Ilene Frankel, Executive Director
Ilene is passionate about giving young people the chance to learn about and experience entrepreneurship. In the fall of 2021, she became Executive Director for Young Entrepreneur Institute, as YEI’s founder, Greg Malkin, shifted to an emeritus role. In her position, Ilene leads the entrepreneurial programming and ecosystem building teams at YEI, working with educators, schools, networks and entrepreneurial education program providers in Northeast Ohio and beyond. She also serves as the head of K-12 entrepreneurial programming at University School.
Ilene joined Young Entrepreneur Institute in 2012 to focus on helping high school educators build engagement with entrepreneurship education activities. Since 2015, she has led the development and growth of Enspire, the annual professional development conference for educators that’s organized in partnership with Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
Ilene has more than twenty years of business and marketing experience – most notably as Marketing Director at Cole Vision Corporation, and also advising start-ups in the Cleveland area. Ilene is a former Trustee of the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation, where she served on the board for nine years.
Ilene holds an Economics degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Jessie Jones, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jessie is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship education as a way to empower students to make positive change in their lives and their communities. As YEI Afterschool Program Director, Jessie develops and curates entrepreneurship education content; leads workshops for students and educators; and cultivates and nurtures relationships with organizations and individuals serving youth across the nation. Prior to YEI, Jessie spent ten years as a technology and business consultant.
Jessie holds an MS in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University and a BA in English from Guilford College.
Jessica Dragar, Outreach and Engagement Manager
Jessica’s passion for engaging the community and supporting youth programming, is her driving force to connect students and educators to entrepreneurial resources. The Young Entrepreneur Market provides K-12 students with real-world selling opportunities at community events and area farmers markets. This unique program, with hands-on experience, helps to develop critical hard and soft skills that are needed for future success.
Prior to joining the Young Entrepreneur Institute, Jessica was an integral part of the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. During this time, she held numerous regional and statewide roles in Economic Development, Financial Education and Public Affairs. She is an experienced community connector, educator and program manager.
Jessica holds a BS in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University.
Katy Nozar, Director of Development
Katy joined the YEI team in Spring 2022 as Director of Development. In her newly created role, she is responsible for cultivating relationships with current and potential funders to support the mission of Young Entrepreneur Institute.
Katy is excited to use her passion for relationship-building and communications to enhance the work of YEI. Though new to the entrepreneurship education ecosystem, she believes wholeheartedly in the impact entrepreneurial programming can have on a child’s learning, development, and future.
Her career in development has allowed Katy to have fulfilling experiences fundraising for impactful organizations such as EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, spoiling her pets, and taking hikes in the Cleveland Metroparks.
Katy holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University.
Kelly Biggar, Afterschool Programs Manager
Kelly believes in entrepreneurial experiences for youth as a way to develop life skills, gain real world experience, and connect with other students. As Program Manager for Afterschool, she works to share entrepreneurial programming with afterschool and out-of-school organizations nationwide. Through our signature Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge program, Kelly teaches, coaches and consults with educators to bring the entrepreneurial mindset to K-12 students.
Prior to joining Young Entrepreneur Institute, Kelly worked as an administrator in University School’s Athletic Department. She has extensive experience working in the Cleveland real estate market, in both property management and sales. Kelly started her career in customer service management with Progressive Insurance.
Kelly holds a BS in Consumer Economics from the University of Vermont.
Robin Eisen, Special Projects Manager
As YEI Special Projects Manager, Robin is the go-to person for development of new programs and activities. In 2018, she created the framework and operations for the Enspire Mini-Grant program, now YIPPEE! Marketplace, which awarded small grants to more than 350 educators for entrepreneurial education support. In addition, Robin leads all YEI monthly Power Hours for educators, trains educators and students on the art of elevator pitching, and is our resident entrepreneurial game master.
Robin has more than 20 years of experience in community building, fundraising, and marketing in the commercial and non-profit sectors. She has a passion for social justice and created TeenUp CLE, a camp for middle and high school students.
Robin has been a board member of Youth Challenge for more than ten years, and a board member of Champions for Charity for the past five years.
Robin holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a BA from Indiana University.
Mary Schoen, Program Manager
Mary, who has been affiliated with YEI in a variety of roles since 2014, works closely with the YIPPEE! Marketplace web development team on project administration and technical testing. Mary is a skilled project leader with a great knack for streamlining complicated projects. In addition to her work with YIPPEE! Marketplace, Mary manages YEI special projects. Outside of her work at YEI, Mary enjoys teaching yoga and mindfulness, as well as supporting other entrepreneurial ventures.
