2024 Influential Women in Business: Cincinnati Works

Tianay Amat,
President & CEO, 
Cincinnati Works
Tianay Amat, President & CEO, Cincinnati Works

Q. How do you inspire others?

I like mentoring young women. It’s important to go where the front-line work is because those are the next people coming through our doors. I’ve seen this firsthand in my work at Cincinnati Works and Cincinnati Public Schools. You can get great ideas from these individuals and help them advance in their careers along the way. I try to be a good role model by having open communication. I’ve always had an “open door” policy. I like having informal discussions but also like being intentional with network breakfasts or coffees. I believe in succession planning — investing in leaders at every level in my organization, whether that’s through professional development or having them do self-assessments. When they tell me where they want to grow, I support them and give them experience in those areas. That way, when an opportunity arises, they’re prepared and ready to go.

Q. What advice do you have for young women starting their careers?

Figure out what your passion is and then get better at it. You’ve got to put in the time. Sometimes it’s without salary, sometimes it’s service work to get the experience. You need to get experience in your craft that will ultimately lead you to your “why” and your vision for yourself. Also, be confident. Have integrity. Do what you believe is right.

Q. What are some of the skills or competencies in high demand in your field?

The ability to collaborate across genres. I’m in a nonprofit. Our expertise is in the workforce. However, our mission is to partner with all willing people to help them get out of poverty, so I work with other organizations like housing and transportation to help eliminate barriers. Developing a network and collaborating with other organizations is sometimes underestimated. Communication is another skill that’s underestimated. It’s important to be clear with your ask and be open and agile enough to adjust as you learn more about a process or area.

Q. What are the benefits of having women in leadership?

Just the diversity of experiences, thoughts, and perspectives is amazing. We are just as complex as men. Having women from different backgrounds, whether it is race, culture, or economic background, it is all important. Most of the time, we’re trying to solve problems, so you are going to have a stronger solution when you involve a diverse group of people — particularly women. Just pull up a seat and allow that rich conversation to happen!

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