|National Football League|
|Position:||Chief administrator of football operations|
|Born:||1971/1972 (age 48–49)|
|High school:||Notre Dame Academy|
(Staten Island, New York)
New York Law School
Dawn Marie DiFortuna-Aponte (born 1971/1972) 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.
While enrolled at Delaware, she interned with the New York Jets as an accountant, and took a full-time position in 1994. 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. In May 2001, the Jets promoted her to salary cap analyst and pro personnel assistant. She was promoted to manager of football administration in June 2003. While with the Jets, she was mentored by Mike Tannenbaum, Bill Parcells, and Bill Belichick. Aponte became the vice president of labor finance for the National Football League's management council in 2006, and stayed in that position for three years.
Aponte was the vice president of football administration and top contract negotiator for the Cleveland Browns in 2009. She resigned from the team to become the senior vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins in February 2010. 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. She began reporting to general manager Dennis Hickey when he was hired in January 2014. In 2014, Aponte was one of two female vice presidents on NFL teams, along with Katie Blackburn of the Cincinnati Bengals. 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. She left the Dolphins in September 2016 to become a business development executive at RSE Ventures, a private investment firm founded by Ross.
Aponte was hired by the NFL league office to become their chief administrator of football operations in June 2017. She became the highest-ranked woman in NFL football operations with the appointment. 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.
Aponte is married with four children. Her husband Kevin is a school teacher. 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. She was named to the USA Football board of directors on October 17, 2013. In March 2016, she spoke at the first NFL Women's Career Development Symposium.
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