Dolphins executive vice president Dawn Aponte is leaving the organization and "transitioning" to a top role at RSE Ventures, a sports and entertainment venture co-founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and club vice-chairman Matt Higgins.
"I am transitioning out of the Dolphins," Aponte said Tuesday. "This is something [executive vice president] Mike [Tannenbaum], Matt and I have been talking about for more than several months. It started out as a conversation with sort of what's the next step in my progression and my career, where my interests are and what I've been looking to do."
Aponte, in the NFL for 25 years and one of its most highly accomplished and respected executives regardless of gender, becomes an executive -- perhaps the top executive -- under Higgins at RSE. Her focus will be on business development.
"I've had an amazing experience in the NFL with all the different things I've been able to do and touch and experience," Aponte said. "In our conversations we discussed how I could best use my experience and expand it to more business involvement. This is something new where I can contribute but also grow and develop."
The Dolphins have promoted Senior Director for Human Resources Brandon Shore into Aponte's former role as chief contract negotiator. He has climbed the ladder within the organization over the past six years, starting off as an intern under Aponte.
"I see this as a branch transfer for Dawn," Tannenbaum said. "She's working for Matt now but will still be available to us to give us her thoughts on big picture approaches to matters. Brandon worked here under Dawn a long time and he understands our culture and how we approach things. He's seen how Dawn does it. How I've done it. But he has his own ideas."
Shore is now the team's senior director of football administration. Tannenbaum will continue to have final say over all matters of contracts and other areas. Shore reports to Tannenbaum.
For Aponte, this move is a win-win. She has a Master's in Finance and Management, an accounting degree, and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. She is a member of the New York state bar.
So Higgins will immediately set her on one of RSE's top ventures -- the Drone Racing League.
"I've known Dawn since 2004 and we're very close. I have an intimate understanding of what she's capable of doing," Higgins said. "Very few people in our industry have a combination of a law degree, an MBA, accounting agree. With her credentials, she has an understanding of how to advance complicated issues. The things she's done in the NFL are applicable elsewhere."
Among those applications is managing IT, dealing within marketing negotiations, among other things. Aponte will immediately work with RSE's Drone Racing League relative to relationships with broadcasters and pilots and how to expand the league.
"Dawn," Higgins said, "is going to hit the ground running."