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Meet Our Event Team

Enjoy Individual Attention & Personalized Service

Plan your events and meetings at the Umstead Hotel and Spa and enjoy the individual attention and personalized service only a five star and five diamond property can provide. Whether you are planning an intimate gathering or a large corporate event, our dedicated and experienced staff works closely with you every step of the way.

Bryn Nicholson headshot

Director of Sales

Bryn Nicholson

Originally from Richmond VA, Bryn came to NC in the fall of 1998 to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating with a B.A. in Communications & Journalism, Bryn spent the next four years in Sales and Marketing for sports radio. Bryn joined the team at The Umstead Hotel and Spa during its preopening phase, and it was there that she began her career in hospitality. For the past nine years, Bryn has worked throughout the hotel as Food and Beverage Manager, Senior Conference Services Manager and now as Director of Sales. Bryn is an avid yogi as well as a lover of the outdoors and her Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs.

Sarah Cunningham headshot

Senior Sales Manager

Sarah Cunningham

Originally from Bel Air, Maryland, Sarah moved to North Carolina in 2004 to attend East Carolina University. After graduating in 2009 with both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications & Public Relations and a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management Conventions & Special Events, she began her hospitality career as the Event and Sales Coordinator for Scarborough Fare in Raleigh. Sarah joined The Umstead Hotel and Spa in 2011, working her way from Catering Sales Manager to Senior Catering Sales Manager before moving into the Sales Department as Group Sales Manager in 2016. She was recently promoted to the title of Senior Sales Manager in the spring of 2018.  In her free time, she enjoys attending events in the area, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family.

Hallie Farrell headshot

Group Sales Manager

Hallie Farrell

Hallie is originally from Wake Forest, North Carolina. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, she began working in Conference Services at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. With experience in both the Healthcare and Technology industries, Hallie joined The Umstead Hotel & Spa in the fall of 2016 as a Group Sales Manager. She is an avid animal lover with two rescue dogs, and loves anything on the water, reading a good book, and cooking without recipes.

Carey Jaquez headshot

Senior Conference Services Manager

Carey Jaquez

Beginning her career at The Umstead Hotel and Spa as part of the pre-opening team in 2006, Carey has worked throughout the hotel, both in the front office and the catering department. She has spent the past ten years in Conference Services, serving as our Senior Conference Services Manager since 2011. Raised in Cary, NC and earning her Bachelors of Science degree at Meredith College in Raleigh, Carey’s vast knowledge of the area is extremely helpful to guests planning their stay. Carey is a lover of local entertainment, trying out new healthy recipes, and all things Taylor Swift!

Lauren Avery headshot

Conference Services Manager

Lauren Avery

Prior to her role as Conference Services Manager, Lauren has served as both the Assistant Food & Beverage Manager and Herons AM Manager since joining The Umstead in 2014. Born in Greenville, North Carolina, she graduated from East Carolina University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management in addition to studying Sustainable Tourism in Quito, Ecuador. With a passion for the industry and bringing her clients vision to life, she also enjoys painting and being outdoors.

Terri Nier headshot

Director of Catering

Terri Nier

As a third generation Raleigh Native, Terri Nier brings more than 20 years of local food and beverage knowledge to her position as Director of Catering. Joining the team in March of 2018, Terri provides a wealth of industry knowledge and hospitality experience, having previously worked at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center, 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, NC, the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC, and most recently as the Private Events Director at the City Club Raleigh. When not working, Nier enjoys spending time with her husband and son, discovering new restaurants, and cheering on the Tar Heels.

Alex headshot

Catering Sales Manager

Alexandra Bentzon

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Alex attended Florida Atlantic University as a member of the Women’s Division 1 Soccer Team where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Public Communications and Hospitality Management as well as an International Business Certificate. Alex began her career in hospitality planning events at FAU followed by catering and event management at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. Alex moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and joined The Umstead Hotel & Spa team as a Conference Services Manager in fall of 2017 before being promoted to the role of Catering Sales Manager in the winter of 2019. In addition to her passion for food and creating new dishes at home, she loves spending time outdoors and immersing herself in new cultures while traveling.

Kayla Bower headshot

Social Catering Manager

Kayla Bower

Kayla is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of Appalachian State University. Before joining The Umstead in January of 2018 as a Herons Server, Kayla served as the Director of Catering and Special Events for Linville Ridge Country Club in western NC as well as the Food & Beverage Manager of Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC. She was promoted in July of 2018 to Assistant Bar & Lounge Manager before accepting her position as Social Catering Manager. Her driven approach and a commitment to excellence have earned her great respect among her teammates and fellow colleagues.

Rockelle Gelety headshot

Sales and Catering Coordinator

Rockelle Gelety

Originally from Ohio, Rockelle moved to Cary, North Carolina before becoming a nationally ranked competitive gymnast. After graduating from East Carolina University, she returned home to further her professional career in the food & beverage industry before joining the Herons team in 2016 as the lead hostess. Presently, Rockelle is the Sales & Catering Coordinator for The Umstead Hotel and Spa. Rockelle is a lover of her family, expanding her knowledge of fine bourbons, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.