In Real Life Blog Series: Bringing Mentoring to the Workplace

Rachelle Damminger, Director of Communications, Spark
July 1st, 2016
Posted In: In Real Life

Mentoring can happen in moments big and small.  Think back to the guidance you received from that experienced colleague during critical moments when navigating your career path, and how that relationship empowered you.  This July, we’ll share resources, stories and tips that illustrate how you can pay-it-forward through mentoring and help youth build a foundation of knowledge as they embrace their journey to success.  This post recognizes Cornerstone OnDemand Co-Founder Perry Wallack, and the important work he’s done in support of our young people.

Perry (1)With more than 300 mentorships to their name, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Spark’s partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand began with just four students in 2012.  While this growth has been the result of efforts from 195 mentors, the well-rounded corporate partnership can be traced back to the leadership of the company’s Co-Founder, Perry Wallack.

From day one, Wallack has demonstrated his belief in the power of mentoring by “walking the talk” as a Spark mentor.  “All of us here have been very fortunate because we’ve had opportunities along the way—Spark was a way for us to collectively provide access and opportunity for students who have not been so lucky,” Wallack said.

“I personally got involved because everything I’ve done to be successful in the business world entailed me rolling up my sleeves and leading by example.  If I was really going to set an example for my company, for my community, and for my family, I had to be a mentor myself.”

A national nonprofit with programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, Spark teengages underserved seventh and eighth grade students, keeping them on track and ready for success in high school and beyond through workplace-based mentorships that uniquely combine mentoring, project-based learning, skill building and career exploration.

11845322456_86e9448bc1_o (1)As a global leader in cloud-based talent management software solutions, Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) mentors open their office to Spark students for one-to-one, project-based mentoring that exposes young adolescents to a variety of career possibilities.  Students spend two hours in the headquarters office each week during a 10-week period in the fall and spring.

Under his leadership, Cornerstone OnDemand and Spark continue to find new and deeper ways to partner – with CSOD providing critical funding, mentors and strategic guidance. When looking for a software partner to support Spark’s scaling efforts, Cornerstone OnDemand seemed an obvious choice.

In 2014, Spark was awarded a Strategic Partnership grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation to develop a new online learning portal for students, mentors and educators called Spark Online. An evolution of Spark’s program delivery model, Spark Online provides resources to students, mentors and educators and recently launched throughout the organization’s nationwide network.

Spark remains grateful for Wallack’s genuine enthusiasm, time spent volunteering as a mentor and dedicated leadership.  His commitment to Spark has resulted in more than 8,500 hours of volunteer service from employees and built one of the organization’s leading partnerships.


9 million young people in America are in need of a trusted adult in their lives to guide them in moments big and small. Join the In Real Life movement and become an advocate, make a donation or become a volunteer.

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