Career Launch

 OUR STORY

Although Career Launch was founded in 2018, the substance and origins of our programs were founded during Sean O'Keefe’s undergraduate years. After attending Diablo Valley Community College he transferred to University of California, Santa Barbara. With the advice of a professor, he began using the “Student Card” to proactively earn three highly competitive internships and then a job upon graduation — despite not having connections or the best grades.

Feeling fortunate and grateful, at the age of 30 Sean began paying it forward by teaching as an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University.  Due to his efforts helping many students land the internships and jobs they wanted without connections, Sean was asked to design and teach a class for students in the university’s first-generation student program.
"Sean has an innate passion and energy for his work and to impact students at scale. Students respond so strongly to him, his influence and support in a way I've rarely seen on a college campus. He continues to build capacity around his work to inspire students to have agency in creating their future."

- Rose Nakamoto, Director of Career Services 
@ Santa Clara University
Sean O'Keefe pictured with Rose Nakamoto
With the urging of Dr. Erin Kimura-Walsh, Director of the First-Generation Student Program, Sean started developing the framework for this social enterprise. In 2018, Career Launch and Empowered Students were born to scale impact nationwide. Marieli Rubio was one the early students to participate and implement the Career Launch Method. As a sophomore Civil Engineering first-generation student, she followed the method, built professional relationships from scratch, and earned a competitive paid civil engineering internship after her sophomore year. The internship was a great experience that boosted Marieli's self-confidence and propelled her to receive multiple internship and job offers prior to graduation. Two of those offers were from Career Launch: first an internship and then a full-time offer to become a partner and director.

During spring and fall of 2019, Sean and Marieli were invited to speak at conferences and provide keynotes to share about our methods, frameworks, programs, partnerships and success stories. Then, in summer 2019, they received encouragement and funding from Santa Clara University to accelerate their goal of impacting 1 million students by 2025.

This goal will be achieved by partnering with higher education and career development programs. We are proud to have partnerships with 2-year and 4-year colleges, public and private universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. We are especially proud to serve students of all majors & programs of study, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students pursuing all kinds of industries and job types.
Founder Sean O'Keefe

About Sean O'Keefe

About Sean O'Keefe

  About Our Team

Sean O'Keefe is the Founder, Partner and Chief Impact Officer for Career Launch and the Co-Founder and Director of Impact for Empowered Students. The two organizations operate as a mission-driven social enterprise.  Sean is also an award winning Professor of Business Communication at Santa Clara University. In 2020, Sean teamed up with his colleague, Professor Barry Posner, a researcher and best-selling author of The Leadership Challenge and The Student Leadership Challenge, to conduct their first annual nationwide research survey called "Networking & Career Readiness of College Students: A Nationwide Survey." 

NACE and the Career Leadership Collective recognized the research as the first of its kind and NACE asked for the results to be published in their quarterly journal.  Due to Sean's impact on students, Career Launch's partnerships nationwide, and the research, he received several offers to publish his first book, which is coming in 2021. 

Sean is an innovative and service-oriented leader and teacher.  He has unique expertise on the confluence of career education, student employment outcomes, how to teach cold & warm networking, frictionless online learning, career development partnership programs, micro-learning, scaffolded teaching, career readiness competencies, and how to embed career education into course curricula and co-curricular programming.

Sean regularly speaks, trains, writes and consults for colleges, universities, and career education nonprofits and government agencies. His specialty involves teaching students how to build professional relationships from scratch, as well as providing advanced training to faculty and career counselors how to effectively teach networking to their students. Sean’s reputation as a speaker is built on his openness to be vulnerable and communicate authentically. He loves to share both researched-back data and evidence-based success stories of his former students. He is a thought-leader with the uncommon ability to both inspire organizations and audiences and provide them with practical takeaway strategies. 

Sean has a BA in Communication from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a MBA from Santa Clara University.  Sean enjoyed 14 years in business prior to his switch into higher education.  He served in leadership roles for nine years and has hired over 40 employees/interns and interviewed over 300 candidates. His first job out of college was in the business development department for the Oakland A's baseball team. Then, he spent seven years as Vice President for Shamrock Office Solutions. During college, Sean earned internships with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's, and San Francisco Giants — without having any connections or the best grades. Sean lives in Northern California with his wife, whom he met in the third grade, and their two children. 
Founder Sean O'Keefe

About Marieli Rubio

About Marieli Rubio

  About Our Team

Marieli Rubio is a Partner and Director of Impact for Career Launch. As a first-generation college student at Santa Clara University she was taught the Career Launch Method directly from Sean when she was a sophomore. Marieli immediately began to create a professional network from scratch. In doing so, she earned a competitive internship within a civil engineering division of a prominent construction company between her sophomore and junior year. Marieli reflects, “It was a life-changing experience, it opened my eyes to the realities of what I was learning in the classroom and it increased my self-confidence for my career going forward.”

In early 2019, Sean asked Marieli to co-present at the California Work Experience and Internships Association’s annual conference. It was a huge success. As a result of their talk, they were asked to give a keynote at a conference for California Community Colleges in June 2019. That led to many other opportunities for Marieli, including a Partnerships Coordinator position with Career Launch during Summer 2020. To no one’s surprise, she excelled in the partnerships role. The first partnership she coordinated was with UC San Diego.

Marieli is passionate about empowering students to start their career search early and overcome the barrier of not having professional relationships. She loves helping other colleges, universities, and career programs scale their impact in these areas.

In fall 2020, Marieli co-founded the “Virtual STEM for Latina Girls” Initiative at Third Street Community Center in San Jose to provide mentorship and workshops. She continues to be an advocate for minorities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields.  

Marieli will be receiving her BS in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University. Outside of her social impact efforts, Marieli enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and traveling.  

Sean & Marieli's Speaking, Training, and Advisory Specialties

For Students


Networking for Career Success

The Future of Work Meets Career Readiness

How to Perfect the Career Conversation

Personal Brand & LinkedIn Best Practices

Advanced Interviewing Skills

Professional Development Tips and Must Do's

Effective Business Communication

For Admins, Counselors and/or Faculty


How to Drive Improved Retention Rates & Employment Outcomes

The Future of Work Meets Career Readiness

How to Teach Networking to Students so they Can Access the 80% of Jobs in the Hidden Job Market

3 Must-Do's to Increase Internships for Students in all Majors/Programs of Study
 
How to Serve More Than Just the Highly Motivated Students on Your Campus

For Students

For Admins, Counselors and/or Faculty


Networking for Career Success

The Future of Work Meets Career Readiness

How to Perfect the Career Conversation

Personal Brand & LinkedIn Best Practices

Advanced Interviewing Skills

Professional Development Tips and Must Do's

Effective Business Communication


How to Drive Improved Retention Rates & Employment Outcomes

The Future of Work Meets Career Readiness

How to Teach Networking to Students so they Can Access the 80% of Jobs in the Hidden Job Market

3 Must-Do's to Increase Internships for Students in all Majors/Programs of Study
 
How to Serve More Than Just the Highly Motivated Students on Your Campus

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