The Workforce Show

The Workforce Show brings you stories of men and women who are doing something extraordinary to make their careers meaningful. You will hear tales of failures, successes and a desire to ultimately be the best they can be whether a head of a corporation, entrepreneur or someone whose profession drives them to a purposeful life.

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Cindy Gurne

Elena Meyers

The daughter of a professional football player, Elana was born in Oceanside, California, but grew up in Douglasville, Georgia. A naturally gifted athlete across many sports, she was drawn to softball and by 9 years old she declared her intention to become an Olympian. She attended George Washington University on a softball scholarship and went on to play professionally for the Mid-Michigan Ice.

After what she calls, ‘the worst tryout ever in the history of tryouts’ for the US Olympic Softball Team it appeared her Olympic dreams were over. It was actually her parents who saw bobsled on TV and suggested she give it a try. That turned out to be great advice.

In the summer of 2007 she made the trip to Lake Placid, NY, home of the US National Bobsled Team. She never left. Elana turned out to be an incredibly powerful brakeman and less than three years later she stood on the podium in Vancouver as an Olympic Bronze Medalist.

Post Vancouver, Elana decided to take the wheel, or in the case of bobsled, the ‘D-rings’, and transition to the role of driver. That too turned out to be a great decision. Not long thereafter she became a regular on medals’ podiums around the world, and eventually drove herself all the way back to the Olympic podium in 2014, this time in Sochi, Russia, and this time for silver.

Later in 2014, she became Elana Meyers Taylor, marrying fellow bobsled athlete Nic Taylor in April of that year. Nic now competes on the US Skeleton Team.

In 2015, Elana made history, becoming the first woman to earn a spot on the US National Team competing with the men, as a 4-man bobsled pilot (a feat that her husband helped her accomplish as the brakeman on her team). She went on to become the first woman to win a medal in international competition in a men’s event. That same year she won the 2015 World Championships in the 2-woman event, the first woman in US history to do so. That season she won 6 of 8 World Cup races and became the Overall World Cup Champion.

Despite missing most of the 2015-16 season due to a concussion injury, Elana won the final two World Cup races of the season and a bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships. She also represented the U.S. in the first ever women’s 4-man World Championship exhibition race.

In 2018, at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Elana battled back and forth with Team Germany over the four heat Olympic competition missing the gold medal by just .07. Elana intends to return to the Olympic Games in 2022 and once again fight for gold.

Cindy Gurne

Kristie Twining

Chief, Aircraft Maintenance Branch and Gulfstream IV Instructor Pilot

Captain Twining graduated from Long Island University, Southampton with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology. Immediately after graduation, she moved to Alaska to work as a Fisheries Biologist on commercial fishing boats. There, she obtained a USCG 100-Ton Masters and Diesel Engine Mechanic’s License and was working towards managing a Fishing Charter operation when she received a commission in the NOAA Corps in July 1999. Capt Twining forged her first 2 years in the NOAA Corps as a junior officer on the NOAA Ship Rainier. Though a difficult decision to move away from service at sea, CAPT Twining heard a louder calling to serve as a NOAA Aviator and earned her wings in June of 2002.

For the next 10 years, CAPT Twining went on to serve two very successful 5-year billets first as a Twin Otter and then a Gulfstream IV pilot earning Instructor Pilot status in both aircraft. As a NOAA Aviator, she safely commanded complex airborne survey and research missions in all areas of North America including the Arctic, Mexico and Winter Storm missions out of Japan. In 2008, CAPT Twining became a Hurricane Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot on the Gulfstream IV, commanding Hurricane Surveillance and research missions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean. CAPT Twining managed a vast portfolio as a senior project officer with special projects including the first FAA Approved Inspection Program for Twin Otters; an AOC Strategic Plan; the GIV Tail Doppler Radar Project; the NOAA Aircraft Recap Plan; and the first successful deployment of a UAS into the eye of a Hurricane receiving two Administrator Awards and a Silver Medal. In 2013 she completed a 4-month detail as XO of the Marine Operations Center in Norfolk and 3 months at AGO-Eastern Acquisitions Division to assist with developing fleet requirements for major multiple-year contracts to streamline OMAO acquisitions. CAPT Twining made notable contributions to improving the continuous acquisitions hurdles in both marine and aviation operations.

