As of May 2017, Dawn Aponte is the Chief Football Administrative Officer, Football Operations with the National Football League.
Prior, she was with the Miami Dolphins, joining the team on February 1, 2010, bringing with her a wealth of football experience at the team and league level. She was promoted to executive vice president, football administration in July 2012 after serving as the club’s senior vice president of football operations from 2010-11. Aponte works closely with and in support of Executive Vice President, Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum on all football operations and support functions. She also serves as the team’s chief contract negotiator and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the football business and administration operations, including management and strategic planning of the teams salary cap and financial planning, negotiating and drafting player and football related contracts, the football operations budgets and labor relations issues while also maintaining and cultivating the team’s relationship with the NFL and its member clubs. In addition, Aponte serves as the team’s liaison on league affairs.
A veteran football executive, Aponte was named to USA Football’s Board of Directors on October 17, 2013. As a member of the independent non-profit’s board of directors, she helps guide the sport’s national governing body in leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, partnering with leading medical organizations and collaborating with football stakeholders for a better, safer game through coaching education and player skill advancement.
Aponte also was selected by the NFL to make a presentation in 2013 at the league’s Career Development Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Aponte joined the Dolphins after spending the 2009 season as vice president of football administration for the Cleveland Browns. In her role with the Browns, Aponte’s primary responsibilities included player contract negotiations, salary cap management, player cost budgeting, league compliance and assisting in other legal matters.
Aponte joined the Browns organization after spending the previous three years at the NFL office, where she served on the league’s Management Council as the vice president of labor finance. In her position at the NFL Management Council, Aponte represented the 32 clubs in dealings with the NFL Players Association and Class Counsel on salary cap and other labor related matters. She also dealt with the clubs on Collective Bargaining Agreement, salary cap and player contract matters. Aponte served on the Management Council Working Club Executive Committee and worked with the ten-member owner committee (Management Council Executive Committee) on collective bargaining issues and labor related matters.
Prior to joining the league office, Aponte worked for the New York Jets for nearly 15 years in various capacities, most recently as the club’s senior director of football administration. In that role, she worked closely with the assistant general manager on matters pertaining to the NFL’s CBA, player contract negotiations and salary cap management. Aponte graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware in 1993 and passed the C.P.A. exam shortly thereafter. She went on to receive her Master’s degree in Finance and Management from Wagner College in 1999, then continued on to earn her Juris Doctorate from New York Law School and is a member of the New York State Bar.
Aponte and her husband, Kevin, have four children – Matthew, Madison, Caroline and Thomas.