Well, we’ve been to the Palace and met the Queen … we’ve been to 10 Downing Street and met the Prime Minister … and now, to complete our hat-trick of honours, we’ve been to the Mansion House and met the Lord Mayor of London!

This latest invitation is particularly special for Guildhawk, as the company has grown up and flourished right here in the Square Mile of the City of London. This historic quarter, whose rights and privileges date back to the Magna Carta, is home to venerable financial institutions and cutting-edge corporates, atmospheric ancient churches and gleaming modernist skyscrapers, elegant livery halls and cosy inns. Its maze of medieval alleyways has changed little since Dick Whittington had his famous vision of streets paved with gold, while those born within the sound of Bow Bells still consider themselves the only genuine Cockney Londoners.

Against such an illustrious heritage, Guildhawk’s CEO Jurga could have been understandably daunted at the prospect of growing a business in challenging times. But her drive and tenacity found their perfect home in this dynamic setting and from its modest beginnings in 2001, the company has gone from strength to strength – with an ever-expanding portfolio and other major offices opening in Sheffield and Lithuania, consolidating its international presence.

The Guildhawk Team being presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterpise: International Trade by Peter Estlin, the Lord Mayor of London, at Mansion House

An invitation to join a think-tank for business leaders at 10 Downing Street in September, hot on the heels of receiving the Queen’s Award for International Trade at Buckingham Palace in June, have been especially memorable highlights of 2019 – not only for their vindication of our hard work, but also for the chance to peep behind the scenes of two of the most famous addresses in Britain. So we were thrilled to learn that because our home base is in the City, we were also to enjoy the privilege of visiting the Mansion House – a rare second chance to celebrate our much-valued Queen’s Award as well as to highlight the Square Mile’s continuing importance to global trade and partnerships.

On the morning of Monday 28 October, a group of us set off on the short walk from our head office in King Street to the Mansion House for a reception hosted by the current Lord Mayor. The Rt. Hon. Peter Estlin is the 691st incumbent of this historic post, a powerful role second only to the Queen within the jurisdiction of the City. The impressive colonnaded façade of the Mansion House overlooks the mighty Bank of England and the bustling Royal Exchange, reminding us that the main duty of the Mayor and Corporation is to support and promote the businesses and residents of the City.

Jurga Zilinskiene, CEO & Founder of Guildhawk, with Paul Double, Remembrancer of the City of London

Along with representatives from the Guildhawk team, Jurga was delighted to have the chance to bring with her some of the company’s good friends and supporters as her guests. After a warm welcome from the Mayor, followed by the presentation of the award and a chance to admire the sumptuous furnishings and artworks of the North Drawing Room over drinks, the party headed over to the Guildhall for a further photo-opportunity with Paul Double, the Remembrancer – the City’s Ceremonial Officer.

In today’s fast-moving world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of legacy and heritage. But as we strolled back to the office to round off the formalities with a celebratory glass of bubbly with the whole team, each of us felt inspired by our close encounter with history. As Jurga put it with her customary enthusiasm: “What a privilege it is to experience at first hand these ancient customs that have unified and strengthened the City’s diverse populations through the centuries. It’s reassuring to know that these great institutions continue to thrive in this fascinating corner of London, which I’m proud to call Guildhawk’s home. This honour from the Queen, Lord Mayor and Remembrancer is a wonderful recognition of all the hard work our people do every day to facilitate international trade.”

“This honour from the Queen, Lord Mayor and Remembrancer is a wonderful recognition of all the hard work our people do every day to facilitate international trade.”

Guildhawk CEO & Founder Jurga Zilinskiene

All Photographs courtesy of Neil Wood.