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Anthony Hayes | Founder and President
Anthony Hayes has spent more than 20 years working in communications, crisis, and issue management. In 2018 he founded The Hayes Initiative (THI), an award-winning premier public affairs firm providing expertise at the crossroads of communications, government relations, and stakeholder management. Anthony has led THI to year-over-year growth and seven-figure revenues by serving clients across size and industry—including Airbnb, Google, City Football Group, the National 9/11 Museum, and Clinton Global Initiatives—and by establishing a team of trusted and knowledgeable advisors who know that the right connections, preparation, and a defined mission will translate to action and deliver results. In 2022, THI was named PR Agency of the Year by the Stevie Business Awards.
Anthony’s extensive experience working with industries from tech to non-profit to political campaigns, and his hands-on collaborations with organizations ranging from small businesses to multi-million dollar companies, have earned him recognition as one of Crain’s 2021 and 2022 Notable LGBT Executives and City and State’s 40 under 40 in New York. He and the THI team have established a one-stop shop that helps leaders and organizations execute major initiatives, secure media coverage, deliver events that receive global attention, and navigate the complexities of politics and government. Since founding THI, Anthony has led the public affairs and media relations for a number of high-profile projects, including the 9/11 20th anniversary commemoration, the launch of New York’s Excluded Workers Fund, and the campaign for New York City’s first Afro-Latina candidate for mayor. During the pandemic, THI provided pro-bono services to small businesses, in particular New York City restaurants, to help them navigate crisis communications and government relations, while also organizing and lobbying for sidewalk cafes and PPP loans.
Prior to founding THI, Anthony served on Hillary For America’s national advance team where he specialized in crisis management and oversaw media logistics for 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, as well as their senior staff, in preparation for media appearances, press conferences, off-the-record visits, and prime-time interviews. Much of this work required close coordination with national TV networks and the United States Secret Service. Anthony also worked closely with Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton on their book tour for The Book of Gutsy Women.
As Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at GMHC, Anthony directed the strategy and implementation of all communications, advocacy, and marketing for the world’s first and the nation’s leading HIV and AIDS service organization. Before that, Anthony was an appointed official managing media and communications for highly sensitive issues at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He oversaw 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. Anthony served as a member of the executive office and advised top leadership on communications and related operations across the agency’s portfolio, and he managed strategic national media responses related to emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy and public controversies including Bridgegate.
From his integral role 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 Employee Resource Group (ERG), Anthony has worked throughout his career to build inclusivity into the structure of organizations. He is proud to have built his own LGBTQ-owned and operated, award-winning company, that embodies those same inclusive values.
Anthony received his BA from The New School. A native Oklahoman, he has called New York City home for more than two decades. Anthony is an extreme Premier League and Major League Soccer Fan.
Taína Borrero | Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Taína Borrero’s nearly 20 years of experience in government relations, communications, nonprofit development, event strategy and execution, and business development help differentiate The Hayes Initiative (THI) as a sought-after cross-sector resource for white-glove public affairs service. Most recently, her experience earned her recognition as one of City and State’s 2022 Albany 40 under 40.
At THI, Taína has provided public affairs support to clients including the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the New York State Department of Labor, Nuvalence, and The New York City Football Club. She also leads public affairs efforts for Blade Urban Air Mobility, and served as senior advisor on Latino Strategy & Outreach to the NY State Democratic Party. Most recently in that capacity, she worked closely on the election campaign for the first female Governor of the State of New York.
Taína also leads business development efforts at THI, helping to ensure year-over-year growth and continuing to build the firm’s roster of diverse and high-profile clients. In 2022, THI was named 2022 PR Agency of the Year by the Stevie Business Awards.
