Awards Connecticut People

Olenick Named 2016 Women in Biz Honoree

Mary Jo Olenick, AIA of The S/L/A/M Collaborative (lower left) with the 2016 Women in Business Honorees

Mary Jo Olenick, AIA, of The S/L/A/M Collaborative (lower left)
with the 2016 Women in Business honorees

Glastonbury, CT – Mary Jo Olenick, AIA, principal, chief marketing officer, and member of the board of directors of The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) has been named a 2016 Women in Business honoree at the 14th annual Women in Business Luncheon.

Through an annual Women in Business awards program, the Hartford Business Journal recognizes strong and remarkable business women in leadership roles throughout central Connecticut who have mastered their industries and are admired in the community. These women are later honored at the luncheon.

Olenick is dedicated to programming, planning, and design for national colleges, universities, and academic medical centers. She has spent most of her career at SLAM, with more than 30 years of experience, first working as a project architect and project manager and eventually specializing in programming.


She pioneered the firm’s Outcomes-Based Planning and Programming process, a metrics-oriented approach designed to help clients assess the value of complex outcomes such as the ability to attract and retain highly qualified faculty, increase funding, and enhance national reputation, in the early phases of pre-design and throughout each project.

Olenick works closely with key stakeholders and users to understand each project’s unique needs, aligning space with institutional vision, and collaborating with the entire team to formulate the best possible design solution. A noteworthy accomplishment of her career is the establishment and maintenance of an up-to-date higher education benchmarking database. Through this achievement, she is considered an expert speaking on project benchmarking and the latest educational trends throughout the country.

“Younger staff look up to Mary Jo as an accomplished leader in our organization. Her authenticity reinforces the idea that leadership is not a one-size-fits-all proposition,” says Robert Pulito, AIA, President of SLAM. “Her professionalism and expertise with analytics and data investigation, conceptual thinking, and presentation skills make her one of the most impactful and recognized women in our industry helping secure SLAM’s position as a leader in higher education design.”

Olenick’s projects range from collaborative teaching facilities and high-tech academic research centers, to human-scaled, contextual residential complexes for institutions including, most recently, the Duke University Trent Semans Center for Health Education; the Western Michigan University School of Medicine; Emory University’s School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health; the University of Texas – Austin Medical District Master Plan and Dell Medical School; the University of Notre Dame Campus Crossroads Project; SUNY at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; University of Cincinnati, Rhodes Hall Alumni Engineering Center; the University of Utah Medical Education and Discovery Building; University of Iowa College of Pharmacy; and the multiple award-winning Providence College Ruane Center for the Humanities, among others.

She is a frequent speaker at conferences including the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), Tradeline, and she was the first guest blogger on design issues for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Olenick has had extensive involvement with SCUP where she served as a reviewer for the SCUP conference for more than a decade with her responsibilities including reviewing proposals for concurrent sessions for the national conference. In addition to SCUP, she is active in the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC); Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE); and serves on the advisory board for the Architectural, Engineering, Technology program at the University of Hartford. She is also a founding member and has served on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Chapter of Professional Women in Construction, Inc.