With the announcement of Erie’s 2014 40 Under 40, we’re excited to claim a few of those 40 as our very own!
A big congratulations to Mercyhurst alumni Jay Breneman, Kaitlyn Slomski, and Kayti Stadler as well at MU employee Christine Olivier who all made this very impressive list. Thanks for all you do and for making Erie a better place!
Jay Breneman, 31
county councilman / social worker/
Jay makes “killer beer-battered onion rings,” but you probably know him better as the newcomer who stunned Erie’s political establishment by walloping an incumbent county councilman last fall. Originally from Montana, he served in the United States Army before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Mercyhurst University and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. In addition to serving on County Council, he currently works at Edinboro University as a Licensed Social Worker and Coordinator of the Veterans Success Center. “Simply put: it is my job to make sure our veterans have all the tools they need to be successful in their academic career,” he says.
Kayti Stadler, 28
musician / advertising executive
Growing up in Wausau, Wis., Kayti says she didn’t know what to expect when moving to Erie to attend Mercyhurst University to study communications and marketing. Ten years later, she says she now feels complete here. Although she loves to sing – taking lessons beginning at the age of 9 – she knew that she wanted a business career. “I truly believe that we are all put on this Earth to make a difference,” she says. “Through volunteering with the American Cancer Society, being on the Erie Ad Club board, being the ‘Downtown Diva,’ and working as an advertising executive at the Erie Times-News, I feel like I am accomplishing this.” A woman who just started her own singing telegram business, Kayti says the “best part of being involved in all of these things is that I am constantly meeting new and incredible people.” Together, she says, “we choose Erie, we embrace Erie, we all want to make Erie a better place.”
Kaitlyn Slomski, 27
creative director, Niche Team
“Young people are crucial to the development of Erie as a community,” says the Fairview-native. Kaitlyn studied marketing and advertising at Mercyhurst University, obtained an MBA from Gannon University, and serves as the creative director for Niche Team. Aside from her work in the business world, the secretary of Vestry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and Brownie Troop Leader founded The Epilepsy Project in 2012 with the mission to create a network of people in the Erie-area who are affected by epilepsy. She says her hope “is that patients and caregivers know that they have a support group within the region of people who truly know what living with epilepsy is like on a daily basis so that no one feels alone.” And as someone who’s been seizure-free for ten years but is terrified of public speaking, Kaitlyn and her “If I can, I should” attitude is helping create that awareness.
Christine Olivier, 26
director of programming, MIAC
A self-professed beach bum and reality TV fanatic from Mystic, Conn., Christine attended Ithaca College and graduated with a bachelor’s with Departmental Distinction in Theatre Arts Management. Currently, she serves as the Director of Programming at Mercyhurst University’s Institute for Arts & Culture, but her experience includes stints at such well-known arts organizations as the Spoleto Festival and the Steppenwolf Theatre. “Being from a small town myself, I know how easy it is to turn your back on the place you grew up. The true value in Erie’s young population can be found in not only their hope for the future, but their confidence in it!” she says. “Plus, how can you go wrong in a town where the beer is good, the locals are friendly, and the sunsets are the best in the region?”