Founder of RUF. President of FORA.
Founder of RUF. President of FORA.
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Mihai Lehene: Brief Bio
Mihai holds the presidency of the Romanian United Foundation (RUF). Between 2010 and 2022 he ran one of the most successful high frequency trading desks in Fixed Income and Eurodollars futures in the world for over a decade, at Allston Trading.
Originally from Romania, Mihai Lehene has demonstrated a strong affinity for Mathematics and Computer Science since his youth, receiving accolades in both regional and national Olympiads. He completed his International Business degree at the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest in 2001. Subsequently, he relocated to the United States and earned his Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2024, graduating first in his class.
In 2013 he founded MDL Investments, a family office focusing on emerging technologies such as fintech, biotech, and crypto. In 2021, he stepped down from his business roles to dedicate himself to managing RUF and was elected President of FORA in 2022.
Mihai is notably involved in philanthropy, primarily supporting the Romanian United Foundation (RUF) as a key benefactor. He has generously contributed to RUF and offers a dollar-for-dollar match for donations up to a specified limit, aiding RUF in functioning as an organization that fully passes through its funds.
In November 2023, Mihai was honored with the 2024 Chicago Titan 100 Award, distinguishing him as one of Chicago's most influential business leaders. This award recognizes excellence in leadership, vision, and passion. Additionally, in recognition of his contributions to the Romanian community, he received the 10 Romani de 10 Award in 2022 and the Top 100 Romanians Around The World Award in 2021.
Mihai Lehene: A Life of Insight, Leadership, and Philanthropy
Early Life & Education
Born in Cluj-Napoca and raised in Zalău, Transylvania/Romania, Mihai Lehene discovered his love for Mathematics and Computer Science at a young age, earning multiple awards in regional and national Olympiads (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997).
Mihai earning his degree in International Business from the Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest in 2001. Subsequently, he relocated to the United States and joined University of Illinois at Chicago as a Research Assistant. He earned his Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2024, graduating first in his class.
Mihai embarked on his professional journey in 2004 as a Software Analyst at Bank of America, specializing in the Credit Default Swaps division. In 2007, he transitioned to Allston Trading, a high-frequency trading firm in Chicago, where he swiftly climbed the ranks to become a Partner and Board Member by 2012. During his tenure at Allston, Mihai spearheaded a successful team of traders and quants, marking Allston as a global player in the financial futures markets.
In 2014, Mihai founded MDL Investments, his family office focusing on venture capital, private equity, real estate, and cryptocurrencies. MDL holds a diverse portfolio encompassing fintech, health tech, agrotech, biotechnology, and medical devices, among other high-growth fields.
Community & Non-Profit Involvement
Mihai retired from his business functions in 2021 to focus on fostering community building and nurturing the success of the Romanian diaspora. He is the Founder and President of Romanian United Fund (RUF). In 2022, he became the first official President of the Federation of Romanian-American Organizations (FORA).
Mihai’s profound engagement in non-profit initiatives is reflected through his founding contributions to various organizations, including the Romanian Community Foundation of Chicago, and the Round Table Society (RTS), where he emphasized promoting Romanian culture and provided vital community services. He was also the initiator and supporter of the “Zilele Zalaului la Chicago” annual festival and has been instrumental in establishing ROCO Chicago, the first community-supported Community Center of Chicago.
As a philanthropist, Mihai has been the main sponsor of RUF, making substantial donations and pledges to ensure the organization’s transparent and effective functioning. His unwavering support for Romanian communities and organizations earned him recognition and awards like the Top 100 Romanians award and the "10 Romani de 10" award.
Vision and Advocacy
Mihai envisions a future where the Romanian diaspora achieves collective greatness through unity and trust. He emphasizes the importance of a collaborative, well-thought-out development plan to uphold the Romanian heritage and facilitate the diaspora's progress in the realms of technology and globalization. Mihai ardently believes in the potential of Romanians and advocates for their representation and collaboration across the globe.
Educator and Mentor
Mihai, a former Olympiad participant with multiple national awards, leverages his extensive knowledge to teach and mentor young minds in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Financial Education. He has been teaching weekly, for the better part of the year, sincer 2013, at small private schools, local public libraries in Chicago, and lately online and at ROCO Chicago.
In 2019 he created the Romanian United Fund Excellence Center, a platform providing resources and curriculum to teachers across the United States and Canada. Today, Mihai is inspired to see the growth in the hundreds of children that he's taught over the years, and he continues to find joy and inspiration in teaching, emphasizing the value of learning and the joy it brings.
- Born: Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania
- Current Roles: President, FORA; President, RUF; Founder and Owner, MDL Investments
- Former Roles: Partner and Board Member, Allston Trading; Software Analyst, Bank of America
- Education: Master's in Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago; Degree in International Business, Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest
- Awards: Top 100 Romanians award; "10 Romani de 10" award
- Focus Areas: Community Building, Education, Philanthropy, High-Frequency Trading, Venture Capital, Private Equity
Vision: Fostering unity and collaboration amongst the Romanian diaspora for collective growth and preservation of heritage in the century of technology and globalization.
- Founder and President of MDL Investments, a private family office with a wide range of investments, including venture capital, private equity, real estate, and cryptocurrencies
- Partner at Allston Trading, for a long time one of the most successful high-frequency trading firms in Chicago
- President of the Board (2022 - 2023), FORA, the Federation of Romanian American Organizations
- President of the Board (2018 - present), RUF, Romanian United Fund
- Member of the Board (2014 - 2019), Allston Trading
- Secretary of the Board (2003 - 2012), RTS, Round Table Society
- Founding member of RCFC, Romanian Community Foundation of Chicago
- Founding member and President (2022-2023) of FORA, the Federation of Romanian American Organizations
- Founder and President (2019 - present) of RUF, Romanian United Fund
- Founder and President (2005-2019) of "Fundatia Zalauani la Chicago" and romanilachicago.org
- Founder (2003-2012) of RTS, Round Table Society
- Ambassador of Via Transilvanica in the United States
- Ambassador of Repatriot, Romanian Business Leaders, in the United States
- Ambassador of ROCO, the Romanian Community Center of Chicago
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