Bibet-Kalinyak honored by French Ambassador to the United States during visit to Cleveland


CLEVELAND – Ambassador of France to the United States Philippe Etienne formally introduced McDonald Hopkins member Isabelle Bibet-Kalinyak as the new Honorary Consul for France in Cleveland and Columbus and discussed opportunities for French business in the U.S. Midwest while visiting Cleveland for the first time on Wednesday.

Calling Cleveland “one of the most vibrant cities in the United States,” Etienne pointed out the multiple industries connecting Northeast Ohio and French business, including healthcare and aerospace, along with the human assets and geographical benefits the city has to offer.

“I couldn’t think of a better person than Isabelle to care for the French community here,” said Etienne, who, along with General Consul in Chicago Guillaume Lacroix, officially welcomed Bibet-Kalinyak into her new role during a luncheon at the Union Club. The Cleveland-based attorney and native of Paris was nominated to become the new Honorary Consul for France in February.

“My American Dream is only getting better,” said Bibet-Kalinyak, who joined McDonald Hopkins in 2016 as a corporate attorney in the firm’s national Healthcare Practice Group. She also leads McDonald Hopkins’ Immigration Practice Group. “This honor transcends anything I ever could have dreamed while growing up in a humble family in France. I truly feel both American and French. I love both countries, and I love Northeast Ohio…Cleveland is a city with a rich history. It has tenacity and grit. It has culture and unbelievable diversity. It has so much to offer, and I look forward to helping people and businesses discover this region has everything they could ever need.”

McDonald Hopkins President Shawn Riley said Etienne and Lacroix’s visit to Cleveland “advances the tremendous business opportunities available between the American Midwest and France, as well as the entire European Union.

“The ambassador said several times that he has found Cleveland to be one of the most vibrant cities in the United States. Businesses around the world are also finding that to be true … It is a privilege to have one of our partners at McDonald Hopkins serve in the capacity of Honorary Consul for France and to continue to assist French-American relationships.”

Etienne also spent time on Wednesday discussing business opportunities in the region with French American Chamber of Commerce Ohio Chapter President Larry Miller and Executive Director Cedric LeRouge.

“Having the ambassador come to Cleveland is extremely valuable because he offers so much knowledge about France and the European market and how attractive (the opportunities) are to people, not only for French companies to come here, but to help companies from Ohio go into France and Europe,” said LeRouge. “As we look at the density of the North American market, being based in Cleveland gives you access in a one-day trip to 60 percent of the North American population. It is a natural spot for somebody with advanced manufacturing to distribute their product.”

Miller said Etienne’s visit can be helpful to Cleveland by “letting people on the other side of the Atlantic know what is available here, and that there is more to the United States than the two coasts. The North Coast is a great place to do business…There is a lot of collaboration going on with universities like Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, John Carroll and others who have done exchanges with universities in France. There is the aerospace industry and healthcare industry. A lot of people don’t realize it, but the founders of the Cleveland Clinic actually met in Normandy, developed techniques there during the first world war, and brought them back to Cleveland and said let’s start a clinic based on those technologies here in Cleveland.”

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