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Meet the Empatico Team: Mike Estano

By Zoe Haveles
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Meet Empatico’s Senior Director of Product, Mike Estano! Mike joined the Empatico Team in March of 2022, and is leading our team as we revamp the Empatico platform. Get to know more about Mike and his journey to Empatico here!

  1. Name: 

Mike Estano – aka, Mr. Mike

  1. Title: 

Senior Director of Product

  1. Where are you based?

Los Angeles, CA, USA

  1. What do you do at Empatico? 

I oversee the strategic planning of the Empatico platform. I work with and direct the design, engineering and quality assurance teams in the effort of creating and maintaining the product. Of course, I’m very lucky to be able to collaborate with an awesome group of people to accomplish this task every single day.

  1. Tell us about your professional journey and how you ended up at Empatico. Why did you join the Empatico team? 

Well, I’ve been at this a very long time, and although I’ve been in the design field for a long time, my introduction into Education-Technology is what made everything meaningful. So, over the past 10 years, I’ve been any combination of a lead strategist, designer, and director, creating experiences and social impact for children, while building products from the ground up.

I started with the “Reading Rainbow: Skybrary” app, both the consumer and school versions. Then, the UNICEF Kid Power mobile app and subsequently, the Kid Power web-app, where we were able to empower school children in the US to help save the lives of over 100,000 malnourished children around the world and to provide help to their local charities/organizations. 

It was through that effort that I discovered Empatico and I was presented with an opportunity to join the team. I really feel strongly about our mission, and although I loved the work I did for these other companies, the values of Empatico really speak to me personally. I now work with an excellent group of people, and I know together, we’re going to elevate our product to new heights for the teachers and students to connect all around the world!

  1. What is the most exciting project you’re working on right now? 

It has to be the “Empatico 2.0” overhaul! We’re taking our excellent platform to the ‘next level’ by building on our solid foundation and making it better. We are enhancing and adding many new features so teachers and students can continue their journey of sparking empathy within themselves and in others around the world as they learn from one another in a variety of different ways!

  1. Can you share a memory of a teacher who made a difference in your life? 

The teacher I most often reflect back on is Ms. Sundberg, from high school. She really helped me to understand how art can be a powerful tool for good. She helped me figure out how to utilize my interests in “non-art” related subjects, like engineering and science, in my art, and that by overlapping these disciplines, it would make my artwork unique. This was the foundation of my becoming an Industrial Designer, and eventually, a User Experience Designer to do what I’m doing now.

  1. What is your favorite way to start the workday? 

I don’t know if it’s my “favorite way” but my daily morning ritual is pretty simple. I play with my dogs for a little bit (I count this as “exercise” for me too), get cleaned up, have a single cup of coffee with a banana or nuts, and then I read for 20-30 mins.

  1. What song have you had on repeat recently? 

Usually, at the start of every Spring, I often listen to “Everyday Sunshine” by Fishbone to get me energized and feeling good/positive.