Maria Cardona is a seasoned Democratic strategist, public affairs and communications professional with more than 18 years experience in the political, government, public relations, campaign, community and coalition building arenas. She currently is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group (DSG) – a premier national public affairs firm - where she heads the firm’s Public Affairs Practice. Ms. Cardona joined DSG as a principal in 2005, helping DSG’s corporate, non-profit and trade association clients develop strategic partnerships at the national, state and local level. Ms. Cardona was named as one of the top 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine.
She also founded DSG’s Latino Strategies Practice, “Latinovations,” which guides clients on “best practices” on building support for their positions, products and brands within the Hispanic community. While at DSG, Ms. Cardona served as a Senior Advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign, serving as a campaign surrogate and spokesperson. She also served on Senator Clinton’s formidable Hispanic Outreach team, helping to ensure that the candidate’s message reached Latinos throughout the country. Following the primary, Ms. Cardona then served as a key surrogate for the Obama for America general election campaign, appearing on all the major national news shows.
A former Senior Vice President for the New Democrat Network (NDN) and Director of NDN’s Hispanic Strategy Institute, Ms. Cardona led NDN’s $6 million initiative to communicate effectively with Latinos across the country. At the time, this project was the largest ever effort to conduct dedicated research and polling, develop effective messages geared toward Latinos, and to promote Democratic values and identity in the Latino community through Spanish language and bilingual advertising.
Prior to coming on board with the NDN, Ms. Cardona served as Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee. From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Cardona was the Director of Communications for the Department of Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), acting as the Clinton Administration’s top spokesperson on the complex issues surrounding immigration. Before working at the INS, Ms. Cardona spent five years at the Department of Commerce. During her time at the Commerce Department, she acted as lead communications strategist for the passage of NAFTA in 1993. In 1997, she was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Silver Medal Award for Meritorious Federal Service.
Ms. Cardona is a graduate of Duke University and serves on the Board of Directors of Hoops Sagrado, a non-profit organization that provides learning and leadership opportunities to DC youth through a basketball exchange program in the highlands of Guatemala. She also serves on the boards of New America Media, the largest coalition of ethnic media in the US, Citizenship Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating middle-school students on the responsibilities and civic duties of American citizens, PODER PAC, the first political action committee that raises money for Latina candidates at all levels, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute which focuses on leadership development among Latinas in all fields, from all backgrounds and from every state in the country.