Meet the Team

Terrill L. Drake, EMBA '12
Executive Director and Senior Advisor

Terrill Drake is the Executive Director for programs and special events overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Office of Smith Programs and Events and the execution of more than 200 conferences, meetings and special events annually supported by the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In this role, he provides leadership and strategic insight for all Smith School events by directing the logistical, creative and planning processes. In addition, he is responsible for the financial modeling and reconciliation, including contract negotiation, to ensure the budgetary success of events. Terrill has over ten years of experience in the industry with a variety of conferences, meetings, special events, reunions, receptions and weddings. His background includes sales, marketing, event management, logistics and operations.

Prior to joining the Smith School, he served as the director of corporate and community events for the University of Maryland Alumni Association. As director, he was instrumental in the grand opening and day-to-day event operations of the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. His responsibilities included marketing, sales, event management and staff supervision for more than 500 events annually. Terrill is a graduate of the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business with an Executive MBA and earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, running, biking and playing tennis.

Dakia Kelly Adams
Assistant Director of Events and Project Management 

Dakia Kelly Adams is the Assistant Director of Events and Project Management with the Office of Smith Programs and Events at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In her role, she manages a portfolio of school wide events focused on career services events. In addition, she assists in the development of marketing plans for events, venue marketing for rentals at Smith campuses and other related marketing projects. Dakia has over seven years of experience in the industry – managing weddings, conferences, meetings, and special events for social, corporate, non-profit, and educational clients.

Prior to joining the Smith School, she served as the Assistant Director of Events and Marketing for the University of Maryland Alumni Association. In this position, she provided event planning services and managed event logistics for over 100+ events a year at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Additionally, she grew the event business through new marketing initiatives for wedding, special event, non-profit, and campus clients. Dakia graduated magna cum laude from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, healthy eating, yoga, and reading home design blogs and books.

Aubrey McLaughlin
Senior Manager, Events and CEO@Smith Signature Series

Aubrey McLaughlin is a Senior Manager for the Office of Special Programs and Events assisting in the planning, logistics, and execution of over 300 events annually within the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In this role, Aubrey serves as the liaison for a multitude of departments and clients requesting event, conference, and program services. She is responsible for administrative support, room requests and reservations, attendee participation, client and customer service, and the coordination and execution of day of event services. Aubrey has over six years of industry experience managing weddings and non-profit events.

Prior to joining the UMD team, she served as a wedding coordinator for one of the most respected and top ranked wedding companies in Pittsburgh. In this position, Aubrey handled a variety of elaborate weddings of varying cultures, guest counts, and budget needs. Her position involved logistic management, budget forecasting, and vendor and client management. Additionally, her experience also includes recruitment, sales, and account management. Aubrey graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Rhetoric, with special concentrations in Business Administration and Economics.

In her spare time, Aubrey enjoys spending time with family, playing lacrosse, working out, and socializing with friends.

Brittany Van Ness
Event Manager

Brittany Van Ness is an Event Manager for The Office of Smith Programs and Events hosted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business.  She provides administrative support with room reservations, event planning and logistics, and on-site management. 

Previously, Brittany functioned as an Executive Sales Assistant for a full-service, premium catering firm. Operating in Washington, D.C., Brittany assisted in the planning and execution of hundreds of events throughout the city in sites such as Smithsonian Museums, historic theaters, and government institutions.  After planning events ranging from small and intimate private dinners to corporate functions for over 4,000 guests, Brittany has experience in a variety of settings and scales. 

Brittany earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida - Go Knights! In her free time, she loves to find healthy recipes to cook for friends and family and likes any excuse to spend time outdoors.

Jack Blaney
Event Coordinator 

Jack Blaney is an Event Coordinator for The Office of Smith Programs and Events at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In this role, Jack provides support for a growing portfolio of approximately 300 events and programs managed by the OSPE team. Jack coordinates the planning process of these events by providing services in venue selection, accommodations, budgeting and event marketing while managing on-site logistics.

Prior to UMD, Jack worked as a Marketing Coordinator/Project Manager at MOKO Social Media. In this position, Jack developed strategy, marketing copy and directed creative for various Papa John’s campaigns. Jack also monitored and reported receptivity to marketing programs designed to drive awareness and engagement. Additionally, his experience includes account management, event coordination and development.

Jack graduated from Georgetown University with a Master’s Degree in Sports Industry Management and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami. In his free time, Jack enjoys watching and playing sports, working out, trying new cuisines and spending time with family and friends.

Marlo Smith
Event Coordinator 

Marlo Smith is an Event Coordinator for the Office of Smith Programs and Events at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In her role, she provides logistical and administrative support, and event coordination for the programs and events managed by the OSPE office. She also assists in the venue marketing and management of rentals at other Smith campuses.

Prior to joining the Smith Events team, she served as a wedding coordinator for a reputable event-planning firm in the Washington, D.C. area. Marlo handled a variety of weddings with an array of populations, cultural distinctiveness, and unique venues to include The White House. Her position involved executing most “day-of” tasks, vendor management, and event logistics. Additionally, her meeting and event experience also includes work with The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond where she focused on video conferencing, travel arrangements, and catering needs. Marlo holds a Master of Science in Management and Marketing from the University of Maryland University College and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Virginia State University.

In her down time, Marlo enjoys working out, hula hooping, traveling abroad and watching the Food Network.