Mary holds a dual BA in Psychology & Sociology from Hunter College, City University of New York.
Ariana Smith, Program Coordinator
As YEI Program Coordinator, Ariana is involved with Young Entrepreneur Market, Financial Literacy Club, Stock Market Challenge, E-Club, and more. She is excited to help students understand and experience entrepreneurship.
Ariana has a passion for motivating and encouraging youth and has dedicated the past decade actively serving as a mentor, educator, and advocate for others. For the last six years, Ariana has taught Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development to 6th-grade boys through the Reaching MAGIS program at St. Ignatius High School. In addition, Ariana has been immersed in the world of Entrepreneurship since she was 12 years old and competed in several business plan competitions.
Evan Yule, Marketing and Technology Assistant
As YEI Marketing and Technology Assistant, Evan has a hand in a wide variety of projects, including a focus on YEI newsletter and social media. He hopes to make a positive impact on an individual and community level by providing support for each of YEI’s endeavors.
Evan’s drive for spreading the entrepreneurial mindset is rooted in personal experience. As a young participant in multiple entrepreneurship workshops, he gained an appreciation for the impact that early exposure can have. His recent time selling at local farmers markets helped to solidify the passion he has for building relationships with local merchants and customers.
Evan holds a BA in Strategic Communications from The Ohio State University.
Patty Owens, Young Entrepreneur Market Coordinator
Patty joined the YEI team in September of 2022 but she is no stranger to the Young Entrepreneur Market program. As a parent of a student-entrepreneur, she knows first-hand the positive impact YEI programming can have on students.
In addition to her passion for youth entrepreneurship, Patty is also an entrepreneur herself, having started her own marketing and events business seven years ago. Prior to starting her own business, she spent 15 years in various marketing communication roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Complient Corporation, a Solon-based health and safety solutions start-up.
Patty is a Trustee of the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation and a former Trustee of the Aurora Schools Foundation.
Patty holds a BS in Business Administration from John Carroll University.
Nicole Lawrence, US Teacher, Economics & Entrepreneurship
Nicole loves inspiring students to dream big and reach their full potential. Nicole manages the University School Community Engagement Program, national and international trips, the exchange programs with partner schools in China and Kenya, summer internships, and the Anderson Scholars Program where students pursue a concentration in entrepreneurship or science. She also teaches Economics and Entrepreneurship at University School.
Prior to US, she was a founding staff member and the Director of Programs and Alumni Relations at E CITY, or Entrepreneurship: Connecting, Inspiring and Teaching Youth. E CITY teaches entrepreneurship, business and life skills to over 1,300 youth from low-income areas in Cleveland.
Nicole holds a MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.
George Heath, US Teacher, Economics & Entrepreneurship
George translates his diverse business experiences into stories that educate and inspire students in the classroom, not only at University School, but at Miami University, the State University of New York, Clemson University, and elsewhere. George retired from Sherwin-Williams where he was a Group President with over 7,000 employees in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. As President, he helped grow the business from $1.6 billion to over $3 billion in just 5 years. Before becoming a President, George led sales and marketing teams at Sherwin-Williams, PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, Axeda, a venture-funded startup in Boston, and at Thermovation Engineering, an equipment manufacturer in Cleveland that grew more than 1,900 percent during George’s tenure, winning five consecutive Weatherhead 100 Awards.
George holds a MBA from Miami University and a BFA from Bowling Green State University.
Greg Malkin, Founder
Greg is a serial entrepreneur who began his entrepreneurial journey in high school. In 1983, he founded Technical Software, Inc. and served as its president until selling the business to a public company in 2000. Greg was an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and for seven years in a row his company was a Weatherhead School of Management Top 100 Growth Company.
In 2005, Greg founded the Young Entrepreneur Institute to focus on K-12 entrepreneurship education. Greg has won numerous awards for his work with entrepreneurship education including the Teacher of the Year by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education; Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist; National Federation of Small Business (NFIB) Entrepreneur Educator of the Year; and the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education by the Freedoms Foundation.
He retired as Executive Director of YEI in 2021 and continues to act as an advisor to the organization while running his latest entrepreneurial venture, Model Landmarks.
Greg holds a MEd from Ursuline College and a BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.