How to Be an Internal Advocate for Hiring LaunchCoders


Nurturing Talent, Fostering Change: How to be an Internal Advocate for Hiring LaunchCoders

Internal advocates are a powerhouse for driving change within an organization. LaunchCode’s partnership with Mastercard has thrived with strong advocacy from employees to bring on LaunchCoders and transform their talent source. These champions of LaunchCode have seen the potential that hiring differently would have on both the talent pipeline and their internal company culture. 

One of those early advocates and a self-proclaimed “spark” for the organization’s growth is Marlowe Valdeabella. We asked Marlowe a few questions about what it means to be that spark:

Q: Mastercard’s partnership with LaunchCode started over a decade ago, and you were there at the beginning. What made you take a chance on a new startup like LaunchCode?

It all started with recognizing the potential of LaunchCode to not only bring in talent but also to shape our company culture. I saw it as an opportunity to give back and to create a talent pipeline that would eventually fuel our specific needs. We also needed a different type of talent than we were used to getting from our traditional hiring sources – we needed people who were ready to work and could easily acclimate to a corporate culture that was rapidly evolving. 

At first, we hired on a couple LaunchCoders. And after getting a taste of the benefits, we hired more. And more. And more. 


Q: Sponsorship seems to play a crucial role in building the partnership. How did you approach encouraging others internally to support LaunchCode?

A: Sponsorship serves as a powerful gateway, bridging the gap between intention and action. Some of my colleagues understood the benefits of LaunchCode, but still needed to see it for themselves. Lots of us got involved in the mission in other ways, like volunteering for mock interviews and acting as mentors to LaunchCode learners. By getting leaders invested in the program through these avenues, they experienced the tangible benefits, such as the quality of talent and the diverse perspectives LaunchCode candidates bring. 

I also always highlighted the low risk involved and the potential payoff, using Mastercard's early success story as evidence. Soon, other hiring managers wanted to use LaunchCode to fill their own talent gaps and took the chance. 


Q: What role did LaunchCoders themselves play in growing the partnership?

A: LaunchCoders are the fuel that propels the program forward. They bring a diversity of thought, perspective and background to their new responsibilities, which immediately enriches the entire team. They represent resilience, determination and pure hustle – qualities that are invaluable in a dynamic work environment. And the value was seen across the company. Diversity in talent ensures that teams are constantly pushing boundaries, innovating and creating products and processes with all of our customers in mind. 

Hiring LaunchCoders in cohorts also created a unique synergy within our teams. United by a shared experience, we saw our LaunchCoders form a support network and lean on each other while transitioning into their new roles and lives. 

By investing in LaunchCoders, we're not just filling positions; we're cultivating a workforce that's primed for success.


Q: What advice would you give to executives working to build advocacy for LaunchCode within their organization?

A: My advice would be twofold. Firstly, don't underestimate the power of storytelling. Showcasing the impact of initiatives like LaunchCode can inspire others to get involved. In the beginning, it was LaunchCode’s mission and the stories of the talent that really hooked us. But once we got the talent in the door and they got to work, we saw the partnership as smart business. LaunchCode’s model reduces the risk of a bad entry-level hire, and at the same time, creates an internal pipeline of talent. 

Secondly, commit to ongoing assessment and feedback to ensure the program remains responsive to both the needs of LaunchCoders and the organization. As our partnership with LaunchCode grew, we continued to work closely with them to voice our needs – what skills were hot now? What skills would we need three years from now? Where are the gaps? LaunchCode is not just a talent vendor, they are a partner and truly care about how LaunchCoders contribute to your success as a company. 



Curious how you can partner with LaunchCode and bring on new talent?