While at OMAO HQ for 2 ½ years as Deputy Chief of Planning and Performance Management, she was OMAO’s rep to the NOAA Social Sciences Committee and Observing Systems Committee which successfully completed the first NOAA Observing Systems Integrated Analysis (NOSIA) for which she received a Bronze Medal. While at OMAO HQ, CAPT Twining was responsible for creating the Airborne Requirements Analysis for the Aircraft Recap Plan which is in review by the NOAA Fleet Council today. She also completed the next generation Hurricane Hunter Analysis of Alternatives. She served as Vice President of the NOAA Corps DC Association of Corps Officers and became Chair of the Uniform and Awards Board. Currently, she serves as the Chief of the Aircraft Maintenance Branch managing a diverse group of aircraft maintenance personnel and maintenance sustainment activities for the AOC. CAPT Twining graduate in May, 2017 with a Masters of Science in Project Management from George Washington University.

CAPT Twining lives in a 115-year-old house in historic Tampa Heights, Florida with her husband Jim and her black lab Jet. She volunteers as a foster parent for Lab Rescue and is a community garden volunteer.

Camille Stewart, STEM Speaks

Creativity is not just an ideation tool. It's a way of living. When you build a creative mindset, you are not only able to generate more ideas, you are a better problem solver, collaborator, and more. That's why creative leaders are more impactful, confident, mindful, and productive. My specialty is working with leaders and teams who think creativity is impossible OR want to stay ahead of the game by maximizing their team's talent. Adjunct Professor Leadership and Entrepreneurship, BAU International University Facilitator and DC Organizer Tech Week Author, Rethink Creativity

Camille Stewart, STEM Speaks

Amelia Friedman

Amelia is co-founder and COO at Hatch Apps, an automated software development company enabling business leaders to launch a custom app on iOS, Android and web for a fraction of the cost of hiring a software development firm. Amelia has been recognized as a Y Combinator Fellow, a Washingtonian Tech Titan, a Top 40 Entrepreneur Under 40, one of DC's 50 On Fire, and a Power Woman of DC Tech, and she was recently profiled in TIME. Prior to Hatch Apps, Amelia founded the Student Language Exchange, an education nonprofit she grew to operate in 7 cities and for which she was awarded a Halcyon Fellowship. An advocate for women in tech, Amelia launched the Vinetta Project in DC. The organization now grants a $20K cash prize to a local female founder, engages with 150+ founders and 100+ investors annually, and has helped DC-area female-founded companies raise millions in seed-stage funding.

Brendan Freehart, Avocado Career Toast Show

Shannon Turner

Shannon Turner is the founder of Hear Me Code, an organization offering free, beginner-friendly coding classes for 3000 women in DC. Hear Me Code focuses on leadership development, peer mentoring, and turning students into teachers. In 2015, Shannon was named one of Washington’s Tech Titans by the Washingtonian. She currently serves on DC’s Open Government Advisory Board and on the DCFemTech leadership team.

Brenda Freehart, Avocado Toast Career

Allen Gannett - Founder of Track Maven

Marketers use TrackMaven to measure and improve performance across every channel — so they can tie the details to the big picture.

Used by the NBA, Microsoft, Saks Fifth Avenue, and many more

Graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Political Science. Graduated summa cum laude - Board of Trustees Scholar - Luther Rice Fellow - Co-authored research on public corruption that was published in the journal Public Integrity

Prior employment included Co-founder and Partner of Acceleprise; Splash Networks; and CMO, EmployInsight

