Dawn Aponte

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Dawn Aponte
National Football League
Position:Chief administrator of football operations
Personal information
Born:1971/1972 (age 48–49)
Career information
High school:Notre Dame Academy
(Staten Island, New York)
College:Delaware
Wagner College
New York Law School
Career history
As executive:

Dawn Marie DiFortuna-Aponte (born 1971/1972)[1] is an American football executive, accountant, and attorney. She is the chief administrator of football operations for the National Football League (NFL), having served in the position since June 2017.

Early years[edit]

Aponte grew up on Staten Island, New York, and attended Notre Dame Academy. She went to the University of Delaware and graduated in 1993 with an accounting degree.[2]

Professional career[edit]

While enrolled at Delaware, she interned with the New York Jets as an accountant, and took a full-time position in 1994.[2][3] She graduated from Wagner College in 1999 with a Master's in finance and management, and received a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.[4] In May 2001, the Jets promoted her to salary cap analyst and pro personnel assistant.[5] She was promoted to manager of football administration in June 2003.[6] While with the Jets, she was mentored by Mike Tannenbaum, Bill Parcells, and Bill Belichick.[2] Aponte became the vice president of labor finance for the National Football League's management council in 2006,[2] and stayed in that position for three years.[1]

Aponte was the vice president of football administration and top contract negotiator for the Cleveland Browns in 2009.[2] She resigned from the team to become the senior vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins in February 2010.[7] She was promoted to executive vice president of football administration in 2012, and worked with general manager Jeff Ireland on player contract negotiations until 2014.[2][1] She began reporting to general manager Dennis Hickey when he was hired in January 2014.[8] In 2014, Aponte was one of two female vice presidents on NFL teams, along with Katie Blackburn of the Cincinnati Bengals.[1] Mike Tannenbaum was promoted to executive vice president of football operations of the Dolphins in February 2015, and Aponte started reporting directly to owner Stephen M. Ross.[9] She left the Dolphins in September 2016 to become a business development executive at RSE Ventures, a private investment firm founded by Ross.[10]

Aponte was hired by the NFL league office to become their chief administrator of football operations in June 2017.[11] She became the highest-ranked woman in NFL football operations with the appointment.[12] On the third day of the televised 2020 NFL Draft, she and NFL executive Dave Gardi replaced commissioner Roger Goodell in announcing draft picks from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.[13]

Jennifer Garner’s character in the movie Draft Day is loosely based on Aponte’s position.

Personal[edit]

Aponte is married with four children. Her husband Kevin is a school teacher.[1] Of her four children two have pursued a career in football. Her daughter, Madison, is enrolled at Penn State University and works as a Recruiting Assistant for the football team. Aponte’s son, Matt, is an Offensive Assistant for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Aponte was a guest speaker at the NFL Career Development Symposium in May 2013.[14] She was named to the USA Football board of directors on October 17, 2013.[15] In March 2016, she spoke at the first NFL Women's Career Development Symposium.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Kaufman, Michelle (January 25, 2014). "The woman in the middle". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Volin, Ben (April 14, 2013). "Club's secret weapon is tough 'capologist'". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Adams, Russell (July 21, 2002). "BackTalk; A Season With an N.F.L. Salary-Cap Analyst". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Miami Dolphins 2012 Media Guide" (PDF). MiamiDolphins.com. p. 23. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Battista, Judy (May 23, 2001). "Jets Promote Salary-Cap Planner". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  6. ^ "Transactions". The Indianapolis Star. June 3, 2003. Retrieved June 6, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Browns, Dolphins make unusual trade". The Sentinel. February 2, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Jackson, Barry (January 29, 2014). "A step towards unity". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Perkins, Chris (January 8, 2015). "Hiring virtually fulfills forecast". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Hyde, Dave (September 7, 2016). "Aponte leaves team for owner Ross' firm". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Smith, Michael David (June 11, 2017). "Former front office executive Dawn Aponte hired by league office". NBCSports.com. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  12. ^ Brady, Rachel (February 1, 2018). "Samantha Rapoport, a Canadian, tackles the NFL's gender imbalance". TheGlobeAndMail.com. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  13. ^ Hayes, Marcus (April 25, 2020). "Mr. Roger's neighborhood". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Beasley, Adam H. (April 18, 2013). "Philbin to speak". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Bradley, Bill (October 17, 2013). "Miami Dolphins' Dawn Aponte added to USA Football board". NFL.com. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  16. ^ Habib, Hal (March 19, 2016). "Aponte accepts job's challenge". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.