think definitely keeping things organized and on track when we have lots of concurrent projects. Being able to jump in and help facilitate when needed or play a tech role when workshops are suddenly moved online due to COVID-19 restrictions. And when that isn’t keeping me busy – using my marketing skills from comedy to help update the Max Hardy Consulting website and spread the word about Authentic Co-Design courses.
M: Great to have you onboard Prue. I am grateful for whatever time you have with me as an employee (but you seem to be more of a partner in what we are doing). What term should I use to describe your role here?
P: Very excited to be here Max! You have ended on a tricky question – happy for you to call my role whatever you like as long as you keep the fun jobs and sweet payments coming in.
To find out what Prue is up to comedy-wise and to book her go to prueblakedoescomedy.com