Executive Committee

Executive Committee Responsibilities 

Staff Senate officers are elected by the Senate membership for a term of one (1) year by written or voice nomination during the last regular monthly meeting of each year.

The executive committee meets a minimum of five times during each term year to:

  • Set the agenda for Staff Senate meetings
  • Prepare and submit reports on the work of the Staff Senate to the UMB President, the Council of University System Staff (CUSS), and the UMB community
  • Be a point of contact with the UMB president
  • Recommend to the Staff Senate the establishment, composition, and responsibilities of standing and/or special committees; fill irregular vacancies on committees; and recommend participation in campus committees
  • Manage the Staff Senate's annual operating budget as provided for the costs of duplicating, printing, mailing, supplies, etc.
  • Perform such functions as given by the Staff Senate

President of the Staff Senate

Aaron Graham, JD

Associate Director, Career Development

Francis King Carey School of Law



Overview: As President, Aaron presides at all meetings of the senate, finalizes the agenda of each senate meeting, and serves as chief liaison to UMB President Dr. Bruce Jarrell, and other senior leadership. Additionally, Aaron provides the Staff Senate with vision, strategy, and direction by leading the Executive Committee and Senate in areas of strategic planning, accountability, and decision-making.


Learn more about Aaron 

Aaron Graham is the Associate Director of Career Development at the Francis King Carey School of Law. In this role, he advises students on conducting effective job searches for legal careers and assists with the development and implementation of Career Development Office recruitment and educational programming for private and public sector career opportunities.  Prior to joining Maryland Carey Law, Aaron served as the Director of Legal Recruiting for the Baltimore branch of Special Counsel, where he connected local attorneys, law school students, and recent graduates with regional corporations, law firms, and offices.  Before joining Special Counsel, he also worked for Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, advocating on behalf of plaintiffs in toxic tort litigation.  Aaron earned his JD from New York Law School, and his BA in English from the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Vice President of the Staff Senate

Shawnta Privette, MSL

Police Communications Supervisor

UMB Police and Public Safety



Overview: As Vice President, Shawnta assists the Staff Senate President and performs the duties of the president in his absence. She also facilitates presentations to inform the senate body on upcoming, present, or past events that affect the University and staff, and serves as senate parliamentarian. She advises the Staff Senate President and other officers, committees, and senators on matters of parliamentary procedure to ensure that meetings are conducted according to the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Learn more about Shawnta 

Shawnta Privette is a seasoned professional who has dedicated her career to the field of public safety communication. With an extensive background spanning over two decades, she has played a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of various communities. In 2016, Shawnta joined the University of Maryland Baltimore Police Department as the Police Communication Operator Supervisor. In this pivotal role, she oversees the University of Maryland Baltimore Communication Center Operators, managing their activities and ensuring efficient operations. Additionally, she takes charge of the external infrastructure that supports campus security, further bolstering safety measures.

headshot of Tom Hockensmith

Secretary of the Staff Senate

Tom Hockensmith, MA

Executive Director of Central Administration IT Services

Center for Information Technology Services



Overview: As Secretary, Tom is responsible for maintaining and distributing accurate records regarding all official business conducted by the Staff Senate, including meeting agendas, minutes, and attendance records.

Learn more about Tom 

Tom Hockensmith, MA (he, him, his), works for Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) as the Executive Director overseeing support across Central Administration units. Tom has 18 years of experience working here at UMB and holds a BA in Computer Science as well as an MA in Information Technology. He is comfortable engaging at all levels of the organization and in bridging the gap between end user needs and technical capabilities. In his spare time, Tom enjoys working outdoors and spending time with his family.

headshot of Nia Speaks

Equity and Action Officer

Nia Speaks

Senior Business Manager

University of Maryland School of Social Work



Overview: As Equity and Action Officer, Nia is responsible for leading the Staff Senate’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.  She ensures that the Staff Senate’s equity and inclusion goals align with the UMB's core values of equity and justice.  

Learn more about Nia 

Nia Speaks is the Senior Business Manager at the The Center for Restorative Change at the School of Social Work. She manages and supports the department’s operations including specialized trainings and workshops, grant-funded projects focused on community engagement, hiring and onboarding new staff as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Speaks enjoys building relationships with University staff and external partners. She is also a member of the Mid-Atlantic Anti-Oppression Social Work Coalition, a collaboration of social work professionals from several regional universities and social work practitioners who are committed to disrupting oppression in all forms. Speaks is also involved in other DEI initiatives within the School of Social Work and in Howard County, Md.

headshot of Elizabeth Main

Communications Officer

Elizabeth Main, MPA

Associate Director, Sustainability

Facilities and Operations



Overview: As Communications Officer, Elizabeth chairs the senate’s Communications Committee, contributes to The Elm, and serves on the UMB Communications Council. She is responsible for the development, management, and execution of all Staff Senate communications, and oversees Staff Senate social media accounts.

Learn more about Elizabeth 

Elizabeth joined UMB in September 2021 as the Associate Director for Sustainability in Facilities and Operations. In this role, she helps to develop and implement a wide range of strategic university-wide sustainability projects and initiatives focused on a variety of environmental topics, including energy, waste, and engagement.

Elizabeth came to UMB from the University of Pennsylvania's sustainability team, where she managed sustainability outreach, engagement, and communications initiatives. While working at Penn, Elizabeth completed her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the school’s Fels Institute of Government. Elizabeth is originally from central Virginia and holds a BS degree in Environmental Sciences and a BA in Global Studies: Environments + Sustainability from the University of Virginia.

headshot of Taylor DeBoer


Taylor DeBoer, MA

Assistant Director

Graduate Research Innovation District



Overview: As Member-at-Large, Taylor serves as a representative of all senators to the Executive Committee to ensure that all opinions within the University receive full consideration by the senate. Additionally, Taylor oversees the ongoing implementation and execution of the Staff Senate's various liaison roles and committees.

headshot of Greg Brightbill

Past President

Greg Brightbill, EdD, MBA, MEd

Associate Director, Student Leadership & Involvement

Intercultural Leadership & Engagement, Division of Student Affairs



Overview: As past president, Greg serves as an advisor to the Executive Committee to provide continuity and perform other duties as assigned by the Senate. This position is typically filled by the immediate past Senate President but can be appointed by the sitting President.

Learn more about Greg 

Dr. Gregory A. Brightbill (pronouns: he/they) has been an integral part of the Staff Senate since 2019, serving on the Executive Committee throughout all five years. Dr. Brightbill joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in the Spring of 2016, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Leadership and Involvement within the Division of Student Affairs. In this capacity, Dr. Brightbill dedicates himself to meeting health and human services students' educational, professional, and identity-related needs. With a diverse academic background and over a decade of experience working in higher education, Dr. Brightbill is deeply committed to higher education advocacy, employee relations, and student affairs. Outside of UMB, Dr. Brightbill has authored op-eds published in the Baltimore Sun, covering significant subjects like LGBTQ+ rights and higher education, serves as a private consultant on issues related to LGBTQ+ advocacy, and appeared in local news on matters impacting LGBTQ+ individuals and higher education policy.