Today we’d like to introduce you to Leonid Tunik.
Leonid, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been fascinated with learning and education, and early in my career I got a chance to work with a major educational publisher on developing learning games and other materials for K-12 teachers, and I was hooked from that point on. I also love tech, and business, and innovation, and working with smart and dedicated people. So, at some point, all these intense interests of mine finally came together as this business where we teach technology to kids.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Smooth road? No, the first year was more like a gritty derby dirt track than like cruising along the I-90. Some things I knew were going to be difficult, like getting a team together, and finding the right location, getting sales. But then there were so many surprises, sidetracks, scenic detours, and traffic jams. Technology didn’t work. Money was tight. People left. Sales came in slower than I thought. Red tape in setting up our Studio took longer than expected. There were many more frantic last-minute scrambles than expected. There were definitely times when despair set in and I declared myself to be clinically insane for quitting my job to start a business. But after a while things stabilized and there was a “yes, we’re going to make it” moment.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We take today’s technology tools, and we teach kids how to use them to express their natural creativity. So instead of using crayons and paper, they’re using image editing, 3d design, or animation software, or building a robot and then using a programming language to make it do something. We do this in a variety of programs – camp in the summer and vacation weeks, clubs on weekends, classes after school. We also run a licensed after-school care program in Lexington, where kids are taken by their school bus, and where they get to work with 3D printers, program video games, and build robots every day. We even run birthday parties at our studio in Lexington!
What were you like growing up?
I’ve done some cool things in life. But none were cooler than the moment I realized that if I had a chance to pick a brand new team to work with, I would pick exactly the same people who were already on my team! It takes so much work, patience, and thought to bring together smart, dedicated, competent, hard-working people who share a love of learning. I feel like our team right now is the best I’ve ever worked with. Of course, I’ve said the same thing for four years in a row now, because it’s been true for four years in a row! It just keeps getting better.
- Our camps start at $335 for a half-day week-long camp session and $595 for a full-day session
- Our weekend clubs are $80 per month
- After-school program is priced based on the number of days per week a child attends, starting with $160/mo for 1 day per week.
- Our birthday parties start at $300
- Address: 1776 Massachusetts Ave.,
Lexington, MA 02420
- Website: www.empow.me
- Phone: 617-395-7527
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/empowstudios/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/empowstudios/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/empowstudios
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/empow-studios-lexington
- Other: http://blog.empow.me/