Spark Mentor Spotlight with Zachary Guffey

Zachary Guffey is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in federal policy analysis. He received his bachelors degree and masters in public policy from Duke University. He currently lives in Washington, DC and enjoys running, cooking, and classical musical composition.

Through Spark’s partnership with YearUp, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for young adults, Zachary mentors a member of YearUp’s program. YearUp participants complete job training and internship placements aligned with their career goals.

Why did you become a mentor? 

In the summer of 2017, I participated in the DukeEngage program, which pairs undergraduate students at Duke University with nonprofits around the world for a hands-on internship experience. I spent my DukeEngage internship in Seattle volunteering with YearUp Puget Sound. I loved the team there and found YearUp’s mission of crossing the opportunity divide both inspiring and impactful. Fast forward to 2022 and my surprise in seeing an email from my employer requesting YearUp mentor volunteers. Signing up was an easy decision.

How long have you been mentoring with Spark the Journey? 

I’ve been a mentor since summer 2022.

What activities do you do with your mentee?

Given the distance between my mentee and me, our most frequent activities are catching up over phone calls and video chats.

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

Getting to know my mentee! YearUp provides an amazing opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds you may not interact with outside of the program. Getting to hear about what drew my mentee to YearUp and what they’ve learned so far from the program has been incredibly inspiring.

What is one of your mentee’s dreams? 

My mentee hopes to gain a Security+ certification and secure a full-time job offer once his internship ends.

How are you helping them achieve it? 

I’ve connected my mentee with several individuals who have completed their Security+ certification at my firm and provided advice on managing professional relationships during job transitions.

How has Spark helped you in your mentoring relationship? 

Spark provides great training programs for mentors and is always very responsive to any questions I have about the program, my mentee, or avenues for further engagement.

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

To do it! Mentoring is a phenomenal way to meet new people and make an immediate impact in someone’s life. Even if you think you don’t have much to offer, or you’re early on in your career, those can all be positives to build a relationship with your mentee around. For example, as someone early on in their career, I’ve recently gone through internship and full-time recruitment processes – I distinctly remember what it’s like to write a cover letter and resume. These are invaluable experiences and insights for my mentee that mentors later in their career might not as readily draw upon.