Designing a product requires empathy, research, and problem-solving, but what happens when the problem you’re confronting is the life expectancy of a neighborhood? Young men being expelled from school? The racial segregation of a city? Drawing on her background working at Design Impact and her involvement with local government, Tamaya will explore the wicked problems faced by our communities and how we might use the tenants of design thinking to tackle complexity with empathy and understanding.


Tamaya Dennard was born and raised in Cincinnati. She is a proud product of Cincinnati Public Schools, more specifically Aiken High School. She attended the Toulouse School of Business in France (Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Toulouse) and later graduated from the University of Cincinnati – Carl H. Lindner College of Business with a degree in International Business.

Tamaya’s innovative thinking around engagement led her to a successful career as a political strategist. Her passion for people, inclusion and social justice made advocacy her occupation. Writing policy and legislation to assist the underserved community and her desire to see more women in politics led her to being a sought after speaker in high schools and on college campuses throughout the State of Ohio. Tamaya has been a featured speaker for Elect Her and the Ohio Diversity Conference Women’s Conference. She is also a TEDx speaker. Tamaya is currently working as an innovation specialist with Design Impact, a non-profit social innovation design firm located here in Cincinnati. In addition to her work with Design Impact, she is working with the University of Cincinnati Women’s Basketball Team on community engagement. In 2014, she was named one of the Forty Under 40 Leaders to Watch in Cincinnati by the Cincinnati Business Courier.