Our Team

We are blessed to have a team of experts that are dedicated to exceeding your expectations and delivering results. We understand that every situation is unique which is why Altitude 7 draws from a diverse team with a wide range of subject matter experts. Our team includes trade and industry analysts, market researchers, government affairs, legal advisors, finance, marketing, international PR, negotiators, and country specialists.

Michael D. Ross, Founder & Managing Partner

Michael Ross is an entrepreneur who knows how to build and grow an organization. His experience spans several industries including international trade, government, renewable energy, private equity, and real estate.

More remarkable than Michael’s success in business is his vision and commitment to philanthropy. This philosophy has driven Michael to support several philanthropic ventures, including financial assistance for orphanages in Latin America, and the formation of a foundation in Panama where he led the coordination of an international conference on HIV/AIDS education in Panama – an event that received national media attention and drew participation from the Panamanian Minister of Health, UNICEF, University of Panama, and the Association of Panamanian Psychologists.

Michael's career began as a staffer for a Senior Member on Capitol Hill, often as a constituent liaison to several Federal Agencies. Michael has enjoyed direct access to Congress and the political process for 14 years.

Michael joined national lender, Balboa Capital Corporation and was 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 $40 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, bad debt, and other private equity transactions.

Currently leveraging his international business and political experience, Michael is the Founder and Managing Partner for Altitude 7 Trade, an international trade and strategic sales and marketing firm dedicated to increasing exports, foreign direct investment and Federal Government business for their clients. A7 serves clients with interests all over the world with four offices strategically located in Irvine, California, Seattle, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Panama City, Panama.

Michael is sought after for his expertise in international trade, education, business leadership, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. He is currently advising on several projects, including a $2.5 billion development, the first master planned, environmentally sustainable retirement community offering all levels of medical care and assisted living. Michael serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including: Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), United States Panama Business Council SE, and Creative Offering, and is an advisor to the Magic Johnson Foundation, and Brandman University.

Nancy Christiano, Partner, Philanthropy & Foundation Management

Nancy Christiano is a master connector, visionary and public relations expert focusing on fundraising, stakeholder and community commitment, and project development for societal improvement. She has depth in management and coalition building at the grassroots, state, national and international levels, in both the business and non-profit sectors. 

Nancy is the Founder of the Christiano Network and is a powerful leader with a proven track record in event management, philanthropic strategy, foundation management, media and community relations, and public outreach. Nancy has access to major corporate donors, private family foundations, people of influence as well as personal relationships with internationally recognized speakers who focus on peace, justice and sustainability and is instrumental in connecting them to philanthropic organizations, universities and others.

Projects: Connecting high-profile supporters of Africa to Forbes' outreach efforts; protection of primates at The Bonobo Project; assist in creating community centers in Africa; PR for Richard Leakey and Fuel Freedom's movie "Pump", assist Cuipo to protect rainforest; speaker outreach TEDx; licensed to escort people to Cuba; Empowering Women World Wide though Free Trade; and participated in raising impact investment funds for Philip and Katy Leakey of Kenya thereby employing 1,300 Maasai women.

High profile individuals that Nancy has assisted with their causes includes the likes of Philip Leakey, Sir Richard Branson, The Dalai Lama, Charlize Theron, Queen Noor, Geena Davis, Ted Danson, and Sam Waterston. Over the years, Nancy has had the unique opportunity to participate in honoring people of influence including Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Sting, Glenn Close, and Bill Clinton. 

Nancy enjoys international business and successfully opened the US market for a Japanese cosmetic company which is currently sold in Nordstrom, Sephora and over 500 stores throughout the United States. As an expert in sustainability Nancy assisted Governor Schwarzenegger's Global Climate Summi to help stimulate economic growth, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, create green jobs, and promote clean energy solutions. 

Nancy enjoys giving back to her community and is a special advisor and serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including: MesoAmerican Reef Fund based in Guatemala, Magic Johnson Foundation, Brandman University, El Sol Science and Arts Academy, Chapman Univerity 's Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship, and Women in Leadership, Wilkinson College, Chapman University. Nancy graduated Summa Cum Laude from Chapman University with a BA in Communications Studies.

