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Anthony Hayes | Founder and President
THI founder Anthony Hayes has spent more than 15 years in communications, crisis and issue management and political and legislative campaigns. He founded The Hayes Initiative to apply his experience steering organizations’ public affairs and media relations to clients across business, politics, nonprofits, and philanthropy. A seasoned C-level advisor, Anthony has cultivated an energetic, fast-growing company now trusted to execute strategy for prominent clients around the globe.
Anthony served on Hillary For America’s national advance team where he specialized in crisis management and oversaw media logistics at economic, security, and social policy speeches, town halls and rallies in dozens of states. He regularly briefed Secretary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Senators Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and their senior staff in preparation for media availabilities, press conferences, off the record visits, and prime-time interviews that were coordinated and negotiated with national TV networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN, and NBC) and United States Secret Service. He worked closely with Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton on their recent book tour for The Book of Gutsy Women.
As Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at GMHC, Anthony directed strategy and implementation of all communications, advocacy and marketing for the world’s first and the nation’s leading HIV and AIDS service organization. As an appointed official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Anthony managed media and communications focusing on highly sensitive issues at the bi-state agency. The role included overseeing all communications for 5 airports, 6 bi-state crossings, PATH commuter rail, 2 high-traffic bus terminals, the largest East Coast seaport operation, the 16-acre World Trade Center site, and a 1,600 member police force. He served as a member of the executive office and advised top leadership on communications and related operations across the agency’s portfolio. He managed strategic national media responses related to emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy and public controversies including Bridgegate.
From being a key player in the national and New York State fight for marriage equality, to helping repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to launching the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s first ERG, Anthony has worked throughout his career to build inclusivity into the structure of organizations.
Anthony holds a Bachelor of Arts from the New School and has been named to the City and State 40 under 40 in New York and named one of Crain’s Notable LGBT Executives. He completed the 545-mile AIDS Life Cycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles three consecutive years. A native Oklahoman, Anthony has called New York City home for more than two decades, and is excited to be able to share this great city with his son.
Taína Borrero | Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Taína has 15+ years of experience ranging from local, state and federal government relations, lobbying, communications, nonprofit development, event strategy & execution, and business development.
At THI, Taína will work with existing clients as well as help lead business development efforts, working closely with THI Founder Anthony Hayes to develop a long-term strategy for the firm’s growth.
She joined THI most recently from MediaCo (HOT 97 and WBLS), where she served as Director, Business Development – Political/Government. Prior to that, Taína was Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at Kasirer LLC. Previously, she spent five and a half years leading fundraising efforts for the New York region of Teach For America, where she served as Managing Director. She started her career in the New York City press office of then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her work experience also includes a variety of roles in communications, external affairs and government affairs at Hunter College, the New York City Department of Education, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
A native New Yorker who grew up in and around the intersection of politics and media, Taína is a graduate of Princeton University (MPA), Hunter College-CUNY (BA), and Baruch College Campus High School. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she serves on Manhattan Community Board 8.
Gwendolyn Hernandez | Executive Assistant & Researcher
At The Hayes Initiative, Gwendolyn supports the firm’s global client base by conducting research, drafting and editing correspondence, gathering and analyzing data, developing and communicating recommendations, and coordinating key logistics to support a variety of types of media appearances.
Prior to joining The Hayes Initiative, Gwendolyn worked for a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, New York City Football Club (NYCFC), as a Media Relations Game-Days Assistant where she supported in locker room interviews, hosted celebrities and influencers during matches at Yankee Stadium, and ensured media personnel were compliant with NYCFC and MLS rules. Additionally, she worked with the Club’s foundation, City in the Community (CITC), where she served as a Young Leader providing hands on support for the over 5,000 young New Yorkers receiving free soccer programming across the five boroughs. CITC promoted her to serve as a Community Relations Assistant where she helped co-found the first-ever youth-led civic engagement initiative called POWER the Vote, which focused on educating and empowering youth on their right to vote, and registered new voters for the 2020 election. Gwendolyn also helped develop and co-host a youth-led podcast for NYCFC called “Soccer Bloc”.
Gwendolyn graduated from Farmingdale State College with a B.S. in Sport Management. She is first generation American and a native New Yorker, raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for her entire life. Other interests include listening to Taylor Swift, painting and visiting museums around the city.
Lisa MacSpadden | Senior Strategic Communications Advisor
Lisa MacSpadden is a veteran communications professional with decades of experience as a strategic advisor to elected and appointed officials, C-suite executives, board members, and senior leaders. A former news producer and reporter, she excels at navigating high pressure, politically sensitive, and confidential issues while demonstrating the utmost level of discretion and judgment.
During her career Lisa has overseen all aspects of communications in a range of fields including healthcare, education, housing, children’s welfare, consumer affairs, transportation, real estate, and urban planning. She has managed large-scale press operations in the public and private sectors, directed state-wide press on two presidential campaigns, and served as a senior liaison with the White House.
Lisa is passionate about getting to the crux of an issue and bringing home results. She has secured high-level exposure on all major broadcast networks and in major print outlets; prepared proposals that have secured millions of dollars in grant money in the nonprofit sector; and directed communication efforts on projects of national and historic significance including the rebuilding of One World Trade Center, 9/11 memorial commemorations, Superstorm Sandy, Bridgegate, memorials and museums on the National Mall, and celebrity-led public service efforts.
Appointed posts include serving as New York’s Deputy Secretary of State, Director of Media Relations at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Deputy Director of New York Governor Cuomo’s Washington, D.C. office, and as a Senior Executive Service member at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also has held roles as Chief Communications Officer, Managing Director, and Director of Public and Media Engagement. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
Sarah Valenzuela | Government Affairs Specialist
Serving as an advisor to The Hayes Initiative team, Sara Valenzuela is an experienced government affairs and political consultant with a demonstrated history of success in the private and public sectors. Originally from Texas, Sara has worked on Capitol Hill and in New York City for elected officials in New York City and New York State including the New York City Council Speaker, Manhattan Borough President, New York State Comptroller, NYC Public Advocate and Democratic members of Congress.