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Meet Andrea J. Applegate, Founder and President

Three qualities that describe Andrea, which are almost immediately apparent upon meeting her, are: polish, passion, and personality. Nearly everything Andrea does is done in a polished, professional manner. Her passion to bring excellence into the field of workforce & talent is contagious. And she captures her audience and delivers her message in a friendly, compelling and personable manner.


Andrea is a recognized expert in workforce & talent, and she speaks from a diverse array of work experience: from manufacturing to insurance to technology; from start-up to corporate to nonprofit. She cut her teeth at the Columbus Chamber, an assignment that evolved into working with Columbus2020. She conducted countless BRE—business retention and expansion—visits, interviewing employers about their workforce challenges, connecting them to resources, and recommending solutions to address their talent needs. She then jumped over to the nonprofit side to provide leadership to workforce agencies that serve job seekers. She was sought after not only for her understanding of workforce and workforce policy, but because of her business perspective—she understands how business works and what businesses need.


Fundamental to Andrea's philosophy on talent is that, regardless of industry or occupation, employers and employees must co-exist within a great place to work. Andrea is driven to provide employers and employees the tools and resources to make the ideal of a great place to work a reality.


Andrea launched Applegate Talent Strategies in January 2017 to provide talent-focused consulting services to business. Her solutions are well-suited for those companies who want to attract, retain and engage their best workforce. According to Andrea, a great place to work offers a perfect blend of wages/benefits, environment/culture and value/respect. The key is that 'perfect blend' is unique to each business. "Many companies chase their employer-competitors but can’t figure out why they never gain on them. A better approach is to do what is best for your company in particular, your employees in particular."


After uncovering a business’ root talent issues, Andrea prepares a detailed plan with short- and long-term solutions to transform the company’s workforce into its competitive advantage. Each individually-prepared talent strategy is based on insights Andrea gleans from engaging with the company's employees and its leaders. Andrea’s approach is asset-based, and she brings innovative, best-in-class solutions to every project. When put into practice, the customized talent strategy leads to an environment where everyone in the business can operate at the top of their skill, productivity, and motivation. 


As a life-long resident of Columbus, Andrea earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Ohio State University and an MBA from Franklin University. Andrea is proud to carry on the values instilled in her by her late mother, Marcia. “My mother was my hero and my role model. Since I was a little girl, I can remember she displayed in her office a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension. I keep this quote and her memory top of mind as they inspire me every single day to do my part in creating a better world—in my case, that’s workplace by workplace.”

Andrea lives with her husband, who recently exited the workforce, and their beloved dog, Jack, who is sometimes featured in videos and often makes an appearance on Zoom calls. 

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Meet Lora Fish, SHRM-SCP | Principal Consultant

Lora loves helping individuals, teams, and organizations discover strategies that help people to be successful in the workplace by building inclusive workforce bridges--- a place to go and a thriving workplace to land in. Her action-oriented and strengths-driven facilitation style involves rolling up her sleeves to set individuals and organizations on the path to growth. She believes we all have our own unique strengths and abilities, and it is our responsibility and our privilege to use them for the greater good. She is known for persistence and compassion that helps bring out the best in people.  She brings an authentic voice and a listening ear to uncover the issues at hand and the agility to address whatever comes her way. 

Lora is a “journeyman” in the workforce and HR world, working in and partnering with for-profits, non-profits, schools, and government. She helps businesses successfully hire and retain their workforce and is comfortable in any environment, whether donning an apron to job coach in the kitchen to advising front line managers in a manufacturing environment or consulting with executives in the boardroom. During the recession of 2008, she helped downsized professionals get back to work.


She has led numerous teams to create innovative training for individuals from entry level to executive. She understands the needs of small businesses and has created all the processes that go into hiring, retaining and developing staff.  She understands diverse perspectives, from the front-line worker to the C-Suite executive. 


Lora earned her BSBA in Human Resources Management from The Ohio State University. She is an Innovative Leadership Institute Facilitator and a Society for Human Resources Management – Senior Certified Professional. She hosts a monthly Employee Engagement and Retention Virtual Book Club, coaches companies to set and achieve their engagement and retention goals and serves as a virtual discussion co-facilitator with the Great Leaders Great Bosses series and other workshops. 


She provides Leadership Training for Emerging Leaders to increase diversity in leadership and assists business owners and their leadership teams to create people practices that take the headache out of working with humans, while creating better workplaces.

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Lora Fish Wants You to Succeed
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