Featured Alumni: Robert Lenahan


Robert Lenahan
Founder of Hospital Heroes, LLC.
Class of 2013
William Floyd High School
Queens Village, New York

What do you currently do?
I’m currently a junior at Molloy College, pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a minor in New Media. In my time at Molloy, I co-founded the Entrepreneurship Club after discovering my passion for inventing things and building businesses. Since then, I have been developing one idea after another until my latest invention, IV Hero, a sleeve that covers an intravenous bag during treatments and is designed to make hospitals a less scary place for kids. Each sleeve is decorated with superheroes, transforming what was once an intimidating medical procedure into a creative opportunity to gain superpowers.

How did you get the inspiration for IV Hero?
I was reading an article about pediatric patients, and how they were so terrified of CAT scans and MRI machines that they actually needed to be fully sedated just to go for a scan. This was causing a number of issues, not to mention a huge deal of stress on the patients and their families. Rather than re-engineer these machines, a few folks from GE put big stickers up on the machines that made them look like submarines and pirate ships. What was once making kids cry, was now making them want to come back; they thought it was a ride at an amusement park. I thought this idea of transforming a scary experience for kids into a fun and exciting one was such an amazing way to reimagine the hospital experience, and I really wanted to focus on transforming everyday procedures that kids are put through. IV bags are a staple of the hospital room, and thus, IV Hero was born.

What first comes to mind when you think back to your VE experience?
My first thought of VE is how big of an eye-opener it was for me at such a young age. So many high schoolers just go through the motions in high school with their goals set to the future that they don’t fully utilize some of the programs at their disposal – I know because I was like that. When I began VE, it really broadened my horizons on how the business world works and I was offered the opportunity to begin building my professional persona, which gave me a huge advantage when I got to college.

What was your favorite part of VE?
By far, my favorite part of VE was being a part of the presentation team for my business. We were awarded 3rd for the region, and it felt so satisfying to put so much effort into our presentation and really have those efforts be recognized.

How does your VE experience relate to your current role? How does it relate to what you ultimately want to do in your professional life?
When I was in VE, I was the Vice President of Accounting, which ultimately helped me to form my decision on majoring in accounting. In addition, being a part of the presentation team really helped me to become a better public speaker which comprises so much of what I do today. Whether I’m speaking in front of an audience, to investors, at business competitions; being able to speak concisely and professionally is something that I have to do every day, and I can attribute that to my experience in VE.

Do you believe that your VE experience was a differentiator in helping you start with IV Hero?
VE helped me to think differently. The environment really allowed me to explore my creativity within my VE firm, and that stuck with me as I entered college and began to meet like-minded people who enjoy inventing things and building businesses. With my creativity and my background in public speaking, I began entering and winning business plan competitions which set me on this path of becoming an entrepreneur.

What advice do you have for current VE students?
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something, or that your ideas will never work. If you’re passionate about something – do it. You never know where that idea will take you or how it will help you grow.

Find IV Hero online:

Website: http://www.ivhero.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HospHero
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hospitalheroes/

If you are a VE alumni with a story to share and would like to reconnect with VE, please contact Tyler Fugazzie, Marketing and Communications Manager, at tyler@veinternational.org or visit our Alumni page.

VEI Honors New York Life and Jack Hidary at Fundraising Gala

An Evening to Benefit Virtual Enterprises International.

VEI honored New York Life and Jack Hidary at the 2nd Annual Evening to Benefit VEI on April 1, 2014 for their support of VEI. New York Life was presented with the Noel N. Kriftcher Service to Education Award while Mr. Hidary received the Global Citizen Award for Innovation and Economic Development.

About the Dr. Noel N. Kriftcher Service to Education Award

This award has been established to recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to improving education, helping to transform the lives of young people and exemplifying those qualities of
Dr. Noel N. Kriftcher–leader, scholar, visionary, champion of equal opportunities and philanthropic causes, mentor, coach, humanitarian, devoted family member and friend.

New York Life

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. Founded in 1845 and headquartered in New York City, New York Life and its affiliates offer life insurance, annuities and long-term care, institutional asset management, trust services, securities products, and retail mutual funds.

Virtual Enterprises International is extremely fortunate to count itself among the recipients of the New York Life Foundation’s generosity and vision. With an initial grant of $1 million from the Foundation, VEI has been able to spread its wings and bring its extraordinary learning opportunities to hundreds of deserving students from underserved communities across the nation. We are both very proud of and extremely grateful for our association with New York Life and the New York Life Foundation.

Accepted By: Frank M. Boccio, Executive Vice President

Frank M. Boccio has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of New York Life Insurance Company since 2007 and reports directly to New York Life Chairman, President and CEO,
Ted Mathas.

Watch Mr. Boccio explain why New York Life is a strong supporter of VEI. Introduction by Josuel Plasencia (Class of 2013)



VEI Global Citizen Award for Innovation & Economic Development

Jack Hidary, Chairman, The Hidary Foundation

Jack Hidary is a lifelong New Yorker, entrepreneur and committed advocate for public service, education, sustainable energy and economic growth. Mr. Hidary was born and raised in Brooklyn in a community of entrepreneurs. His grandfather and uncle started a business which his family still runs 60 years later.

After cofounding EarthWeb (now Dice Holdings) a leader in online tech jobs, and handing off management to a new team, Mr. Hidary became active in public service, particularly in helping small businesses grow and championing new models of education.  In addition to serving as an associate partner at the Partnership for NYC, a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and a member of the steering committee of the ABNY, he has been a board member of Trickle Up, which helps thousands of entrepreneurs start small businesses each year.

Mr. Hidary has been recognized for his leadership by organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the National Committee on US-China Relations. He is also a founding member
of the Clinton Global Initiative and serves on the board of the X Prize and the advisory board of Google X Labs.

Watch Mr. Hidary’s powerful acceptance speech and his reasons for why VEI is so critical in preparing students to thrive in today’s economy.


Planting the Seed of Entrepreneurship


Check out this article from the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce explaining how VEI plants the seeds for student success by “creating a passion for entrepreneurship in young people.” It details what VEI is, how the program benefits students, and gives a sampling of what happens at the major events hosted by VEI Virginia.

Originally published in The Chamber Review.