Holly Milne is our Director of Client Services. We asked her to name five things that changed her life – here’s what she said:
I am lucky to come from a big family where we all very close and have a shared love of eating, drinking and talking over each other at an excessive volume. My parents, brothers, aunties and uncles and numerous cousins have all played a role in my life offering advice (solicited or otherwise), guidance and an amazing support network. Family has always been a cornerstone of my life and since marrying my husband and having our two sons it is more important than ever as I build my own.
2. Being a working mum
Obviously having children is transformative and has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being a working mum, juggling childcare, diaries, priorities and a healthy dose of guilt has been another facet that I was completely unprepared for. I am lucky to be married to an incredible man who is a true partner in everything I do and an equal in the domestic juggle. One of the other obstacles which has affected many other working mums I know is lack of flexible working. I am a big fan of the Mother Pukka #flexappeal campaign and I know that the ability to work flexibly has saved my sanity on numerous occasions. Although I may need to juggle my hours or location I’m still giving it my all, and I think more employers are waking up to this which can only be a good thing.
3. Working with entrepreneurs
I am grateful to have worked in some fast growth SMEs, alongside some fantastic entrepreneurs. Working in small companies has given me exposure to areas of business I didn’t even know I was interested in, forced me out of my comfort zone and been the best learning experience I could have asked for. I am a wholehearted believer in the Branson mantra “If you don’t know how to do something, say yes and learn how to do it later”. Unless you are a surgeon.
Nothing lifts my mood like music, and I can definitely pick out different eras and experiences of my life by the soundtrack that accompanies them. I love to see live music and while I don’t get to go to as many festivals as I used to, I still try to get to as many gigs as I can. We always have music playing in our home and I love dancing around the kitchen with my sons. I’m trying to give them a musical education that doesn’t just involve Baby Shark and the soundtrack to Moana.
5. Having cancer
When I was four years old I was diagnosed with a Wilms tumour. I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy and spent my fifth birthday in hospital recovering from having my left kidney removed. I have reflected a lot on this period of my life, more so since becoming a parent and realising what superhumans my own mum and dad were in the way they coped with it (my dad shaving his head so we could give each other ‘shiners’ and my mum sewing decorations on an array of hats so I didn’t have to wear a 1980s wig resembling the hair of Margaret Thatcher).
On a personal level, I think my illness has shaped who I am in a really positive way. I am someone who is incredibly grateful – I don’t consciously practice it or write down reasons why, I just feel it, it’s part of who I am and that is pretty amazing. I can talk to anyone, which I always assume comes from meeting an array of doctors, nurses, consultants etc, at such a young age. I make friends easily and I really enjoy meeting new people. I am also pretty unflappable – I keep a level head, I’m not easily riled, I don’t sweat the small stuff and I’m generally confident I can find a solution to anything thrown at me. This has helped me immeasurably personally and professionally. Who knows, maybe I would have had these traits regardless, however I like to think that adversity can leave us with something positive and that has certainly been my experience. On a final note, I will never hear a bad word against the NHS. Ever. 27 years after my illness, the Consultant who treated me came to see me on the maternity ward to celebrate the fact that my treatment hadn’t impacted my fertility. That man and everyone who works with him is a full on, cape-wearing superhero. End of discussion.