Jim Thomas

Brian Roberts - The CEO Whisperer

Brian Roberts is the CEO of Croix Connect. He provides "CEO Whisperer" services to small business owners ranging from $5-100M. This service includes advising and coaching CEOs and other executives, and a "connector" to any services they may need. Brian also serves as CEO Peer Group Leader for Vistage Worldwide, where he has four groups of 10-15 executives who work on real-world problems together in a confidential and agenda-free setting. Prior to founding Croix Connect in 2001, Brian had various senior executive roles at various technology companies of all sizes in the 90s. A 15-year veteran of the US Air Force, Brian's favorite assignment was with the White House Communication Agency where he was part of the Presidential Communications Advance team for the first two Reagan-Gorbechev summits in Geneva and Reykjavik. A couple of other highlights for Brian: • He hosted a business-oriented radio show on WMAL in Washington DC 2004-2007 with his most well-known guests being Carly Fiorina and Sandy Weill (former CEO of Citigroup). • He is currently Vice Chairman of the Board, Catholic Charites, Diocese of Arlington and has served on the board for 14 years.

Brenda Freehart, Avocado Toast Career Show

Charlie Thompson: Music, Snowboarding and Technology

Charlie is Data Scientist at Storyblocks, an online library for stock media. He helps build data pipelines and visualization tools to help the business understand how users interact with their website. Also a big music fan, he writes tutorials about analyzing music with R on his blog at RCharlie.com. In his free time he likes playing guitar, snowboarding, and video games.

Brenda Freehart, Avocado Toast Career

Shana Glenzer: A Woman, A CMO and a Champion of Digital

Shana is Chief Marketing Officer at Crowdskout, a CRM and data analytics platform built for advocacy and campaigns. She is also heavily involved in the DC Tech community as co-organizer of DC Tech Meetup, cofounder of DCFemTech, and board member of The Vinetta Project. With over 15-years in marketing and sales at various tech companies–including Blackboard and SocialRadar–Shana has also become a go-to technology commentator for national television networks.

Camille Stewart, STEM Speaks

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is a large carnivore ecologist with an expertise in using statistical modeling to investigate how anthropogenic factors can influence the spatial patterns of carnivore behavior and ecology. In particular, she is currently studying the ecological and social drivers of human-carnivore conflict, and the influence of fine-scale human activity on connectivity of suitable carnivore habitat. Her current field system encompasses part of The Great Plains in northeastern Montana where she is studying potential corridors to facilitate grizzly bear conservation. Her previous research questions surrounded the ecological drivers of human-carnivore conflict with black bears in the Western Great Basin, African lions in rural Kenya and Tanzania, as well as grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. A native Californian, Dr. Wynn-Grant attributes her interest in wildlife and conservation from the television shows she watched as a child. She was introduced to the field of conservation biology as an undergraduate and is unapologetic about her passion for studying charismatic megafauna. Dr. Wynn-Grant received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Emory University, her M.S. in Environmental Studies from Yale University, and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Columbia University. She completed a Conservation Science Research and Teaching Postdoctoral fellowship with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on the ecological and social drivers of carnivore behavioral patterns in human-modified landscapes. She is currently a Fellow with National Geographic Society working on carnivore conservation in partnership with the American Prairie Reserve.

