Spark Mentor Spotlight with Carley Kolker

Carley Kolker is an Account Manager at OneDigital, where she helps employees navigate their health insurance and make the most of the benefits that their employer offers. She grew up in Olney, MD, and then attended the University of South Carolina where she majored in Sport and Entertainment Management. She currently lives in Washington, DC, and enjoys going on long walks exploring the city.

Why did you become a mentor? 

A Spark representative came and spoke at the company I work for. After hearing their mission and what Spark the Journey stood for, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. As a recent grad myself, I understood how difficult navigating college is as well as the internship/job hunting process. I was so lucky to have someone there for me while I went through it, so I knew I wanted to be that for someone else.

How long have you been mentoring with Spark the Journey? 

Since Fall 2021!

What activities do you do with your mentee?

We Facetime a lot and love to talk about movies and TV shows that we’re watching. We’ve visited book stores and we’re also planning a trip to see some museums.

What has been a highlight of your mentoring experience so far? 

My favorite memory was when my mentee, Jamia, handed me a folded piece of paper and it was her report card showing that she got all A’s!

What is one of your mentee’s dreams? 

She wants to work in entertainment and film. It is a huge passion of hers!

How are you helping them achieve it? 

Jamia is really passionate about education and learning. I help her with staying motivated and on track, exploring what options she has and really just being there to provide advice when there’s a bump in the road.

How has Spark helped you in your mentoring relationship? 

Spark has helped provide resources to assist Jamia in her educational journey. It’s amazing to have an organization that cares so much about the students and helps them to succeed in any way they can.

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

Absolutely go for it! It’s not only about what you can do for someone, but also what you can gain from the experience. As much as I have helped Jamia, she has helped me open my eyes to her experience and how even though we have very different backgrounds, there’s still so much we have in common.