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.
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.
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.
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