Jurga Zilinskiene, CEO of Guildhawk with her MBE

Thursday, the 19th of December 2019 is a date I will not soon forget. Because yesterday, Thursday, the 19th of December 2019, is the date I, Jurga Zilinskiene, became Jurga Zilinskiene, MBE.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, MBE refers to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and is an honour awarded by the Queen to recognise contributions to arts and science, charity, welfare and public services.

Yesterday, I was presented with an MBE for Services to International Trade, the latter of which has been rather a theme of the last year (not to mention the 19 years that preceded that). Ever since the founding of my company in 2001, promoting and pushing forward international trade has been my primary focus. This is why I have organised trade missions, both from and to the UK; it’s why Guildhawk exists; and, most recently, why I have joined the ranks of the Be the Business programme.

Given this history, it is difficult to put into words how proud and pleased I am to receive this particular honour. Not to mention the fact that it allows me to follow in the footsteps of the incomparable Montague Burton, who was knighted in 1931 for Services to Industrial Relations. I have previously written about Burton as a model of the type of business person I want to be, so receiving the MBE seems a perfect end to an incredible year, and our first six months under the Guildhawk name; a reinforcement that I – we – are on the right path entirely.

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It’s testament to just how incredible 2019 has been that yesterday was not the first time I’ve been to Buckingham Palace this year! Back in July, I was delighted to receive a Queen’s Award for International Trade on behalf of the Guildhawk team. The honour this second time was bestowed by the Duke of Cambridge, who was keen to discuss the promotion of international trade, as well as my history of support for the Tusk Trust, of which he is a patron. And let me tell you, the Palace, its environs and the welcome we were given were no less humbling the second time around.

“This combination of awards shows just how important international trade is for the UK now and going forward. I promise Guildhawk and I will continue to use our expertise to encourage international growth and expansion for UK business, in 2020 and beyond.”

Jurga Zilinskiene, CEO & Founder of Guildhawk affixes her MBE

All in all, 2019 has been quite the year, with trips to Downing Street and Mansion House, as well as the Palace! The fact that the Guildhawk team was recognised for our work in boosting international trade was fantastic; to have also been honoured for my own work in this area is exciting beyond belief! This combination of awards shows just how important international trade is for the UK now and going forward. I promise Guildhawk and I will continue to use our expertise to encourage international growth and expansion for UK business, in 2020 and beyond.


All photos by Rita Metlovaite, © Guildhawk