Gretchen has spent the past 15 years leading a number of initiatives to support Ashoka’s mission of spreading social entrepreneurship and a culture of change making globally. At Ashoka she led an initiative called Get America Working!, which advocates revenue-neutral payroll tax shifting to create millions of jobs. She also raised a fund to launch the next generation of social entrepreneurs.
Gretchen created and led an initiative to address the global talent gap by partnering with leading corporations, social entrepreneurs, universities and media partners to source the most promising approaches to providing workers with change maker skills, while influencing the talent industry to embrace the need to reorganize and staff up for a new reality of accelerating change.
Gretchen was Executive Director of Ashoka’s Youth Venture, a global organization that cultivates the entrepreneurial, “change maker” talent needed for the success of all parts of society – corporate, civil and government. Youth Venture has supported over 10,000 teams of young change makers to launch their own civic-minded ventures. Gretchen has also led an education initiative, a social financial services initiative, and a media partnerships initiative at Ashoka.
Prior to Ashoka, Gretchen was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. in its New York, Amsterdam, and Washington, DC offices. She began her career in the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, focusing on trade and development in East and Southern Africa regions. She has worked for the Ethiopian government as the information officer in its embassy in Washington, DC, and in the Ethiopian Investment Authority, based in Addis Ababa.
Gretchen helped launch the US office of the Tigray Development Association, a development institution headquartered in Tigray, Ethiopia. She was co-founder of Her House, which designed, financed and built houses by women for single mothers in Washington, DC, and raised awareness about issues related to women and housing. Gretchen received a BA from Ohio State University, a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard University, and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).