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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 Borrero 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 works with existing clients as well as helps 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.
Jeffry Pennock | Vice President, Public Affairs
Jeffry Pennock has 15 years of experience in political campaigns, government and the nonprofit sector. At THI, he brings his wealth of experience to support clients working on major projects across a broad spectrum of industries and topics.
Jeffry joined THI most recently from Women in Need, Inc. (Win), where he served as Associate Vice President of Development. Prior to that, Jeffry was the Director of Development at the Empire State Pride Agenda. Previously, he served in a variety of roles in government and political campaigns.
Jeffry was the Finance Director for the New York Attorney General’s reelection campaign in 2014. In California, he had posts on multiple political campaigns including Kamala Harris’ race for Attorney General and served in her executive office at the California Department of Justice. In Florida, Jeffry worked on political campaigns including leading the field campaign for Kendrick Meek’s bid for U.S. Senate and with the Public Interest Research Group on a canvassing operation for the Human Rights Campaign. And in Texas, he worked in multiple roles on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Jeffry is a graduate of The University of Texas Medical Branch (Ph.D.) and The University of Miami (BS). He lives in New York City.
Christopher Diaz | Executive Assistant & Special Projects
Christopher Diaz supports the President & Founder, Anthony Hayes, engages with clients directly to support their needs, and assists in the managing and execution of Special Projects as it relates to client deliverables.
Most recently, Christopher served as Projects Manager at Drag Out The Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works with drag artists to promote participation in democracy by educating and registering voters across the country. He remains involved with the organization. Previously, Christopher worked for Tribeca Performing Arts where he was an Associate House Manager helping manage large scale events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as other theatrical and musical performances, town halls, and lectures.
Christopher is a graduate of Florida State University/ Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. He was born in the Republic of Panamá and was raised in Belleview, FL. Christopher combines a unique and personal passion for the arts with a keen sense for politics and government, combining his own story as an actor, union member and immigrant.
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.