UC alum seeks to fortify Cincy’s workforce and drive economic advancement

New CEO of Cincy Works brings 20-year track record of making an impact

In a significant merging of purpose and experience, Tianay Amat, who holds a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Cincinnati, assumed the role of president and CEO at Cincinnati Works.

Amat has embarked on a path that aligns with her alma mater’s mission of nurturing positive urban impact, centered around UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub and the Cincinnati Innovation District. Her focus is fortifying Cincinnati’s workforce and driving the city's economic advancement.

As the new CEO of Cincinnati Works, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating poverty, Amat brings a steadfast commitment and a 20-year track record of driving impactful change. Arriving in Cincinnati in the late 1990s as a daycare director, she swiftly recognized that her background as an educator had the potential for broader influence.

“That marked the first time I was in an administrative leadership position. Subsequently, I joined the master of education program at UC,” said Amat. "Their exceptional leadership program embraced a cohort approach. Given my genuine affinity for orchestrating systematic efforts and uniting individuals to pursue impactful endeavors for children, UC significantly honed my abilities as a future leader."

A job is merely the starting point. Collaboration is key in our approach. We adhere to a principle of leveraging our strengths while partnering with others.

Tianay Amat CEO of Cincinnati Works

Asset thinking

Her journey as a leader continued to evolve, ultimately leading Amat to assume a role within Cincinnati Public Schools. Here, she took on the responsibilities of deputy superintendent, later assuming the role of interim superintendent for a span of five years where she oversaw a school district comprised of 65 institutions.

As a higher education trailblazer in her family, Amat was motivated to disrupt the cycle of poverty through learning. She underscores how UC shaped her perspectives on community engagement and service, as these values are integral to the university's ethos.

“I live, learn, work and play in my community to better serve our members when they come to Cincinnati Works," Amat said. "Rather than coming from a deficit mindset, it's really an asset-thinking mindset members can expect as part of our agency’s culture.” 

Wrap-around services

Tianay Amat, right, interacts with members and staff of Cincinnati Works

Tianay Amat, right, supports staff and members of Cincinnati Works. Photo provided.

As CEO, Amat establishes targets for her team as they seek to link members with vital resources spanning transportation, childcare, housing, digital literacy and financial wellness. She highlights significant advancements in reading comprehension and notable increases in graduation rates.

"A job is merely the starting point. Collaboration is key in our approach. We adhere to a principle of leveraging our strengths while partnering with others," Amat said.

Cincinnati Works actively collaborates with organizations such as Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership, ensuring optimal community benefits and support. 

Paying it forward

As an example of her organization’s impact, Amat highlights a specific case: a human trafficking survivor who entered Cincinnati Works. With the help of her agency, Harold D’Souza obtained a state ID, work permit and Social Security number. He credits the organization with changing the trajectory of his life.

“We as family respect, love and admire Cincinnati Works. They gave me my freedom, healed our family trauma, transformed our fear into empowerment and ultimately changed our lives from slavery to success. I went from being insulted and invisible to being considered an inspiration to other victims, survivors and the community,” D’Souza said.

Stories like D’Souza are what motivates Amat.

“When your 'why' and purpose are clear, opportunities emerge to create meaningful change with others," she said.

Featured image at top: Tianay Amat. Photo provided

Impact Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.

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