There’s a curious breed of human that always seem to be busy doing something unusual. You know them; they’re happy people and super productive in their job. Then after a day at work, they go out and use their free time to try to make society better through voluntary, unpaid work. And, they still find time to go to the gym and have a social life. Maybe you are one. Have you ever wondered what drives a person like this?  

Researchers have studied people who engage in charitable activity and found that altruistic behaviour may be inherited from our ancestors. Historically, those who helped each other were more likely to survive as they received larger doses of dopamine in exchange for good deeds. Dopamine isn’t just a feel good chemical, it is also an effective medicine for treating low blood pressure and diseases that shorten life.

To test this out, I took a look at three of my colleagues Ian, Patrick and Jurga. They are kind souls who on the outside look very different, but on the inside share an unrelenting desire to make things better. Coincidentally, the three are also Members of a very special Royal Order.     

Ian Miller is a Scottish Chartered Accountant by profession. Splitting his life between London, Dundee and Dallas, he has held executive roles at various multi-billion dollar corporations including Hewlett-Packard, Electronic Data Systems, and NTT Data. He is also the Chairman of Guildhawk. For more than 20 years, after work, Ian has put on the uniform of a police reservist, performing the role of a regular uniform officer but without payment.

He is one of the UK’s longest-serving police volunteers and has built strong relationships between UK police and police forces in the USA and Europe. In 2008, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth honoured Ian with membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to Policing.

Oxford graduate Patrick Rarden is fluent in French, German and English and during a 26-year career in banking gained extensive experience in the trading and management of asset classes, with a multi-jurisdictional client base in Europe and the UK. He is a member of the Guildhawk Advisory Board and provides guidance on market trends, culture and our ongoing support for the Armed Forces Covenant.

Away from the Trading Floor, he has devoted much of his life to supporting homeless military veterans and established a charitable food distribution network called Waste Not Want Not. Patrick’s father was an officer in the United States Army and in 2016 he followed in his footsteps by joining the British Army Reserves.  In 2014, Patrick was also honoured with the MBE.   

Jurga Zilinskiene is a tweed-loving entrepreneur, self-taught coder and founder of Guildhawk. Determined to enable people to do business anywhere and in any language, she has developed innovative technologies and new systems that boost productivity in the language industry.

Aside from growing her company into a global tech-enabled business, and providing skilled employment for thousands of people, she has self-initiated bi-lateral trade missions and staged major fundraising events for a stream of charities. Her work and philanthropic activity has seen her receive many accolades, and in 2019, she became the first British Lithuanian woman in history to be honoured with the MBE for International Trade.

Ian, Patrick and Jurga will tell you that their philanthropic nature probably started in their early years and was instilled by their parents, when saying “No” to helping others just wasn’t an option. If this is the case, then a combination of parental instruction and behaviours inherited from our ancestors may be the drivers for doing good deeds in life.

“Trust, collaboration and dynamism are core values for everyone at Guildhawk. These are also fundamental ingredients for philanthropic behaviour.”

Trust, collaboration and dynamism are core values for everyone at Guildhawk. These are also fundamental ingredients for philanthropic behaviour. This may explain why Guildhawk people share a common, charitable nature, and like Ian, Patrick and Jurga, are at their happiest when they’re helping others.       

Whatever the reason, three cheers to Guildhawk’s MBE Three and everyone who believes that collaboration and kindness are key to making our world a better, more trusting place.   

Photos by Rita Metlovaite. © Guildhawk.