Michael Ross is a dynamic global entrepreneur and educator who is passionate about international business, scaling start-ups, crafting organizational strategy in complex regulatory environments, and leading teams to achieve extraordinary results. Michael has experience in business development, marketing, education, private equity, investor relations, finance, real estate, and diplomacy. Michael has a proven track record raising over $67 million from individual investors and managing a $323 million budget. Michael is a goal-oriented, driven, resourceful innovator who effectively empowers and leads with strong vision and creative thinking. He is a high-level, bilingual communicator with the expertise to build strong relationships at all levels of an organization.
Michael was honored to be the first recipient of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) Global Citizen of the Year Award in 2013. Michael was selected from over 12,000 leading entrepreneurs across 53 different countries. This prestigious honor recognizes one member whose innovative and effective approach to entrepreneurship transcends borders, changes lives, and sets an example for others. Michael has visited more than 55 countries, many of which he has done work in and given back to the community. As an Eagle Scout, he believes in leaving places better than how he originally found them.
His career began as a staffer for a Senior Congressman on Capitol Hill, often as a constituent liaison to several federal agencies. Michael has enjoyed direct exposure to Congress and the political process. Later he joined national lender, Balboa Capital Corporation and quickly climbed the corporate ladder, ultimately promoted to Director of Marketing before leaving to serve as president of Orion Financial Group. During his three-year tenure as president, the company grew from $3 million to over $55 million in revenue. Building on this experience, Michael founded Casita Financial, Inc., a full service real estate investment firm providing superior investment opportunities in real estate, hospitality, commercial paper, and other private equity transactions.
Leveraging his leadership, business and international experience, Michael is the Founder of Altitude 7 Group (A7), a boutique strategic business development, marketing and consulting creating impactful results for their clients. A7 has worked with some of the best organizations in the world including: Richard Branson's Virgin Unite, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Oceana, Charlize Theron's Africa Outreach Project, and United Nations Foundation. A7 serves clients with interests all over the world.
In 2014 Michael co-founded Allura Academy of Beauty Ruston, LLC, which in 2016 acquired an accredited Title IV institution, Pat Goins Ruston Beauty School in Louisiana to build upon the legacy of over 40 years of service to the community while leveraging his experience and industry partnerships to enhance educational outcomes, create jobs, empower students, and change lives. Michael has grown enrollment by 945% in less than a year and actively works with trade school owners around the country to grow and transform their institutions, helping to navigate regulatory compliance, operations, culture, and succession planning.
Michael is an adjunct professor at Chapman University's School of Communication and Entrepreneur in Residence and mentor at Chapmanâ€™s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. He serves as an Expert in Residence Mentor (EiR) for the Institute for Applied Innovation at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Michael served on Brandman University's MPA Advisory Board and is a Special Delegate and EO Ambassador to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and Global Entrepreneurship Congress. He currently serves on the boards for several organizations including Past President of the Orange County chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), he recently served as EO's Global Learning Chair. Michael is called upon for his expertise in education, strategy, business leadership, sales, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship.