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2018 Keynote Speaker

Brett Wein ('96 English) Snap, Inc. Head of East Coast Sales

Brett came to the University of Maryland on a whim. He turned down a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts to go to Maryland with his best friend and live closer to his girlfriend in Philadelphia. A semester later, his best friend transferred and Brett parted ways with his high school girlfriend. During his sophomore year, Brett had little direction and found himself gravitating towards arts and humanities classes. He fondly remembers an American literature professor whose slow southern drawl added a special mysticism to Faulkner and says his Shakespeare classes gave him a love of the English language. He settled in as an English major and still believes his paper positioning Othello as a comedy is a piece of art. Thanks to a classified ad in the Diamondback during his junior year, he obtained an internship at Bertelsmann Music Group (now Sony-BMG). It was the grunge era and Brett had a cool job in the music business, so when BMG offered him a job after graduation he jumped at the opportunity.

In quick succession, Brett moved from the music business to the fashion world to the tech industry. He landed at one of the Internet’s first search engines, Ask Jeeves. Brett’s next few years were filled with excitement – and terror – as the tech industry boomed and eventually came to a screeching halt in 2001. Brett survived the crash through happenstance when he moved to a small firm called Overture, a pioneer of the pay-per-click search model. Overture was acquired by Yahoo a few years later, which led to various leadership roles in sales during the “good years” of Yahoo.

In 2009, Brett was heavily recruited to join a small company called Facebook. Six years later, after an amazing ride on the Facebook rocket, he took some time off to reconnect with his wife and growing family. In late 2015, the phone rang with an offer to join Snapchat. Brett now leads a sales team committed to evangelizing Snapchat to Fortune 100 brands and advertising agencies. He counts his years at Maryland as some the most important in his journey. The hours spent researching, experimenting with the nuances of language, and writing a seemingly infinite number of papers unknowingly prepared him for the world of digital communication, marketing and advertising. Brett currently resides in Connecticut, with his wife, Kyra, and their four children. He still listens to very loud music every single day.


Previous Speakers:

2017:  Michelle Singletary

2016:  Adam Shapiro

2015:  Cary Hatch

2014:  John Kelly

2013:  Domonique Foxworth

2012:  No event

2011:  Norman Steinberg

2010:  Harry Weisman

2009:  Gail Berman Masters

2008:  David Baggett

2007:  George Pelecanos

2003 - 2006:  No Keynote