Prior to joining THI, Taína served as Director of Business Development – Political/Government at MediaCo (HOT 97 and WBLS), where she led the execution of more than half a dozen virtual town halls featuring on-air talent, elected officials, and civic leaders. These town halls generated more than 1 million impressions on YouTube, more than 150,000 impressions on Facebook and more than $150,000 in new revenue from sponsorships. Before that, Taína was Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at leading lobbyist firm Kasirer LLC. She also spent more than five years leading fundraising efforts for Teach For America-New York, where she served as Interim VP and Managing Director of Development. Taína 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 under then-Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
A native New Yorker and proud Boricua who grew up at the intersection of politics and media, Taína is a graduate of Princeton University (MPA), Hunter College (BA), and Baruch College Campus High School. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she is an active member of her community. Taína is currently serving her second appointed term on Manhattan Community Board 8, where she co-chairs the Youth, Education & Libraries committee as well as the Rules & By-Laws Committee. She also serves on the executive committee of The Lexington Democratic Club which was the first Reform Club, serving as a model for the movement that came to dominate Democratic politics in Manhattan.
Jeffry Pennock | Vice President, Public Affairs
Jeffry Pennock recently brought his 15 years of experience in political campaigns, government, and the nonprofit sector to the award-winning Hayes Initiative. Jeffry’s expertise across industries allows him to support THI’s wide range of high-profile cross-sector clients and bridge the gap between communications, government relations, and stakeholder management — overlapping buckets that often require multiple specialists. Jeffry manages daily client deliverables around media, communications, government relations, and community relations, providing a single point of contact, firsthand knowledge, and problem-solving.
Jeffry joined THI most recently from Women in Need, Inc. (Win), where he served as Associate Vice President of Development. At Win, Jeffry cultivated multiple seven-figure gifts—the largest in the organization’s history—and executed a reboot of the major donor, individual giving, and direct mail fundraising campaigns. Prior to his time at Win, Jeffry was the Director of Development at the Empire State Pride Agenda, where he directed the political advocacy organization’s fundraising operations.
Jeffry has served in a variety of roles in government and political campaigns across the nation. In 2014, he was the Finance Director for the New York Attorney General’s reelection campaign. Before that, he held posts on multiple California political campaigns, including Kamala Harris’ race for Attorney General. From 2011 to 2013, he served in Harris’s executive office at the California Department of Justice. In Florida, Jeffry led the field campaign for Kendrick Meek’s bid for U.S. Senate and worked with the Public Interest Research Group on a canvassing operation for the Human Rights Campaign. In Texas, he worked in multiple roles on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 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
At The Hayes Initiative (THI), Christopher Diaz works directly with clients ranging from tech giants to political candidates to fast-growing small businesses to support their evolving needs and execute Special Projects. He recently helped facilitate a New York City Book Launch event for Marisa Renee Lee’s book, Grief is Love, which culminated in conversation/talkback with actress Brooke Shields. Internally, Christopher supports THI founder Anthony Hayes.
Most recently, Christopher served as Projects Manager at Drag Out The Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working with drag artists to educate and register voters across the country. Today, he remains involved with the organization and its mission to promote participation in democracy. Christopher has also worked as an Associate House Manager at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, helping manage large-scale events including the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as other theatrical and musical performances, town halls, and lectures.
Christopher graduated from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training with a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. He is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association.
Christopher was born in the Republic of Panamá and raised in Belleview, Florida. It is his personal mission to marry his passion for the arts with his keen sense of politics and government to tell his own story as an actor, union member, and immigrant.
JT Ennis | Assistant Manager, Media Relations
JT Ennis brings years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors and a passion for civic engagement to the award-winning THI team. At THI, JT advises organizations across size and sector on strategic communications objectives. Most recently, he was instrumental in facilitating the Democratic National Committee’s New York City visit as part of the city’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic convention.
Prior to joining THI, JT served on the Communications & Public Affairs team at Global Strategy Group, where he worked on crisis communications, stakeholder engagement, media placement, policy briefing, social media management, and more. He also worked on the Engel for Congress campaign, where he served as Rep. Eliot Engel’s communications and events staffer— directly preparing the congressman for interviews, debates, and forums. As an undergraduate, JT worked as a press intern in Senator Schumer’s Washington office and as a legislative intern on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
A lifelong resident of New York State, JT is passionate about political engagement at the city, state, and federal levels. He received a B.A. in Politics from New York University and an M.P.A. specializing in Public Policy Analysis from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. At Wagner, he completed a capstone project on reducing gun violence through a public health lens in Trenton, NJ.