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Let's make your business flourish.

Hi, I’m Candice – a values-based Human Resources  Strategist. And I’m so excited you’re here!

Fortress and Flourish is all about putting the power of HR to  work for your unique business, creating a diverse, equitable, safe environment that prioritizes people and experience while still maintaining a healthy bottom line. I build management systems that center fairness, transparency, and kindness, because we believe in changing the world by doing business


My formal degrees are in Anthropology & Philosophy (BA) and Human Resources & Labor Relations (MBA), but my real education has come from running for-profit and nonprofit organizations and working with leaders like you. I’ve had the opportunity to support sustainable and net-zero development firms, conservation organizations, and healthy food and

housing initiatives.  And after serving over 100 organizations across sectors, I know exactly how to help you create the kind of workspace you and your employees deserve.

Welcome to the holistic HR movement!


Your HR system is so much more than a bunch of policies and procedures

My holistic approach starts with your core vision and builds out systems and streamlines processes to create the environment you want to bring into the world.


Interested in holistic HR? Wondering how I could support your organization?

Flipping the Script on HR as a “Four Letter Word”

Around here, we’re all about creating sustainable, equitable workplaces that support your people and your financial goals. It’s a workplace revolution! 


Instead of making life more complicated or helping you avoid problems, I’m here to help you build something powerful and effective. We’ll streamline your systems so things feel simple. We’ll focus on your people – creating an environment where they feel seen, supported, and fully safe to be themselves. And we’ll keep your vision and values at the center of it all.

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This looks like

Financial, physical, and emotional support for every member of your team


We achieve this by

Implementing a values-aligned HR approach


This matters because

A team that’s always running from one fire to the next doesn’t have time to rest or grow. Building a sustainable environment is the best way to help your team thrive!

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This looks like

Diversity in team members and a commitment to working with different perspectives


We achieve this by

Examining unconscious bias in all aspects of business


This matters because

Diversity helps us adapt to changes, solve problems more creatively, and develop resilience. Everyone performs better when they know they are treated fairly.

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This looks like

A compensation plan, staff rituals, and reinvesting plans that bring everyone together


We achieve this by

Aligning your actions with your core values


This matters because

People are a stabilizing force in an unpredictable economy. When you prioritize creating a strong community, you build a tapestry of people who can weather any storm.

Values-Aligned HR in Practice

Generosity is a core value at Fortress and Flourish, and I carefully consider where we donate our time and money. Each cause or organization is chosen because it aligns with our organizational values and is committed to powerful change. Click on each organization to learn more about where part of your investment goes when you work with us!

2021 Giving

Housing Matters


Homeless Garden Project


Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes


2022 Giving

Amah Mutsun Land Trust


Planned Parenthood, Santa Cruz 


Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos


Waldorf School


Holistic HR

Work with me one-on-one to develop a comprehensive, collaborative HR foundation. This custom HR strategy and design is perfect for entrepreneurs and executives who are already running a business.

Back Pocket HR

Choose to get one-time or short-term help with Strategy Sessions, VIP Days, and Fractional Chief People Officer services.


HR Building Blocks

Create a powerful HR action plan as you start your organization or grow a small team for the first time. The courses are based on your needs, so you don’t waste time on education, skills, and strategies you don’t need.

Not sure what service you need,
but want to learn more about what I offer?

A Few Surprising Facts About Me. . .


I’m a woodfire

ceramic artist



I throw functional ware (like cups and bowls) and then work with a team of people for 24 hours a day, many days in a row to fire the kiln.  There's nothing like pulling the pieces out.  I never know what I'm going to get!


I started my first company when I was 23



It was a group tour company and we took people to Key West, Savannah and New Orleans for up to 4 days at a time.  I closed the company when I moved back to CA to be closer to family.

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I lived and worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East


I specialized in burials and human osteology.  When I graduated I decided to take some time away from school to see if archaeology was really what I wanted to do with my life.


My first HR job was for a restaurant group



I'm a foodie & beverage lover!  I love trying new local restaurants, weird foods, going to the Farmer's Market, cooking at home and gardening. I tried brewing beer one time, but decided to leave that one to the pros.

Media Bio

Candice Elliott uses values-aligned HR best practices to help impact-driven leaders grow their teams, improve employee retention, create a supportive, safe work environment, and save money. 


With over 15 years of experience, a master’s degree in HR from Penn State, and a Senior Professional certification in California, she has the knowledge, experience, and skills your organization is looking for. Candice is passionate about supporting small businesses and nonprofits through monetary donations and time. During the pandemic, she donated hundreds  of work hours to support organizations during and through the challenges of the changing world of work.


When Candice isn’t supporting businesses with values-aligned HR best practices, you can find her adventuring with her child in and around her home – the unceded land of the Awaswas speaking people, so called Santa Cruz, California.

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