Opinion

Dynamic Duos: Einsteinz Communication’s Pru Quinlan and Sue Ralston

In this week's Dynamic Duos, Einsteinz Communication's founder and managing director Pru Quinlan and senior communications director Sue Ralston celebrate the agency's 21st birthday by sharing their incredible origin story, from meeting as prospective family members in 2006, to become fast friends and later colleagues.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two members of the same organisation with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Pru Quinlan:

Heading off to the UK with my kids for a holiday in 2006, I was looking forward to meeting the woman that had won my brother’s heart. Sue lived up to all my expectations – a glamourous, go-getter who was squeezing the most out of every day.  We had a lot in common both from a work perspective and life in general, so we clicked from the first meeting.

Fast forward a year and she was settled in Australia. Often when we caught up for a family gathering, I’d pose a rhetorical question about whether she’d be a good fit for Einsteinz.  I knew the right answer was “absolutely”, but she wasn’t sure. I settled in and waited patiently until she came to her senses and reached the same conclusion as me.

I was absolutely delighted when she did her first piece of freelance work with us. The circumstances of her saying yes weren’t ideal – but I was impressed by how she handled herself. Naturally she nailed the brief.  The client loved her work. They still do.

From that first project we have successfully navigated a pathway of friendship through personal and work life, with both of us intuitively knowing when to shift modes.

Sue lives her life at high speed. She’s full of great ideas and is always up for a laugh or a glass of wine. While I tend to be quite measured and (mostly) calm with clients, I think Sue’s vivacious social side is her winning edge. It’s like a magic cloak that allows her to fenagle her way into client’s heart and minds. Once she’s there, she’s the master of adding value to every client relationship, thinking up with fresh and creative ways to turn their business issues into opportunities. She’s also a gun writer – her deep literary background means she’s able to tell wonderful stories.

There’s no doubt that we complement each other in the way we think and the work we do. I’m confident that our clients would agree. And I know that the rest of the team loves the energy that she brings. She can however talk underwater, which can be distracting when I’m on a tight deadline.

I feel very lucky that our paths crossed, and that I’ve been proven correct in thinking she’d be a great fit for Einsteinz. We’re now working on the ‘what’s next for Einsteinz’ plan to mark our 21 years of business and I’m looking forward to seeing what her creative mind turns out.

Sue Ralston: 

I met Pru in London in 2006 when she was visiting her brother and his new fiancé. I was that fiancé.

We hit it off immediately, helped by the fact we were in similar orbits. At the time I led comms for Discovery Networks Europe, and she was 7 years into Einsteinz. My first impression was that she was open, smart, interesting, and fun. As it turns out, entirely accurate.

I moved to Australia in 2007 and we vaguely talked about working together as my media experience (I’d also headed up comms for Yahoo! Europe) was a good fit. But I was wary about mixing family and business, expecting a baby and planning to take a few years out after a decade of corporate life.

But as the saying goes ‘man plans, God laughs’ and not long after I became a single parent with an 18-month-old and a bloody big mortgage. Thankfully, my incredible international Yahoo! network kicked in and I began to do some freelance work.  Around this time Pru approached me to help on a small regulatory project for IAB. I was still hesitant to blur the line of our relationship but took the gig.

To this day I’m not sure if the offer was driven by benevolence (I was in a tight spot) or professional need. I’ve never asked, although I expect a little of both. Which is representative of who Pru is in business – a great balance between hard-headed business acumen and relationship driven empathy. Fast forward a decade and it’s evolved into a full-time role. I’m proud of the way we’ve managed to separate the “church and state” of our shared (and at times complex) family dynamic.

Pru is a fantastic PR operator but also a very shrewd businessperson. Universally respected within our industry, she’s much loved but at the same time takes no prisoners. She’s diplomatic but if someone crosses a line, she isn’t afraid to speak out and speak up. She has strength of character and guts.

Pru is brilliant at seeing the bigger picture and incredibly level-headed during stressful work and life moments. I’m much more an ‘emotion in, emotion out’ kind of person which has no doubt driven her crazy at times, but I’ve learned a few tricks from her about sitting in the moment for a bit longer before reacting. She’s certainly the more analytical out of the two of us, whilst I’m the more creative which makes us a pretty great tag team.

I feel lucky to have her as an outlaw, a boss, and a good friend.

Pru on Sue:

One word: Vibrant

Most memorable moment: About five years ago we spent a week in the US hosting a jam-packed media familiarisation trip for one of our big tech clients. It was exhausting but fun – and with a (now) very funny ending at Sydney Airport on the way home that was so very Sue.  You’ll have to buy us a drink to find out more about it.

Most annoying/endearing habit:  Sue’s ability to fry technology is legendary.  Whether it’s her laptop, phone, the cloud storage, google docs or our timesheet system, there’s often something causing her grief.  It’s ironic given all our clients are tech focused.

Sue on Pru: 

One word: Accomplished

Most memorable moment: Getting to know her during a long weekend in a farmhouse in Lucca, Italy in 2006. We were planning a move to Australia and felt excited that my future sister-in-law might turn out to also be a great friend. That part, I definitely got right!

Most annoying habit: She has a fairly complex hot chocolate order for Baristas to make which involves half water, half soy milk and inevitably results in disappointment (just drink coffee already)

If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic duos, please email kwelch@mumbrella.com.au.

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