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Confidence top lesson at business institute

Molly Shore

When Robert S. Wallace suffered a knee injury that forced him to give

up his job as a physical education assistant, it could have spelled

disaster. But Wallace, 36, got a job as a salesman for a West Hills


office furniture company, which pays a better salary than his former


While recovering, Wallace learned of the Ross Business Institute,

a Burbank school that specializes in training people who are changing


professions or starting their own businesses.

Within six months, Wallace graduated from the institute with a

diploma in customer service and sales.

“The most important thing I learned was the confidence to go out

in the business world and find a job,” Wallace said.

Cathi Mauro, 43, was a successful licensed real-estate agent and

mortgage broker, but the work consumed her life. Mauro enrolled at

Ross and graduated with a diploma in sales management and marketing.


Today, she works a 9-to-5 job as an executive secretary for a

senior vice president of business affairs at Disney’s Buena Vista

Motion Picture Group.

Mauro said she is not making as much as she did in real estate,

but the trade-off is she gets to spend more time with her family,

which she said is worth more to her than money.

Like Wallace, the training and input from instructors at Ross gave

her a lot of confidence, Mauro said.


The institute, which opened its doors seven years ago and has

about 90 full-time students enrolled, offers short-term business

courses. President Susan Ross said her school, at 229 E. Palm Ave.,

is equivalent to two years of college. Students learn life skills as

well as technical skills, she said.

“We’re under the same strict accreditation as colleges and

universities,” Ross said. “Private colleges are mandated to place

their students. That’s how our accreditation is judged.”

Ross began her career in education when she taught preschool and

kindergarten in the private sector. She moved on to marketing and

admissions in private and vocational schools.

“After 15 years of that, I decided to open my own school,” Ross