Meet the Erie Together Staff

Benjamin D Wilson

P: 814-870-5413

Ben Wilson currently works as the Division Manager for Workforce Development Services at GECAC. Ben has his Master’s degree in Managerial and Leadership Development with a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Management from Edinboro University.  Ben has many years of experience in working with groups and bringing teams together to collectively work on issues and community concerns.


Ben is a lifelong resident of Erie and is passionate about his community. Ben worked at Sarah Reed Children’s Center for 15 years working with youth with severe mental health issues. Ben also worked with at-risk youth for a short period of time at Eckerd Youth Alternatives in North Carolina.  In addition, Ben has worked with many organizations, managing programs and employee development.


Ben currently lives in Erie and is married and has two daughters


Kathleen Stearns

Getting Ahead Coordinator
P: (814) 459-4581 ext.652

In January 2012, Kathy Stearns began working with Erie Together's Getting Ahead program through GECAC (The Greater Erie Community Action Committee).  Erie Together is a collaborative initiative supported by Mercyhurst University, United Way and GECAC.  In her position, Kathy organizes and facilitates the Getting Ahead Program (formally known as FACT) and is responsible for expanding the program into the broader community.  Training of community partners and facilitators for future Getting Ahead programming is also a designated responsibility. 

Before joining the Erie Together Team Kathy worked for GECAC through a grant made available through the Erie County Department of Health evaluating the Northwest Regional Tobacco Control Program.   Duties in this role included visiting and retrieving data from service providers, hiring and coordinating activities with an outside research firm and driving the process to the finish line by delivering a final conclusive summary.  Previous to this sub-contracted position Kathy served as Project Coordinator for the Erie County Health Department in Tobacco Control.  This role included advocacy efforts w/ local and state legislators to help pass the PA Clean Indoor Air Act, supervision of service providers, monitoring of provider contracts and budget items and the purchase of paid advertising and media oversight.

In her earlier career Kathy worked for several managed care operations including Independent Health and Hamot .  Marketing Representative and broker trainer were titles associated with these roles. Kathy acquired her PA Health Insurance License in September of 1988 and attended the GHAA Conference in New Orleans in May of 1988.

Kathy’s initial career start was as a Health and Physical Education Instructor and Coach at The Erie Day School.  She served in this role for ten years and was responsible for developing a Health Curriculum, maintaining a high level of instruction and serving as Athletic Director.

Kathy possesses a B.S. degree from the Pennsylvania State University in Health and Physical Education and additional graduate credits from Gannon and continuing education classes. She is a lifetime certified Facilitator Trainer in Getting Ahead and Bridges Out of Poverty.

Kathy currently resides in southwest Millcreek, is married to Cole and has two sons and a dog named Charlie.


Mary C. Bula

P: 814.456.2937 x231

In April 2012, Mary Bula was named vice president, collective impact at United Way of Erie County and project facilitator for Erie Together. Erie Together was launched in 2009 through a partnership of the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), Mercyhurst University and United Way of Erie County. Through her position, Mary works with community stakeholders and volunteers across Erie County to help prevent and reduce poverty and make the Erie region a community of opportunity where everyone can learn, work and thrive.

Prior to joining United Way and Erie Together, Mary was vice president of the Growth Partnership Division of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP). In her role there, Mary worked with regional CEOs, government officials and other community leaders to advance strategic initiatives that would make a long term impact on the region’s economic vitality. Notable projects in which Mary was engaged include efforts to align K-12 education to careers; leading a public/private partnership with municipal governments in Erie County to enhance public service delivery; helping to create a framework for distributing millions of dollars of Erie County gaming revenue annually; efforts to address the region’s post-secondary education and training gaps; and others.

Prior to the ERCGP, Mary worked for the Center for eBusiness and Advanced IT (eBizITPA). In her primary role as eBizITPA's outreach specialist, she was responsible for developing effective partnerships and programs to promote information technology awareness and use in PA. During her tenure, Mary was instrumental in the drafting and passage of PA Act 88 of 2006, which authorizes local governments to use Internet-based competitive bidding. She then led eBizITPA’s government sales and marketing efforts for the organization’s online competitive bidding and quoting service, eDynaQuote (now Procurex).

Prior to eBizITPA, Mary spent ten years as a local government consultant with the Pennsylvania Economy League. She also served as supervisor of Perseus House, Inc.'s community-based residential treatment program for delinquent and dependent girls in Erie, and as admissions counselor for the University of Pittsburgh - Titusville Campus.

Mary holds a Bachelor's degree from Allegheny College and a Master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She is an accomplished meeting facilitator and is certified to train others in the Dr. Edward de Bono Six Thinking Hats® tools for parallel thinking. She is a graduate of the Leadership Erie Class of 1999, and was recognized as a Young Erie Professionals (yep!) Generation e Leadership Award winner in 2007.

Mary serves on the UPMC Hamot Board of Directors, the Hamot Health Foundation Board of Trustees, the EmergyCare Board of Directors, the Positive Youth Development Advisory Board, the Erie Times-News Newspaper in Education Board of Directors, a local Athena PowerLink® panel, and the Erie Vital Signs Steering Committee. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Erie.


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Recent News

Getting Ahead Program

Earn Money for Attending the 2018 Getting Ahead Program

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Kathy Stearns directly at 459-4581 ext 652 or through e-mail at

May 22nd, 2018

Bridges Out of Poverty Training - FREE

Erie Together is hosting a Bridges Out of Poverty Training on 9/12/17.

May 22nd, 2018

Contact Us

Email Address  

(814) 456-2937