Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Tatiana Gau

As chief trust officer and senior vice president at America Online, Inc., Tatiana Gau oversees consumer protection, privacy, online safety, accessibility, community standards and policy, as well as crisis management and coordination for all of the company's brands.

Tatiana Gau has immeasurable energies…not only for her very successful career, and the six languages she speaks, but also for her wish to “give back”. Call it good karma…call it hands-on philanthropy…call it whatever you will, but Tatiana Gau has made almost a second career of giving, volunteering and mentoring that Washington has been the primary beneficiary of.

Gau started the Tatiana Simone Foundation, which gives money to support charities interested in children and youth, education and abuse prevention. Some of the organizations she has supported include the Childrens' Speech and Hearing Center , Second Chance Employment Services, Teen Action Campaign, Greater D.C. Cares, and Youth Service America . She also established a scholarship fund for students who wish to study abroad at her alma mater, Georgetown University , where there is a classroom in her name. As the much-traveled daughter of a foreign service officer, she is dedicated to “creating opportunities to open up our minds to the world.”

With more than 7.5 million Americans who have an intellectual disability, Gau says she spends much of her time devoted to her work with disability support groups especially Best Buddies. She is on the board of directors, and was the first woman to chair its annual ball where over $1.5 million was raised in one night.

Gau tries to ensure that the nonprofit world takes maximum advantage of the Internet. Recent studies, she says, demonstrate that “those organizations that use the Web to reach both their core constituents and supporters, and prospective donors, stand to be more successful in volunteer recruiting and fundraising.” She is currently working on a book about lifestyle trends in the 21 st century, including charitable giving in a global Internet economy.

Another of the organizations Gau has been particularly involved with is the Reach Your Peak program (RYP), a nonprofit which she co-founded in 2001. She has been very much hands-on in helping to craft the curriculum, create a web site, and gain other sponsors. Currently in over a dozen D.C. public schools, RYP inspires kids, ages 12 to 18, to dream and set goals and provides them with the resources to achieve those dreams. Through RYP's D.R.E.A.M. curriculum, the program clearly lays out a road map for kids to realize both a community dream as well as a personal dream. Grants of varying monetary value are awarded to schools based on how successfully their students take action to reach their goals. The grants are then used to further the needs of the school or its community.

Gau is also on the boards of Georgetown University, the Many Hats Institute and Washington Parks and People. She serves as an advisor, volunteer and mentor to the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund. She volunteers what time she has left hosting benefits and parties for organizations such as Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which named her the Capital Region's 2002 Woman of the Year.

Tireless and unstoppable, Gau has even volunteered her time, making meals for local shelters at D.C. Central Kitchen, David's Place Day Shelter, and Loudon Interfaith, among others. Gau recently became engaged to Campion Platt, a New York architect and interior designer.

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