Las Vegas Sun

February 16, 2019

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Guest Columnist:

Rino Armeni: Las Vegas Business Academy is building a foundation for future leaders

Pierre Gagnaire-Rino Armeni

Cashman Photography

Pierre Gagnaire and Rino Armeni.

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Rino Armeni and George Maloof check out the wines at Pips Cucina and Wine Bar at Aliante in November 2008.

Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach heads to the East Coast and Milan before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus Lago Maggiore and Switzerland this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Here is Rino Armeni, founder and board chairman of Las Vegas Business Academy.

One of the amazing qualities our leaders possess is the ability to constantly reinvent Las Vegas through new, attractive entertainment offerings that draw guests from across the globe. This perpetual innovation is fueled by a diverse group of business leaders throughout the city and is the key reason why Las Vegas has remained one of the greatest destinations in the entire world.

Three years ago, I founded Las Vegas Business Academy with the sole purpose of creating a foundation of exceptional business leaders who will continue carrying this torch of innovation and drive Las Vegas to new heights when they are called upon to do so.

LVBA is building this leadership foundation by providing full scholarships and mentorship to select students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in business, hospitality and/or law at UNLV, meaning the education takes place here in Las Vegas for the benefit of Las Vegas. Our selection process is stringent and strenuous because we exist to build a group of leaders who have the vision and drive to keep Las Vegas in its rightful place as one of the world’s greatest cities.

Our mission is supported by one of the strongest nonprofit board of directors in Las Vegas comprised of 36 executives from companies such as Golden Gaming, MGM Resorts International, Southern Wine and Spirits, Caesars Entertainment and dozens of additional high-profile organizations.

While our selection process is arduous, those who prove themselves to have the talent, intelligence, dedication and motivation will be placed into an unrivaled professional development and mentorship program that ensures their career thrives from the moment they graduate from UNLV.

Our board is full of leaders who already have the vision and drive I previously mentioned, and these are the individuals who fuel LVBA’s mentorship program and ensure that our scholarship recipients receive priceless career guidance and job placement.

This fall semester at UNLV is an especially exciting one for our organization since our first scholarship recipient, Matthew Sheahan, will graduate in December with his master’s in hospitality administration. Las Vegas is the hospitality and Entertainment Capital of the World, and Matthew will have the opportunity to quickly grow in his career through LVBA’s executive mentorship. I’ve had the honor of seeing Matthew grow by leaps and bounds during his time in our program, and his success has been a wonderful affirmation of our primary mission and the support members of the local business community have given LVBA.

Matthew is joined by three other students as our current scholarship recipients — Tasha Schwikert (a former U.S. Olympian in gymnastics), Keivan Roebuck and Daven Cameron — who will all graduate within the next 24 months.

While our current group of students is remarkable, LVBA leadership is eager to support additional students in our program. There are so many talented individuals in our city, and we know that there are those worthy and in need of our support. Las Vegas is an amazing place to live and work, and LVBA exists to find the goal-driven people who will keep it that way.

I encourage anyone reading this to visit our website ( to see how we are growing the program and how it could benefit your graduate education. We’d also love to see you at our annual fundraiser in downtown Las Vegas, a matinee performance of “Wicked” at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts followed by a rooftop party at the Downtown Grand Hotel, on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Check out our other guest column today from Flamingo headliner Donny Osmond and on Wednesday look for guest columns from Mirage headline entertainer Terry Fator, his opening act DJ Ben Harris and a preview of the next celebrity-chef dinner at Nove Italiano in the Palms.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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