Spitfire Strategies is pleased to introduce Midy Aponte as its newest vice president. Based in Denver, Colorado, Midy is an accomplished communication strategist intent on delivering meaningful results that connect a range of audiences to promote a common goal.
With a career anchored in public health communication, Midy worked with more than a dozen state health departments on their tobacco control and prevention efforts as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Her career has evolved over the years to include substantial experience in corporate communication, litigation and reputation management, public affairs, nonprofit advancement, social media integration, and diversity and inclusion counsel. This work experience spans the public and private sector as well as the federal government, and affords her the distinct ability to devise local, state and national strategies that are sustainable, creatively conceptualized and smartly implemented.
Midy recently relocated to Colorado from Washington, DC where she served as the founding executive director of the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation, a position created by the president and CEO of the National Park Foundation in concert with former Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. Her charge was to build a national nonprofit fund and inspire awareness of historic preservation, outdoor recreation, and conservation and stewardship of national parks among American Latino audiences. Midy secured partnerships with REI, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, and Columbia Sportswear to create the @American_Latino Expedition, a national public awareness social media campaign designed to engage Latinos in outdoor recreation and the national parks. She also collaborated with the Obama administration, the Department of Interior and the National Park Service on several initiatives aimed at preserving American Latino history in the United States.
Here’s a bit more about Midy’s background. We know you’ll look forward to working with her in the coming months.
What led you to work in the communication field?
It was 1992 and Hurricane Andrew was b-lining straight toward Miami. As the winds whipped around our house, I hunkered down in my parents’ bedroom, glued to the LIVE images coming through our small, battery-operated, black and white television. I envied the windblown reporters being tussled around like rag dolls as they held on to street poles, or whatever they could find, during their shots. There was something about being in the thick of it that drew my attention to news reporting.
That was my entry into communications. I thought I’d pursue a career as one of those windblown television reporters. But, at some point during my years at Florida International University, I learned about public relations. That’s when I discovered there’s even more action behind the scenes influencing the news.
What is your communication sweet spot?
I love putting together the puzzle representing the best strategy to address a client’s need, then working collaboratively with the client and its partners to create an impact. More than public relations, I look at this field as human relations. Just like us, clients are susceptible to fears, stress, disappointments and challenges. Nurturing a personal, professional relationship that is built on trust and “let’s-do-it-togetherness” is truly one of the most rewarding experiences for me.
What is the toughest communication challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
How to Break through Government Bureaucracy 101: My time with the American Latino Heritage Fund taught me that it’s not just what you communicate, it’s how. You may have all the right components, the perfect strategy, and the resources to impact wonderful change; however, a velvet glove is more effective than an iron fist, and small wins really can trump big ones. Understanding how to navigate in an environment where the tried is true and facts are clouded by ideology, I learned that perspective will always be brighter, and communications more fruitful, when you give yourself a nice long runway.
What new communication trends are you following?
Medium. My friend put me on to it and it’s been buzzing across my social media platforms for a while. I’m curious how the platform merges blogging with self-publishing for those who have substantive things to say. And I’m eager to see which voices surface to the top and break through the clutter.
What type of issue work do you find most rewarding?
I love bringing coalitions together – the more varied the better. Environmental issues will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m looking forward to working on all types of issues at Spitfire – and to bringing my skills promoting diversity and inclusion to new causes.
If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?
A coconut tree firmly planted in the sand overlooking a tropical beach.
You can reach Midy at Midy@SpitfireStrategies.com.