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Thinkinc. CEO Laurie Glenn receives France’s prestigious National Order of Merit

Laurie R. Glenn’s work to stimulate cultural, artistic, political, social and philosophical debate and discussion between French and U.S. leaders, thinkers, artists and organizers has been recognized with the National Order of Merit from France.

Awarded by the President of the French Republic, the National Order of Merit is an institution of the French Republic born in the middle of the 20th century, the second national Order after the Legion of Honor. Its purpose is to reward “distinguished merit” and encourage the lifeblood of the country.

It is rare for a non-citizen of France to receive the Order of Merit. Recent American honorees include poet Joseph Brodsky, composer Quincy Jones, writer Toni Morrison, technology magnate Bill Gates, and film directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Laurie R. Glenn, CEO of ThinkInc. and Th!nkArt, became the most recent addition to the American list of Honorees during a ceremony June 2, 2022 in New York City. A photo gallery can be viewed here, and articles appeared in the Chicago Tribune, in Shia Kapos’ POLITICO Illinois Playbook and in Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax.

Fabrice Rozié, the former Cultural Attaché in New York and Chicago, nominated Ms. Glenn as a result of her work with Rozié and the French Consulate in broadening cultural ties between France and the U.S. Ms. Glenn also was recognized for her work over the years with the U.S. Embassy in Paris. As well as her work with the German Marshall Fund training and mentoring leaders of inclusion on leadership development and power in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

In addition, Ms. Glenn taught workshops in 2017 and 2018 with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle on using research as a tool for building power and influence on social policy issues.

The National Order of Merit was founded December, 3, 1963, by France’s President Charles de Gaulle,

Additional background on Laurie R. Glenn and her work with the French culture 

Ms. Glenn worked with the French Consulate in Chicago and U.S. Embassy In Paris on several projects including:


In fall 2015, Thinkinc. was retained by the French Consulate in Chicago to provide strategic consulting, project management, marketing with traditional and social media relations consulting services to conceptualize and generate interest in “City/Cite: A Transatlantic Exchange,” an event where leading scholars, policymakers, researchers, community organizers, activists and artists from both sides of the Atlantic were in Chicago Nov. 2-3 to explore inequality, race and the state of urban democracy in the United States and France.

Thinkinc. coordinated with multiple institutions including the French Consulate in Chicago, the University of Chicago and working with several departments within the university, the University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute, the Institute of France and the Sorbonne in coordinating and managing a seamless brand that leveraged the joint institutional assets to market and promote this transatlantic partnership. In less than six weeks, Thinkinc. developed a brand, created electronic and print promotional and marketing materials — including concept, design and copy — for evites, brochures and posters as well as developed a traditional and social media strategy. We drafted and distributed media materials including media alerts and news releases to a list that Thinkinc. developed of international, national and local media. In addition, we assisted in the agendas for both university’s programs as well as the day of week run including organizing an event at the Chicago Community Trust and assisting the Consulate with a private event at the French Consul General’s home.

The events held at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago yielded significant turnout with a targeted audience of policymakers, community, civic, business and philanthropic leaders and students. Media placements included WBEZ’s Worldview as well as one of Dawn Turner Trice’s last columns in the Chicago Tribune.

Exhibitions/International Dialogue

  • In 2010, Th!nkArt participated by organizing a joint exhibition featuring the photography of ten youth from Altgeld Gardens in Chicago and ten youth visiting from La Courneuve in Paris. The exhibit was on view at the Richard J. Daley Civic Center as part of the Sister Cities agreements Chicago and Paris signed jointly  in 1996, opening the door to numerous cultural exchanges.
  • “The Changing Face of France: A Question of Identity.” In 2008 and 2009 Ms. Glenn created and participated in a series of international programs and exhibitions as part of her aim to forge a dialogue between the worlds of art and politics. In 2008, Ms. Glenn presented works of artist artist Florent Moutti in the exhibit “The Changing Face of France: A Question of Identity” at her Th!nkArt Gallery in Chicago. Then in 2009, she worked with Paris Deputy Mayor Yamina Benguigui, the French film director, to present the works of Moutti and a national humans right activist in that exhibition at the Hotel de Ville/City Hall of Paris as part of an international human rights summit.
  • “French Kiss & Karma: A Mélange of Contemporary Art from France and India.” Ms. Glenn’s Th!nkArt Gallery collaborated with FlatFilegallery to create an innovative, bi-gallery exhibit that featured works from leading contemporary artists from France and India. All artists were exhibited at both galleries with separate works, allowing patrons to have two integral yet different experiences of the same show.
  • “War and Peace: A Night of International Relations.” A French delegation of emerging leaders to the United States participated in an evening of cross-cultural dialogue on diversity featuring a panel discussion moderated by Illinois State Representative William Burns.
  • Ms. Glenn produced various other programming and exhibitions in the U.S. and France of works by French artists. At you can see the many exhibitions and international exchanges.

Aparté: A Café-Society Celebration

  • Th!nkArt titled its exhibitions Aparté. In French, aparté means something that is apart. We did so to underscore our deep desire to move art from the canvas to a conversation between human beings about art, philosophy, politics, and the world at large. Th!nkArt was successful in creating many such conversations at numerous, well-noted Aparté. Attendees ranged from collectors, professionals, art patrons, gallery owners, and artists, to civic and philanthropic leaders, museum board members, and residents of Chicago and its suburbs, and the world.
  • In 2009 Th!nkArt hosted a French Consulate Art Aparte — a soiree with art hosted at our French Salon Gallery.

International Delegations

  • Thinkinc. was retained by the U.S. Embassy in Paris to bring two delegations — the first in 2009 and the second in 2010. The first was a response to Obama being elected and Thinkinc. organized a ten day delegation of French Muslim elected officials from across the political spectrum to understand how he got elected and how to translate his victory into lessons learned for elected officials of color in France. The second delegation of community leaders in 2010 for two weeks purpose was to train local leaders in community organizing as an empowerment tool for local leaders.