In this interview with Toni Kent, a professional comedian, speaker and writer, you’ll hear what she’s been working on personally and professional to help keep those moments of merriment coming.
Finding moments of joy during stressful, unprecedented times
The ‘new normal’ we’re experiencing in 2020 has many of us reeling. The atmosphere has seemed both tense and somber, with many people experiencing fatigue, which can be hard to shake. It’s times like these that seeking out moments of enjoyment, while challenging, is critical to feeling some sense of normalcy. Laughter is one thing that undeniably helps to balance out the feeling of uncertainty and stress.
Toni Kent is someone who understands the value and healing powers of laughter is. Kent is a professional stand-up, speaker and writer from the UK who has been doing her best to navigate this challenging period both personally and professionally. For Kent, managing the new normal isn’t much of a change due to her history of working from home. “The added complication of having our children home has been very challenging, we are definitely more the Simpsons than the Waltons!” Kent is currently at home with two kids (11 and 14-years old), two dogs and her husband. While the family bonding is all well-and-good, she still thinks lockdown has taught them all the value of personal space.
Her biggest recommendation for staying sane during lockdown is having your own space (preferably with a locked door). She also tries to focus on appreciating the small victories and staying clear of negative vibes from social media, and life in general. To help spread the positive vibes, Kent launched “Stay at Home Laughter,” which are comedy performances she offers to teams via video conferencing services to add some much-needed comic relief in the corporate world.
Kent has worked in the business world her whole life, primarily within the channel and in the technology industry. She feels that working in the channel particularly, with partners “of all shapes and sizes,” was where she learned several fundamental skills that stuck with her to this day. These skills include learning the importance of being an advocate for others, seeking help or advice when needed (even from senior staff) and knowing when to move in your career (sideways or even elsewhere).
Words of Wisdom
Kent’s words of wisdom for someone who might be interested in pursuing a similar career in writing or stand-up is to immerse yourself in it. Kent put it plainly as, “the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.” Secondly, she recommends learning from those before you and around you. And last, but certainly not least, be persistent, but also be yourself.
Kent considers her life as “more of a blend than balance” and seems to have found the perfect niche for herself within the technology community. Thanks to her appreciation and knowledge of English and psychology, she has a natural curiosity that enables her to entertain the masses and consistently create content. On the other hand, her biggest challenges are like most: staying organized, focused and working past the changes the pandemic has created.
Honesty and Consideration
“Quarantine for me has been hard,” says Kent, “We’ve had a sudden bereavement and we’ve seen friends of ours lose their livelihoods.” She feels that consideration, being honest, and actively listening have helped her maintain equilibrium given the current circumstances. “Remembering we’re all impacted in some way and telling the kids I love them as often as possible have all been crucial to keeping my sanity intact.”
It’s been a tough 2020 for most and seeking the lighter moments can feel extremely difficult. However, one thing has remained true: laughter is still a great medicine. And thanks to people like Toni Kent, and other artists and performers, we can seek out and find these chunks of joy by “creating as much laughter as possible.”
Toni Kent will be a host at our Women of the Channel Europe event this November.