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City of Oakland Announces Permanent Economic & Workforce Development Director Ashleigh Kanat

EWDD Director Ashleigh Kanat

The City Administrator’s Office is proud to share the latest update to the City of Oakland’s departmental leadership team. Effective April 15, Ashleigh Kanat will join the City as the new permanent Director of the Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD).

Director Kanat brings more than two decades of professional experience – both in the public sector and more recently as a real estate and land use economics consultant in the private sector, working for jurisdictions across California and the western United States. During the course of her professional career, she has established expertise developing and implementing economic development strategies, tracking and evaluating workforce and industry sector data and trends, developing fiscal sustainability policies, and supporting real estate development negotiations and related public private partnerships. She is recognized for navigating complex challenges with creativity and strategic vision and fostering effective and productive relationships with both internal and external partners. Prior to joining the City of Oakland, she has most recently served as a principal with Economic & Planning Systems, a real estate and land use economics consulting firm in Oakland.

“Thank you, Oakland, for this opportunity. I’m ready to get to work,” Director Kanat said. “Together with the Economic and Workforce Development team, we will be looking for strategic win/wins – wins for the business community, wins for Oakland residents, and wins for the City. We will work collaboratively with public and private partners to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy for sustained economic growth. I love Oakland; I believe in Oakland; and I’m really excited to be a part of Oakland’s bright future.”

Ashleigh has a master’s degree in public policy from U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Her bachelor’s degree is in American Studies with a concentration in Urban Studies from Smith College, and she is a Skyline High School graduate. Director Kanat is Oakland-born and raised and exceptionally invested in Oakland’s future.

Today’s announcement continues the growing stability of the City’s leadership team, building on recent leadership hires for departments including Fire; Citywide Communications and Engagement; Violence Prevention; Housing and Community Development; Parks, Recreation and Youth Development; and Human Resources Management. The City also recently hired a permanent Deputy City Administrator.


Sean Maher
Citywide Director of Communications & Engagement


Posted: March 20th, 2024 12:04 PM

Last Updated: March 20th, 2024 12:04 PM

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