Deborah A. Hey, Washington Division Managing Partner & Founder

Deborah Hey is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record for building and growing companies.  Her experience spans several industries including technology, manufacturing, and retail.  She has assisted with dozens of company financings, numerous strategic re-directions, and has led several very successful sales teams. 

Deborah started her first business, a “roach coach” as a teenager, went on to found a retail store and then moved into technology in the early 80’s during the introduction of DOS.  Her technology career included businesses in CAD, Imaging, Large Scale Systems Integration, and Hardware Manufacturing.  After selling her Systems Integration firm to a $6 billion multi-national she co-founded a manufacturing company in the marine industry.  She developed an International Distribution network and grew that business from $0 to just under $20 million.  As a sought after startup consultant, she assists businesses in getting past where they are stuck and creating a strategy for rapid growth or exit.

Deborah is a graduate of the University of Washington, Foster School of Business, Management Program and the M.I.T. Entrepreneurial Masters Program.  She credits her history of 7 startups with 3 successful exits and a couple of spectacular crashes as her highest form of education though, knowing that having “been there and done that” is the best learning there is.  

Deborah is a leader in her community and serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including: Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).

Nick Leighton, Partner, International Public Relations

Nick is a leading expert in International Public Relations, marketing and social media and has an award winning PR agency with offices in California, the Middle East and teams of PR professionals in 51 cities in 37 countries. He has represented the public image of Fortune 500 companies, some of the largest non-profit organizations in the world, political parties and members of royalty. Nick is an Associate Professor at Chapman University where he teaches Crisis Communications and International Marketing and is the co-author of the crisis communications book, CRISIS COMMUNICATION: practical PR strategies for reputation management and company survival.


Nick plays a key role as Altitude 7 Trade helping foreign clients effecitvely target new markets within the United States and conversly with domestic clients entering international markets. Nick leverages his deep understanding and 15+ years of experience of international business in The Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, by providing strategy and tactical project management of integrated marketing campaigns, public relations and social media.  

Jason Niedle, Partner, Branding & Communication

Jason's purpose is Creative Leadership.

In his 20+ years helping clients visually communicate, he is responsible for several thousand book designs, hundreds of calendars, countless corporate brands and websites, and has earned somewhere over 50 design and photography awards. He is both creative and, with a philosophy degree, logical: from leading the design of a one million man-hour project that is intended to last more than 10,000 years; to leading large groups of highly successful entrepreneurs. He has founded several businesses, including The 28 Page Agency, a web design firm. He provides value to organizations by using effective strategy and design to make a positive difference in the world.

Along the way, Jason has performed at Carnegie Hall, climbed Africa’s tallest mountain, and re-met a childhood friend … only to discover that she had been his soulmate the whole time, unknown. They recently married — in four culturally authentic ceremonies in four weeks on four continents in a “Wedding World Tour” — a simple idea that not only made him an official member of Kenya’s famed Maasai tribe, but also led to their upcoming book on how anyone can create better relationships.

Jason is passionate about ideas that change the world, and combines his love of visual communications with his passion for helping others. One of many high proflie clients, includes Sir Richard Branson’s charity Virgin Unite, and he helped Virgin raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in one night. Jason believes that the only types of arrangements that we should chose are those which are win/win/win: where we can forward our personal goals, serve the goals of his clients/partners, and at the same time help the planet and its inhabitants.​ ​Please feel free to contact Jason to discuss your win/win/win project.

Janola Massaquoi Cheif Operating Officer

An entrepreneur, Janola Massaquoi founded Red Door Education Group, having previously managed client based education services for national and international nonprofits.

Red Door provides vocational education utilizing web based virtual instruction and learning labs with flexible hours to meet student’s needs.  Red Door vocational programs devote significant time to enhancing soft/transferable skills to help students increase opportunities for gainful employment and college success.  

Janola has a proven record of executing strategic online marketing campaigns and increasing student program participation in one of the nation’s largest school districts, Houston Independent School District.

Janola Massaquoi  completed undergraduate studies in Political Science at Prairie View A&M University. Janola completed graduate studies in Social Work at the University of Houston where she graduated summa cum laude and completed post graduate coursework in strategic business consulting.  Janola is a graduate of Atlanta Technology Angel's LaunchPad2X 2013 class, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.

