Twenty years ago Mona Eliassen Taliaferro was a successful and athletic 29-year-old. Then she came down with the flu… and never got over it. Within six months she was on disability. And within eight months, needing to pay the bills, she started a company out of her home called the Eliassen Group. Much to her surprise, this information technology staffing and consulting company would turn out to be wildly successful.
A few years ago, she successfully guided her company to a new focus on eClinical Solutions – provision of data management and technical consulting & training services to the biopharma industry. The move positioned her as one of the top woman entrepreneurs in the country, and a sought-after leader.
In 2005 Mona Taliaferro was appointed to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council's (WBENC) Leadership Forum. Recently she co-chaired the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses conference and was inducted into the Women’s Business Hall of Fame. She has also been named Incentive magazine's Motivator of the Year and was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepeneur of the Year.
Despite her success, Mona Eliassen Taliaferro has never regained her athleticism or her health: 20 years later, the fatigue and the pain still persist, as does the need to constantly “push through” the problems that ME/CFS raises.
But instead of retreating in bitterness, Mona became one of the foremost ME/CFS philanthropists, contributing heavily to physicians, researchers and groups such as the CFIDS Association of America and the HHV-6 Foundation. She sits on the ProHealth Board of Directors and is Chair of the Board of the HHV-6 Foundation.
As a businesswoman, Mona Taliaferro realizes how damaging the connotations of a name can be – and the importance of the stigma that the chronic fatigue syndrome name has caused.
And as a patient, she realizes how little the name relates to ME/CFS patients' experiences. She says she is proud to be on the ME/CFS Fair Name Implementation Committee.