This is Allens

Kylie Wilkie

Kylie is a Senior Associate in our Projects team with a focus on energy and regulation.

I came to Allens after an incredibly difficult period in my life and several years away from my career. In many ways, joining Allens marked the beginning of a new chapter for me.

Becoming pregnant with my daughter Dylan involved a long and exhausting IVF journey. When I was 13 weeks pregnant – overjoyed to have made it through that anxious first trimester – my husband Dave went for a precautionary colonoscopy, with no real cause for concern. He was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. He was 34.

Being pregnant made facing this devastating news easier than it may otherwise have been. It gave us both something to look forward to. Dylan was born in November and was a joyful distraction in an otherwise challenging time.

As Dave became sicker, I became more focused on what I could do to deal with what was coming down the line. What could I do for Dave, Dylan and myself, so that when Dave died, I could feel comfortable that I had done everything I could for all involved.

I knew Dylan would never really know her dad, so I started thinking about how we could make memories for her. I asked Dave questions about all his favourite things – not just his favourite movie or meal, but if he liked his pillow soft or hard, his shower hot or lukewarm, did he most enjoy morning or evening, what was his favourite sandwich topping…all those little things you come to know about the people you love, but that fade over time. It was our way of facilitating a connection for Dylan with her dad. A way to let her know in time how alike or different they are. Dave also left Dylan with a book for every Christmas, and a gift for every birthday until she's 30 – each with a handwritten card.

After Dave's death I made the choice to move forward with no regrets, embracing the opportunity to live a life with Dylan that Dave would have given anything to experience. I'm grateful that Allens saw my potential and became a part of my path forward.

You hear a lot about post-traumatic stress, but what you don’t often hear about is post-traumatic growth. I was judged by some people for coping too well after Dave died (whatever that means). But I am a better person for having known Dave and having had these experiences, and I will always be grateful for how that has equipped me for the rest of my life.

10 quick questions

  1. Tea or coffee? Peppermint tea. I went cold turkey on caffeine in 2005.
  2. What's your guilty pleasure? Good Champagne.
  3. What’s inspiring you right now? Always my kids. I am so grateful to be able to learn from them, and show them what they can achieve and who they can become.
  4. Optimist or pessimist? Eternal optimist.
  5. What film do you never get tired of watching? Ocean's Eleven.
  6. What's your secret talent? Untangling a slinky!
  7. What are you currently reading? Hilary Clinton's What Happened. Wouldn't we all love to know…
  8. What are people surprised to find out about you? I had a book published last year called Memories are forever. It's a children's picture book about the importance of memories, inspired by all the things my seven-year-old daughter can tell me about her dad who died when she was six months old.
  9. What's the best silver lining from lockdown? Walking my daughter to (or from) school every day she attended this term, which would have been totally unachievable in the 'old days' (ie. February!).
  10. What is the best holiday you have ever been on? 2015 was my year of amazing holidays! In May I went to Uganda with the Hunger Project to see their amazing work, and rounded out the trip by heading into the jungle to see the mountain gorillas. Then in July, I was one of 20 people to attend a Business Chicks x Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering on Necker Island in the Caribbean. We heard from a NASA astronaut, the founders of Dermalogica and Word Press, and a nutritional biochemist that had amazing insight into how the body works. We ended the week by dancing on a bar with Richard Branson while Estelle gave a private concert!

On my desk...

Peppermint tea I always have a hot drink, and my husband is astounded by the number of empty mugs I can accumulate on my desk in a single day.

Plants During lockdown, I made an effort to bring more greenery into the house.

Memories Photos of my kids and their drawings. I have a very unflattering photo of my then one-year-old taken by her daycare on which they have written she is strong, independent and intelligent.

Blue light glasses A placebo? Perhaps. But having stared at a screen much more than normal during COVID-times I thought they were worth a try!

pacer pencils I like to work on paper with a lead pencil.

Jewellery I always take my jewellery off when I work, and live in fear I will forget where I left it.