Cindy Gurne

Javier Ramirez

DIRECTOR, FIELD PROGRAMS AND INNOVATION FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE.
Javier Ramirez began his FMCS career as a Commissioner in 2005 and currently is the Manager of National/Field Programs, Initiatives and Innovation for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Ser- vice (FMCS). This office bears responsibility for ADR and International services, Education & Train- ing, the FMCS Institute for Conflict Resolution, and National Programs and Innovation. The com- bined efforts of these departments help identify, develop, and implement innovative approaches to labor-management relations and conflict resolution to improve knowledge, delivery and utilization of Agency services. This office plays a key role in achieving and embedding transformational change in the methods and means of delivering services through strategic skill-building, innovative uses of new technology platforms, and cutting-edge approaches. Javier has been at the forefront of FMCS’s efforts to engage, inform and educate prospective cus- tomers, stakeholders and interested parties with new technologies and innovative outreach pro- grams. He has helped lead successful training efforts for FMCS mediators as well as for peers in mediation services in federal, state and local government units. In addition, he has represented the Agency in international tri-partite training efforts in Bangladesh and has been the recipient of multiple FMCS performance awards in recognition of his work including the Director’s Award. He began his FMCS career as a Commissioner in 2005. As a Commissioner Mr. Ramirez has trained and successfully facilitated parties in collaborative bargaining models in sectors of the econo- my ranging from manufacturing to university professors. Javier has successfully facilitated multi - party issues in manufacturing, construction and was on the facilitation team for several regulatory negotiations including a multi-party DOE negotiations that resulted in the largest energy saving rule in DOE history. Mr. Ramirez has lead instruction on Facilitation Skills including modules on facilitat- ing complex multi-party disputes, trained Peer Mediators of the U.S. Forest Service, Milwaukee Pub- lic Schools and at National Defense University. Mr. Ramirez has presented at numerous national and regional conferences on conflict related topics including, Generational Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Neuroscience Principals in Conflict, Improving Communication, Effective Use of Mediation, Collective Bargaining (Traditional, Interest Based and Affinity Economic Bargaining) and Mind-Mapping. Prior to FMCS, Mr. Ramirez spent over fourteen years in labor relations negotiating contracts, and resolving disputes in areas such as immigration, contract administration, communication, staffing, and politics (Federal, State and Local). His efforts have been featured in Rolling Stone, Chicago Tribune Magazine and cited in the New York Times Best Seller Fast Food Nation, Chicago Lawyer Magazine and recognized by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Cindy Gurne

Greg Kihlstrom

Greg is SVP of Digital at Yes&, a marketing agency in the Washington, DC region. He was the founder of Carousel30, a digital agency he started in 2003 which was acquired in late 2017 by Yes&. He is an award-winning creative director and digital strategist who has worked with top brands, including AOL, Choice Hotels, Coca-Cola, GEICO, Marriott Hotels, MTV, Starbucks, Toyota and United Nations. Yes& is a leading digital agency in the Washington DC area, providing digital marketing and web design/development services to clients in a variety of industries. He is currently serving as Vice President on the American Advertising Federation District 2 (Mid-Atlantic Region) Board of Directors, Chair of the American Advertising Federation’s National Innovation Committee, and the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Industry Mentorship Board. Greg’s latest book, The Agile Brand (2018) follows the evolution of branding from its beginnings to the authentic relationship with brands that modern consumers want, and gives practical examples of what you can do to create a more modern, agile brand while staying true to your core values. His first book, The Agile Web (2016), discusses the changing landscape of digital marketing and customer experience. He is a regular contributing writer to Forbes, Social Media Today, iMedia Connection, and Capitol Communicator and has been featured in publications such as Advertising Age, SmartCEO, Website Magazine, and The Washington Post. He’s participated as a keynote speaker, panelist and moderator at industry events around the world including Internet Week New York, Internet Summit, EventTech, SMX Social Media, Social Media Week, Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, ABA Bank Marketing Summit, and ADWKDC, among others. He has guest lectured at several schools including Georgetown University, American University, University of Maryland, Howard University and Virginia Tech. Website: https://www.gregkihlstrom.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregkihlstrom/ Instagram: @theagileworld Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregrkihlstrom

Cindy Gurne

Wayne Waldon

A seasoned professional in project management and former servant of the country, Wayne Waldon brings a unique blend of leadership experience to his current role as chief executive officer of the Reveille Group, LLC. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Furman University, Wayne began his journey serving in the United States Army for five years, leading soldiers in combat missions and rehabilitation programs before departing in 2009. He continued his career in government as an IT Program Manager for Fortune 100 Company, General Dynamics Information Technology. During his tenure, Wayne managed design, construction and implementation of multi-million dollar projects that brought information technology services and training to customers in the health, security, intelligence and government arenas. He earned his Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University before pursuing his passion for service to veterans, thus founding the Reveille Group in 2014. As CEO, he leads his team in strategic planning and business development to ensure government agencies have strong business tactics to become successful. Wayne holds a certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. When he’s not integrating business strategies for Reveille, Wayne spends time riding motorcycles, participating in adaptive sports—a passion he found while recovering from his injuries as a soldier—and serving as a peer mentor for other Wounded Warriors.