Gretchen Flatau

Photo of Gretchen Flatau
  • Name

    Gretchen Flatau
  • Title

    Executive Director
  • Organization Name

  • Number of Years as Executive Director

    One year as ED of Chariot; 20+ years as Interim ED and ED of other organizations
  • What does your organization do?

    Chariot, formerly Drive a Senior Central Texas, provides free transportation to individuals 59 and better; we enrich lives and communities by providing transportation and socialization to non-driving seniors. Our vision is that every senior in central Texas will have access to transportation for food, doctor's appointments and all those things that help them age in place, happy and healthy.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    I have worked in the non-profit sector since high school; I believe that professionally run nonprofits are the key to making our world a more just place. My interest in Chariot stems from growing up with a great-grandmother, grandmother and mother who never drove and as they aged struggled with transportation.
  • What drives your passion?

    I am passionate about approaching social problems with nonprofit models that combine professionalism, good business acumen and a focus on people and the mission. There is much talk about what nonprofits can learn from the business world. I believe the for-profit world has much to learn from us.
  • Do you have a mentor or a role model?

    I don't have a specific mentor or role model, I have always tried to learn from every leader I have encountered whether it was a client, a volunteer or a staff person - there are so many people to emulate and learn from. I've tried to take the best from each.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    I think my biggest challenge has always been to figure out how to use limited resources to accomplish our mission - whether the resource is time, money, space or people.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    The best advice I have received is to find joy in the work if you want to keep doing it.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    A. Focus on the mission, always.
    B. Plan and prepare, but always know that some things are going to walk in the door that you never could have planned for - some good, some bad. But more often than not something great will happen that keeps everything on track.
    C. Trust your team - give them room to make mistakes and room to succeed (and you are a member of the team too)!