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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.

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 sixteen years, Bryn has worked throughout the hotel as Food and Beverage Manager, Senior Conference Services Manager, Senior Group Sales Manager and now as Director of Sales.  Bryn graduated in May 2022 with her Masters of Science, Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Management from East Carolina University.  She and her husband live in Cary with their three children and three rescue dogs.

Group Sales Manager

Rachael McGinnis

Originally from Madison, VA, Rachael graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After graduation she moved to southern California where she worked as an Event Coordinator for California Center for the Arts. In 2018 she was introduced to and began her career in the Luxury Travel Industry, where she was able to work closely with luxury hoteliers across the globe. Upon relocating to North Carolina, Rachael joined The Umstead Hotel and Spa as the Group Sales Manager. In her free time she enjoys escaping to the beach, reading a mystery novel and drinking a spicy margarita! She currently resides in Raleigh with her husband and German Shorthaired Pointer puppy.

Conference Services Manager

Hannah Benjock

Originally from Concord, NC, Hannah moved to Raleigh to attend North Carolina State University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. She joined The Umstead as Rooms Division intern in January 2019, and moved up through the Front Office department in several roles, most recently as Front Office Assistant Manager. In her role as Conference Services Manager, Hannah uses her attention to detail and thorough communication to create successful events. Outside of work, you can find Hannah outdoors staying active or enjoying live music.

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.

Catering Sales Manager

Neil Curiel

Originally from Fort Myers, Florida, Neil is a proud graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Resort and Hospitality Management. He has spent over 15 years working in various roles throughout the hospitality industry in Southwest Florida. Neil’s background ranges from running marketing and PR for various attractions, sales and conference services for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, group sales for other hotel properties, as well as running major events and block parties for the downtown Fort Myers business alliance. After moving to North Carolina in early 2021, Neil joined the reception team at the Umstead Hotel and Spa and quickly worked his way to his role as Corporate Catering Sales Manager. Neil’s love for the hospitality and tourism industry doesn’t stop at his job. You will likely find him spending his free time traveling throughout the world as an avid roller coaster enthusiast!

Kayla Bower headshot

Director of Catering

Kayla Turner

Kayla began her career in the mountains of North Carolina after attending Appalachian State University. Kayla served as the Food & Beverage Director of Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC as well as the Director of Catering and Special Events for Linville Ridge Country Club in Linville, NC. In January of 2018, Kayla joined The Umstead and has worked throughout the hotel as a Herons Server, Assistant Bar and Lounge Manager, and more than three years as the Social Catering Manager before accepting her new role as Director of Catering in June of 2022. As a native of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Kayla enjoys splitting her time between beach and mountain trips with her husband and senior rescue dog, as well as finding new spots for live music around the triangle.

Group Sales Manager

Maddy Mize

Raleigh native, Maddy is a proud pirate graduate from East Carolina University and received a B.S. in Hospitality Management in 2020. Through her passion for travel and new experiences, Maddy quickly found her niche in the luxury industry while studying sustainable tourism in Ireland. Maddy joined The Umstead team following graduation and has worked in the Spa, Reservations, and most recently, as the Sales and Catering Coordinator before accepting her role as Group Sales Manager. Outside of the office, you can often find Maddy spending time with friends and family, exploring local businesses, and enjoying sunny days on the golf course!