Girish Bablani - "I'm a lifer at Microsoft. I started working here more than 25 years ago, so one of the things I'm passionate about is doing incubations. I had the opportunity to work with William Adams, he was part of my team, and he came and said we should do an incubation around how we recruit, especially around diverse personnel."

William Adams - "And thus was birthed the idea of [Microsoft] Leap. It started from a business objective of improving the inclusion and diversity of our engineering workforce and it's led to a solution where we thought outside the box and went for creating something that was unique."

Chun Lu - "We are sharing the same passion, the same vision about bringing more nontraditional talent into the technology industry and profession. Those individuals are truly hidden gems, they all share the same passion, logical thinking, problem solving, perseverance, grit, resilience. All these attributes are hugely impactful to the success of all engineering workforce. What they are looking for is the opportunity."

Yolanda Natal Santos - "The [Microsoft] Leap program adheres to an apprenticeship model. The first four weeks is in a structured learning environment. They are then assigned a lead and a mentor and the next 12 weeks are when an apprentice transitions into the team. They're involved in either a direct project for the betterment of that team, or they might be assigned to the team to help ship a feature."

Kabir Khan - "I was going to Coding Dojo in Bellevue and the [Microsoft] Leap program came in and told us about this wonderful magical program at Microsoft where they were accepting people from programming boot camps with diverse backgrounds and I was like sign me up today. Primarily the thing that I thought was super cool was just the diversity that we had."

Steve Deddens - "I spent 50 years flying airplanes all over the world. I retired and learned programming myself, all self-taught. I reached out to the [Microsoft] Leap program as an opportunity and a chance to work with some of the most talented people in the world. They found something in me, and I found something in Microsoft."

Rana Elgendy - "I was very confused and concerned about working and leaving my kids. All of these concerns, it vanished. They were not just focusing on your technical training, they are also focusing on you as a person."

William Adams - "So the back of our badges for every employee says "Our mission, empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more." That mission, I think, is almost a headline banner for why [Microsoft] Leap. We're increasing the breadth by saying, well, diversity and inclusion is everywhere."

Chun Lu - "We built the first phase of our development as a solid foundation in the United States, primarily focused in Redmond, from a discipline perspective, software engineer, technical PM, support engineer. We are actually going to the phase two, which is acceleration, meaning from the discipline and geographic expansion."

William Adams - "It seemed like a logical next step for us to say, well, let's try to do something in Africa. Let's see if we can do engineering there. This continent as a whole has a wealth of talent there. I'm talking about the wealth of cultures, languages, political systems."

Chun Lu - "When we think about the Africa talent market, the [Microsoft] Leap program is focused on engineers. We want to push and inspire engineers who have the best insights about what are the current challenges to look for the opportunities using modernized technology in addressing agriculture solutions."

William Adams - "And the ultimate in inclusion is if we can have a development center in Africa, not just bring everyone to Redmond, we can do this in Detroit, or Atlanta, or Tennessee, or Virginia, or Puerto Rico. Inclusion is about being in the community, not just transforming the community to be you."

Fatima Kardar - "[Microsoft] Leap is not for a limited few people. It's not for the people who were at the right place at the right time with the right exposure or the right skillset. We need to make sure that everybody, regardless of geographically where they might be, how much money they had growing up, what kind of exposures they had, who you know, it is important that everybody be part of that benefit. And it is only with programs like [Microsoft] Leap who are able to think outside the traditional box. I think as a company it is important for us to make sure that we bring all people along with us on the journey. That's the only way we can succeed."

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