Meet the Team

Dakia Kelly-Adams
Associate Director, Office of Smith Programs and Events l Program Manager, Office of Diversity Initiatives

Dakia Kelly-Adams is the associate director 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. She also assists in the development of marketing plans for events, venue marketing for rentals at Smith campuses and other related marketing projects. Dakia has over 10 years of experience in the events industry – managing weddings, conferences, meetings and special events for social, corporate, non-profit, and educational clients.

In addition, she is a program manager for the Office of Diversity Initiatives where she works to develop event programming that supports the Smith School's role in contributing to a diverse and inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff.

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 currently is a December 2018 candidate for the Executive Master’s of Public Management at the University of Maryland, School of Public Policy.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting museums, and experiencing new restaurants and eateries in her city, Washington, D.C.

Brittany Van Ness
Event Manager

Brittany Van Ness is an event manager in the Office of Smith Programs and Events at 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, MS '15
Event Coordinator

Jack Blaney is an event coordinator in 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 and budgeting while managing on-site logistics.

Prior to coming 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. His position also involved monitoring and reporting receptivity to marketing initiatives designed to drive awareness and engagement. Additionally, his previous experience includes marketing, customer relationship management and agency work.

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 in 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 downtime, Marlo enjoys working out, hula hooping, traveling abroad, and watching the Food Network.