Growing up, Michael Esposito was part of a family that highly valued helping others whenever possible. They were the type to give people the clothes off their backs — sometimes literally!
It was during a trip to Haiti that Michael truly understood the big difference you can make in other people’s lives.
While visiting an orphanage in his mother’s home country of Haiti, Michael had an experience that led him to understand how much of a difference can be made when you give from the heart.
Since then, Michael has been deeply committed to not only children in Haiti, but to people in need throughout the world.
A Life-Changing Trip
Michael Esposito’s family was known for one thing: their tireless efforts to help others.
His parents, Leonard and Nancy, did a lot to serve their Queens, New York community — and instilled in their three children a desire to do the same. From giving others the clothes off their backs (literally) to establishing a nonprofit in Nancy’s homeland of Haiti, the Espositos firmly believed anyone can change the world if they keep their heart open to helping others whenever (and however) possible.
But there was one experience that embedded it in his heart more deeply than anything else.
When he was 8, Michael and his family went on a trip to Haiti. While there, they did a lot of sightseeing — which included visiting the community his mother grew up in. Michael and his sister, Marie-Noelle, saw firsthand the true realities of poverty. It helped drive home just how important it was for people like them to help out in whatever ways they could.
While there, they also spent some time at the orphanage that their family had been supporting.
Whereas many people may have seen despair in these “abandoned and unloved” children (some of whom had serious health challenges), Michael saw something more beautiful.
He saw children who were so deeply loved by their parents that they were brought to a place with people who could provide them the safety, stability, and care they needed.
At one point during their visit, Michael went out to the courtyard, where 10-15 children his age were playing. He noticed some of them were wearing clothes his own family had donated — some of which he recognized as coming from his closet.
The kids (including Michael) all gathered in a circle, held hands, and sang songs while spinning around in a big circle. Everyone was smiling and laughing. There was so much joy and love!
Out of the memories Michael has of that trip to Haiti, their visit to the orphanage is what stuck with him the most. It showed him the real difference you can make when you give to others — no matter how big or small the gesture may be.
This experience helped him further solidify his personal philosophy of “generosity above all else.”
An Entreprenurial Spirit
Back at home, Michael’s father dabbled in the entrepreneurial world, making hair and skincare products. Michael got a crash course in small business by helping load products in the van for Saturday delivery runs and attending business events. He even helped his dad create a product line and the website where they sold them.
Although he didn’t consider himself an entrepreneur back then, Michael knew deep down that he wanted to have his own business one day.
One that would empower him to live a life he loved and (more importantly) give back to the community in big ways.
As an adult, Michael spent many years working in sales — and he was very good at it. His entrepreneurial spirit and hard work ethic helped him achieve some exciting highs within the industry.
However, he also had some not-so-exciting lows that were just as significant. And it was in those valleys of his life that he realized he needed freedom to step outside the box of “sales employee.”
The problem was he needed to figure out HOW to do it. The goal was to build a business that felt 100% connected to his soul’s purpose of uplifting humanity through giving back.
The Big Question
Ironically, being fired from a job was what served as the springboard for Michael to finally focus his energies on a plan to THRIVE rather than live paycheck to paycheck. He didn’t know where to go or even which way to turn. All he knew was that in order to create the impact he wanted, he needed more money — and lots of it.
He knew that people often make buying decisions based on one of two things: price or relationships.
That’s when he had an epiphany. He needed to find a business opportunity that would allow him to capitalize on something he was naturally good at and enjoyed: building relationships.
So his guiding question became “How do I build RELATIONSHIPS so that people choose to get what they need from me?”
He had a vision of building an insurance business… through relationship-driven sales.
It just so happened he knew a recruiter for Allstate who was able to give him advice on OWNING an insurance agency. After talking with that person, Michael’s action plan was simple:
Step 1: Test the waters as an Allstate agent.
Step 2: Learn the Allstate culture and model.
Step 3: Save up enough money to buy an Allstate agency.
And that’s exactly what he set out to do.
The Birth of DenTen
Michael’s new way of doing business paid off! He was helping clients get policies that were valued well above any others he’d closed on before. Then, after an eye-opening experience at a Nationwide event, he took things to an even higher level and sold a policy that was so big he could use the capital to finally start his own company.
Initially, the company was named Ethos. It was a tribute to Aristotle (and a tongue–in-cheek nod to Michael’s extensive public speaking background). However, the main inspiration for the name was his desire to always have character and integrity at the forefront of the company.
As it turned out, though, a couple of other insurance companies were already using the name, so Michael had to go back to the drawing board.
During a brainstorming session, a trusted friend asked “What do you care most about? What drives you?”
Without even needing to think about it, he said his family. Especially his daughters, Denise and Tenley. His family and loved ones are (and always will be) the biggest motivation for him to get up and show up each day.
He loved the idea of the name DenTen He felt like it would be cool to have a company name that was sort of similar to then-rising tech company, TikTok. Especially since part of his vision is to have a company that’s constantly raising the tech bar.
Not only does it incorporate his daughters’ names (a fact that they love and are proud of), it also honors his beloved grandmother, Denise, after whom his eldest daughter was named.
A Continued Mission
DenTen is a company after Michael’s own heart and has a mission that remains true to his core values.
The DenTen team is committed to making a positive impact — for our clients, on our employees, in the insurance industry, and in the world.
Philanthropy plays a major role in our service model as we:
- Make regular donations to a variety of charitable organizations.
- Work toward building and maintaining self-sustaining communities throughout Haiti.
As long as DenTen exists, so will our efforts to improve and save lives — in our local and global communities.
And it all began with that first trip to Haiti all those years ago.
When you become a client, we help you make the world a better place
How it Works:
1. Write an insurance policy with DenTen
2. Create a Global Impact
3. DenTen Donates Funds to Meet the Medical Needs in Haiti
Join DenTen in Our Mission & Support Our Philanthropy
Once you’re insured with DenTen, you’re creating a global impact.