Midy Aponte-Vargas, founder of Civil Strategies

About Civil's founder

A visionary strategist dedicated to transformative progress

Midy Aponte-Vargas, founder of Civil Strategies

Midy Aponte-Vargas is a distinguished communication strategist and futurist at heart, whose professional journey has spanned over two decades in the public, private and philanthropic sectors. She is widely recognized for her strategic acumen and her dedication to addressing some of society's most pressing issues. Her work often involves crafting sustainable, creative and smartly implemented strategies at local, state and national levels​.

A career built on addressing complex issues through community collaboration.

Early Career: Activism and Crisis

Midy began her career in Miami with a strong focus on social activism, particularly in the fight against the tobacco industry. She played a vital role at Golin and then the American Legacy Foundation, now the truth initiative. While there, she built campaigns that engaged and mobilized young people against tobacco use. This experience not only showcased her ability to handle complex public health issues but it also set the stage for her later achievements in strategic communication and social advocacy.

She moved to D.C. in 2004, where she honed her skills in crisis communications within high-pressure environments. Her role at The Walker Marchant Group in Washington, D.C. involved managing and strategizing around litigation and reputation management, particularly focusing on diversity and inclusion efforts within Fortune 500 companies. This position underscored her ability to navigate and mitigate complex corporate crises, effectively communicating across various groups during sensitive situations.

Professional Highlight: Preserving Latino History & Heritage

In 2011, Midy was appointed the founding executive director of the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF) of the National Park Foundation. Here, she played a crucial role in the recognition and preservation of significant Latino heritage sites within the U.S. National Park System. Under her leadership, ALHF successfully liaised with the National Park Service for the inclusion of key sites such as the César E. Chávez National Monument in California, also known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, which serves as a critical landmark for Latino civil rights. Other significant inclusions were Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry Murals in Michigan, known for its powerful artistic depiction of industry and labor, and the home of Concha Melendez in Puerto Rico, a pivotal figure in Puerto Rican literature.

Midy's leadership also included bringing building awareness of the "American Latinos and the Making of the United States" theme study and creating educational campaigns such as the American Latino Expedition.

These initiatives not only enhanced public engagement but also cemented awareness of Latino contributions as an integral part of the American narrative.

Founding Civil: A New Ethos for Consultancies

Before founding Civil, Midy served as a senior figure at Spitfire Strategies, where she worked as the Chief Experience Officer. Her work took her around the world, tackling challenges in Latin America and Africa and advancing civil society organizations' capabilities, all while also building the firm's Intermountain West presence in Denver.

In 2020, after experiencing the shortcomings of philanthropy and mainstream consultancies commitment to racial justice, she aimed to create "a third way" -- one that would use a more authentic approach to bridging the gap between communities and problem solving.

In 2023, she founded Civil to support nonprofit leaders and businesses to develop strong infrastructures and achieve substantial impact. Civil's aim is to shift the dynamic from merely having a seat at the table to owning it, ensuring that communities not only participate but lead and shape their futures.

Personal Life and Education: Championing Community & Diversity

Midy humorously describes herself as a "geographical mutt" because of her varied living experiences—she was born in Washington Heights, raised in Miami, spent a decade in Washington, D.C., and lived in Denver. She's now settled in Dallas with her wife and three dogs, Fluffy, ¡Sassy! and Tinker, and anticipates a new change soon. Each city has uniquely contributed to her deep understanding of cultural and societal nuances.

She credits her communication skills to Florida International University where she earned a Bachelor of Science from the School of Journalism.

She contributes to several boards, including the Alaska Wilderness League and the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and Hispanics in Philanthropy. She is a member of Green Latinos and was also a founding board member of Latino Outdoors. She is also an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

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