We’re committed to making the highest level of financial and operational integrity available to creative, passionate small-business owners.
We have seen one too many artists, athletes and entrepreneurs burn out, fail and – even worse! – completely lose their passion for what they do. All because they don’t know how to manage their finances or run an organized, effective business. We are committed that doesn’t happen to you. With our expert financial and operational skills, you can really devote your time and attention to the parts of your business that inspire you.
Principal: Kate Ross
As a small business owner, Kate knows first hand the value of streamlined operations and smart bookkeeping to achieve financial and career goals.
Through strategic growth planning, risk assessment, and cash flow management, Kate helps small businesses exceed their goals. To her clients, Kate is more than just a consultant: she’s an advisor, a mentor, and a friend.
In November of 2011, Kate followed her passion to provide back of house solutions to generate amazing results for local entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists and started Ross Business Management. With no staff, Kate worked determinedly to ensure the success of her early clients, one of whom came to Kate with a $21,000 tax levy, no organized accounting system, and minimal credit. In only a year, this same client started working on large government projects without the stress of back-end operations.
While earning degrees in Math and Economics from Vassar College, Kate discovered a passion for the art of business. She is a master at applying big business organizational principals and methodologies to small companies and startups. She has worked at large and small, for-profit and non-profit institutions, experience that gives Kate a unique ability to effectively manage a broad range of operational and strategic issues. While overseeing multi-million dollar budgets and operations as Finance Director for Group Goetz Architects, Kate acted as Director of Membership Development at the American High Speed Rail Alliance, promoting carbon emissions reduction through the development of a unified national high-speed rail network. She also worked on staff at the National Coalition on Health Care, advocating on behalf of the coalition for health system cost containment and sustainability. An animal lover, Kate also volunteered for four years at The Washington Humane Society – just ask Kate about her rescue dog Pika and you’ll get a sense of how compassionate and devoted she is to helping others.
Kate devotes her time out of the office to public speaking opportunities that teach small business owners how to adapt their business operations to maximize time spent on doing what they truly love about their craft. Kate recently led a presentation on entrepreneurship at Vassar College and has held several workshops through Think Local First, a local network of small businesses who drive sustainable economic development in Washington, DC.
Associate Principal: Joanna Tao
Joanna is RBM’s resident QuickBooks and small business tax expert. Helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses for the past 7 years, she has encountered and overcome every imaginable hurdle faced by young companies. Joanna not only understands business from the back of house perspective, she also has five years experience running her own small business. After graduating from George Washington University, Joanna moved across the country and purchased a florist in downtown San Francisco. Knowing nothing of flowers, she managed to increase the shop’s bottom line by 59%. In addition, Joanna worked as a corporate accountant for multiple start-ups in the Silicon Valley including Bookrenter.com, an online textbook rental company. And in her spare time, she did bookkeeping for a friend’s small business.
Since joining the RBM team, Joanna has created a broadly applicable tax deadline program that informs clients of their specific tax requirements and filing dates. She has directly serviced all of RBM’s new start-up package clients; let their successes be her testimony. Additionally, she has single-handedly reorganized several years worth of improperly managed financial records for one of RBM’s biggest clients. Needless to say, Joanna knows numbers and her goal, as the Associate Principal of Ross Business Management, is to simplify and expedite the financial processes of local small businesses.
Like her co-workers, Joanna is passionate about animals (especially her calico kitty Dolce) and a staunch supporter of human rights. She is actively involved with International Justice Mission, an organization that combats human trafficking and violent oppression, and she supports a child through Compassion International.
Operations and Strategy Manager: Adrienne Polk
Adrienne’s background in people, product, brand, and event management led her to become Ross Business Management’s Operations and Strategy Manager.
Adrienne believes that successful businesses grow because of empowerment on the micro-level, no matter the size of the business. She is passionate about creating effective, efficient strategies to grow businesses. Adrienne uses organizational and development skills to help people meet their goals, increase revenue, and live into their potential.
After graduating from The George Washington University, Adrienne became the Project Manager of a small web design firm called Joint Concepts in Washington, DC, where she was first exposed to brand management. Being at a small firm from the start gave her the ability to understand clients’ needs at an in-depth level and work hands on with their specific niche.
Adrienne then worked as a manager for a major athletic apparel brand, lululemon athletica, for five years, becoming an expert in leading, coaching, training, and facilitating. Adrienne has developed and executed trainings on organizational behavior, personal development, process improvement, and operational strategy.
Adrienne, a runner and a yogi, is passionate about health and fitness (she hosts a weekly outdoor bootcamp), and loves to cook.
Business Development and Acquisition Consultant: Marcus Dowling
With a finger on the pulse of the past, present and future of business, media, art and entertainment, Washington, DC native Marcus K. Dowling is a locally, nationally and internationally respected veteran executive and journalist. His expertise in brand, relationship and business management provides the perfect background to serve as Ross Business Management’s Business Development and Acquisition Consultant.
Over the past five years, Dowling has distinguished himself as a music/arts blogger and journalist for print and online publications, including: The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Washington Informer, Washingtonian Magazine, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, DC-based arts and music sites Brightest Young Things and the Pink Line Project, as well as numerous online dance music portals.
Between 2012 and 2013, Dowling served as the Executive Director at Listen Vision - the Nation’s Capital’s oldest recording studio - excelling in digital media with their WLVS Radio brand, where he helped grow the online streaming audio and video portal’s number of broadcasters by 52%. At present, 80-plus hours of live weekly content is being globally accessed in over 130 countries on one of the United States’ largest online radio entertainment providers.
Dowling is also one of the founding principals of Vamos Promo, a PR and marketing firm that services the progressive underground dance community, aligning DJs and producers with high-profile brand development and content marketing opportunities.
People are Talking About Us:
• 09/23/13 - Do Androids Dance? – Kate Ross on Why the Structure of Artist Management has to Change
• 07/13/13 - Kate Ross Featured in Shoeboxed- Decluttering and Destressing the Lives of Countless Entrepreneurs
• 05/10/13 - YFS Magazine – 12 Ways To Leverage Technology To Improve Business Productivity
• 04/30/13 - YFS Magazine – Do Employees Trust You? 11 Entrepreneurs Reveal How To Build Credibility As A Leader
• 03/25/13 - My Business Magazine – Top 5 Elements Of A Successful Small Business
• 02/28/13 - Kate Ross Gives Workshop On Small Business Management With Think Local First DC
• 02/25/13 - Kate Ross Featured In YFS Magazine’s 2013 Startup Resolution List
• 12/31/12 – MSN – Business Owners Share Resolutions For The New Year – Business On Main Videos
• 12/21/12 - CNN – Think Big, Ask For More: 10 Ways Women Can Succeed At Work In 2013
•12/11/12 - YFS Magazine – 2013 Small Business New Years Resolution
•11/20/12 - YFS Magazine – 25 Entrepreneurs Share How To Prevent, Reduce And Overcome Business Stress