Designing A Career: Tara Carr and Kelly Kinahan ’00

Kelly Kinahan ’00 (left) with current OCC Interior Design student Tara Carr.


Last year, West Genesee grad Tara Carr took part in a mentorship program offered through OCC’s Career Services Office as a way to find out more about her profession of choice, Interior Design. “I was encouraged to take part in the program by one of my professors who thought she had someone in mind that would serve as a good match,” said Carr. That someone was Kelly Kinahan ‘00, of Kinahan Associates LLC, who had done something like this before, but not with an OCC student, and wanted to share her knowledge and passion for the industry.  


“I wanted to share my story to tell Tara that life is not always traditional, but if you surround yourself with people who look out for you that all will turn out okay,” said Kinahan. The mentor program turned out better than either expected as both of them forged a friendship that went beyond the end of the program in May. The two would have lunch from time to time and stay in touch over the summer and when Carr started her sophomore year she wanted to line up an internship during her fourth semester.  


She looked no further than her mentor in order to get the industry experience she was looking for. “It seemed like a perfect fit, and when I asked Kelly about the opportunity of an internship with her company, she was more than happy to complete the paperwork and work on a schedule that would be compatible with my classes.” Thus far, Carr has found the experience beneficial on several fronts most notably, in that she is interested in starting her own business at some point and is also adapting what she learns in the classroom to the business world.  


The opportunity has also been equally beneficial for Kinahan as well. “Seeing Tara grow and be able to trust her with direct client contact has been a great help in freeing me up for business development.” Carr has taken this experience and expanded her portfolio and confidence and is excited for what is next. She will attend Cazenovia College in the fall and with some potential new business for Kinahan may be able to evolve her internship into paid work while obtaining her bachelor’s degree. “It’s been a great experience and I cannot thank Kelly enough for all of her advice, time and confidence in my skills to allow me to take the next step towards my dream.” 


For more information on the OCC mentor program or providing internships, contact Career Services at

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