Kylee Mana, Mosaic Center Treasurer

Gerilyn: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

Kylee: We moved to Georgia a little over a year ago, and I started working after finishing my masters. I was about an hour away trying to break into the accounting/finance field. After about six months of driving an hour and just not being fulfilled at work yet, I decided to look around for other options in the Augusta area. Through a connection with you and the accountant we decided to go with for our taxes last year, it kind of just worked out. We were in the right place with good timing. So, that’s how I became a staff accountant here at Summerville. I have a huge passion for the accounting field, and I love numbers and what they can do for people. I just love working with them.

Gerilyn: What is your favorite restaurant in Evans, and what do you love there?

Kylee: So, one of my favorite places is Laziza. I went there on my birthday and again today. I get the same thing every time I’ve gone – chicken shawarma. They have great customer service, and they’re really friendly. We went there right after we moved here. They’ve moved to a bigger location, and they’re making one downtown. It’s really affordable, and their hummus is amazing. Brian loves their jalapeno hummus.

Gerilyn: How long have you gone to church in Evans?

Kylee: Since last Easter, which I think was around March 30th. That’s when I started, and I continue to go to church. I’m not an every week church-goer, but I’m at the church at least three or four times a week. It’s definitely my place.

Gerilyn: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Evans? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Evans, Georgia?

Kylee: I could say my boss, but she’s already been interviewed. I could say you, too. I’m trying to think of who else. I’ve met a lot of really great people. I would say Susan Niklinski. I know she’s worked at the orthodontist’s office, and she’s been there forever. She introduced prayer to their work, and I think she leads prayer requests and different things. I work with her at the GED classes. That’s how I first met her, and she goes to Mosaic. She would be great, and she’s been in the area for a long time. She knows a lot of people and a lot of good things, and she has the heart for it.

Gerilyn: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

Kylee: Europe. I don’t really have one specific country, but I just took my first trip to Macedonia in December. I’m really interested in their culture and their history and, of course, food – food and coffee. Their history is so much older than ours in the United States, so it’s cool to learn from that and bring it back here and apply it.

Gerilyn: What is your favorite movie, or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?

Kylee: I’m going to do both because I don’t have that many. Mulan is the first movie I saw in a theatre as a kid. We were in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they had this huge movie theatre there inside of a mall. I just remember that it was really cool, and it scared me. The Hun jumps through the roof at the end. Yeah, it was really scary. My favorite movie is the movie Hitch with Will Smith. It has a lot of good music, so that’s what I really enjoy about it.

Gerilyn: What advice would you give to a crowd of people?

Kylee: Pick up your trash, and be considerate to the environment. I really like the outdoors, so I would like for it to stay around longer. Just look around and see what needs to be taken care of or picked up.

Gerilyn: What is something on your bucket list?

Kylee: I would like to travel to Patagonia. There’s so much to do and see there, but one trip won’t do it justice. Another one is to visit every national park in the United States.

Gerilyn: What is your favorite music or three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?

Kylee: I think my favorite music genre is soundtracks of musicals and plays. Phantom of the Opera is probably my favorite. If I could have seen it produced in the era it was made in… I’ve seen a couple of Broadway shows, but I would have loved to see the first ones in England when they were first coming out. The staging and the atmosphere… I have a lot of other music interests, but those are not as fun as soundtracks.

Gerilyn: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Evans?

Kylee: Rooted. They have a really great Christian base. I didn’t know it at first, but I think that’s why I felt so welcomed there. I love their wood, their simplicity, their openness of the people, and their open bar area. You can see everything they’re doing, so I think that’s really important. It reminds me of home. It’s kind of off the beaten path.

Gerilyn: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Evans would you have lunch?

Kylee: I would say Denzel Washington, and would take him to Laziza. I would order for him what I got today. I would get two of the lunch specials. I don’t think he’s perfect, but I think he has played a magnitude of roles that don’t cast him as good or bad. He has taken on all roles, and I think that’s really important. I think he’s a super person. He’s humble and quiet, and I like that.

Gerilyn: Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?

Kylee: I see myself taking kids to school in the Columbia County area and raising a family while working part-time and staying relevant to my career field. I’ll kind of be doing the same thing – finding what’s going to work for us for the next twenty to thirty years because we’re almost there. We’re figuring that part out.

Gerilyn: Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

Kylee: Most people that I’ve met in the last ten years after leaving high school and college don’t know that my family makes maple syrup in New York State. We’ve been doing that ever since my sister, Kelsy, was sick. She came out of the hospital, and in the following year my family started making maple syrup as a family event. It ties in with how strong our family has become. You either fall apart with a big thing, or you come together. We were able to come together.

Gerilyn: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home?”

Kylee: Pets. Light, as in natural light, lamps, and the atmosphere that light brings. My happy place.


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