Active in the community, Janola serves the Girl Scouts of Atlanta as a Troop Leader, helping girls learn new skills. Janola enjoys serving her community and  also volunteers in the prison ministry.

Nance Rosen, Partner, Branding & Business Development

Nance Rosen is as Partner at Altitude 7 Group and the Global Marketing Director for Hot Makeup Professional, a worldwide luxury brand of cosmetics. CNBC named Nance, its “Top Job Coach.” Investor’s Business Daily featured her in its Managing for Success column. Over 420 media outlets feature Nance on Business Communication, Personal Branding, Marketing and Business Success. She has 4.5 million followers on her Tuesday blog.

Nance is a former marketing executive with The Coca-Cola Company, the number one most recognized brand in the world. The first woman director of marketing in the Fortune 500 technology sector, past president of the Medical Marketing Association and a successful serial entrepreneur, she hosted International Business of Public Radio and NightCap on television, where she spoke to the world’s most important people in business, politics, labor and government.

Nance is CEO of ShoutBRAND and NanceSpeaks!, and Executive Publisher at Pegasus Media World: the Success Press. She produced a Wall Street Journal bestseller, BusinessWeek bestseller and the number one sales book on Amazon. The author of Speak Up & Succeed: How to get everything you want in meetings, presentations and conversations and the Library of Success, Nance's latest book is “Million Dollar Personal Branding Guide: How to Avoid the 10 Killer Mistakes and Live the Life of a Million Dollar Personal Brand. 

Nance is a world-class speaker, a faculty member at UCLA Extension and a business and career coach of success-minded clients. She has created the personal branding for some of the world’s most famous celebrities, high profile business people, and well-known coaches and speakers. She is the personal branding coach for Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Nance is on the nominating and judging committees for the Personal Brand of the Year Award, a global competition.

Cristina Dayton, Public Affairs Strategist

Cristina has over seven years experience in the public and private sector, working in areas including; public affairs, consumer public relations, state and local media outreach, coalition development, state, local and grassroots stakeholder outreach, management of non-profit organizations, strategic planning, event planning and social media outreach.


Before joining Altitude 7 Group, Cristina spent seven years at Capital Public Affairs, one year at Fleishman-Hillard Sacramento and four years at Porter Novelli Sacramento where she worked on a variety of high profile accounts including Chevron, Plains Exploration and Production Company, Walmart, American Plastics Council, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Stuart Foundation, International Game Technology, and the Urban Land Institute.


Cristina began her career as an assistant campaign manager for a California congressional candidate. She continued her career in politics while working for Congressman Daniel E. Lungren (CA-3) where she specialized in constituent services for the Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Military Service Academy Nominations.


Cristina graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and a minor in Communications Studies. In 2010 Cristina graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Master of Arts degree in Government.

Fred Dyste, Investment Analyst & Due Diligence

Over the past 30-years, Mr. Dyste has been involved in a wide array of companies, products, and services filling many corporate roles along the way. This gives him a broad perspective on a variety of industries and a unique ability to identify market niches, product needs and implementation strategies. For the past twelve years he has been working with startup companies, mostly as co-founder, lead investor, and strategic planner. Previously he worked for Qualcomm (pre-IPO), Ziatech Corporation (acquired by Intel), Digital Stock (acquired by Corbis), and Blue Sky Software (acquired by Macromedia then Adobe). Mr. Dyste studied computer science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and applied mechanical sciences at UC, San Diego.
 
As an entrepreneur Mr. Dyste has co-founded or been part of the startup team for seven companies. In his role as founder and strategic planner he has taken ideas and turned them into functioning companies. Thanks to a broad background and diverse experiences he is able to multi-task in finance, operations, product & service development, manufacturing, and sales & marketing. Having written dozens of business plans he has a proven track record of conceptualizing ideas and translating them into thriving organizations.
 
With a keen eye for transformational technology and business opportunities, Mr. Dyste works as an associate member of Altitude 7 Group conducting due diligence on investment opportunities.