Transparency and authenticity are the building blocks of the positive relationships between Independence Wealth Advisors and our clients. Our IWA Client Advisory Board meets once a quarter to discuss important topics like the client experience. This board acts as the voice of the client and helps us maintain a close and productive relationship with the people we serve.

Meet Our Board

Mike Colant

Mike was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from St. Vincent St. Mary high school and The University of Mount Union with a degree in Business Management.

After graduating from Mount Union, Mike began a 30-year sales career with American Greetings, starting as a Sales Representative in Paducah, Kentucky. During his time with American Greetings Mike took on additional responsibilities, and spent time in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Atlanta. He relocated to corporate headquarters here in Cleveland in 1999 as Division Vice President of Sales. Upon retiring in 2009, he joined his wife Lisa in the operation of their Goddard School in Medina, Ohio. They opened their school in 2006 and received numerous awards from Goddard and the Medina community. Upon selling their school in late 2015 they joined the retirement ranks full-time.

Mike and Lisa live in Strongsville and have two married children. Their daughter Kristina lives in Columbia Station with her husband Brian, and their three daughters, Isabella, Gabriella, and Gianna. Their son Anthony lives in Columbus with his wife Chelsea and their daughter Lilliana and son Dominic.

Mike is an avid Cleveland sports fan and enjoys golf, pickleball, travel and physical fitness.

Greg Tabar

Greg grew up in Cleveland/Parma and attended Cleveland State University where he received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree. He worked as a Field Service/Quality Engineer for 7 years with Avtron Manufacturing, testing, de-bugging, servicing, and starting-up specialized electrical/electronic equipment both in-house and throughout the US and Canada.

Greg then finished his career at Demag Material Handling. Beginning as an Electrical Design Engineer, he progressed to various supervisory positions in the company while still keeping his hand in the electrical design work that he loved.

During his time at Demag, he also obtained an Executive MBA from Cleveland State University to help him in his supervisory duties.

After retiring, Greg enjoys keeping busy and giving back to the community. He is very active in several ministries in his church, a Deputy Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus, an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a member of the Finance Council, and works as a Standard Patient for three Medical Schools, helping to train medical students to learn to work with patients.

Greg also enjoys travelling, going out to dinner, and gardening with his wife, Karen, of 44 years, being with his 3 daughters and their families in all of their activities, watching TV and movies, and has just started taking piano lessons this year.

Kim Grady

Kim retired in 2021 after 33 years in retail. She has worked in both specialty and off-price stores. The last 24 years of her career she worked for TJ Maxx where she started in store management. She then worked in the regional office as the Regional Presentation Manager and then District Manager.

She has always enjoyed working with her teams to develop plans to achieve the companies goals. Throughout her career she was awarded for her operational excellence and people development.

Kim currently resides in Middleburg Heights with her rescue pup-Maverick. She enjoys travel, golf, attending plays at Playhouse Square, road trips and spending time with family and friends.

Jim LaFontaine

Jim grew up in North Canton and attended the University of Akron where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Working in the retail sector for his entire career, he rose through various management positions in department store chains and then finished his career with 23 years of service with OfficeMax, Inc.

In his last 17 years with OfficeMax, he transitioned to the IT side of the business supervising the development, implementation and support of their Catalog Order entry system as well as the Delivery Center’s warehouse management systems. After retiring in 2016, Jim continues to consult part-time with Ohio Alcohol Monitoring Systems in Independence, Ohio.

Jim enjoys golf, travel, biking and gardening with his wife, Patty, of 12 years. Jim and Patty reside in Hinckley and volunteer in the gardens at Stan Hywet Hall. They look forward to more travel adventures in the future, especially biking tours throughout the country.

Thomas Shepard

Tom’s abilities and knowledge in business, personnel, and financial responsibilities come from his 33 years of experience at the Cleveland Clinic. He began his career there as a journeyman painter. Over the years, he attended college and obtained various degrees. He advanced to several management positions and completed the majority of his career as the director of facilities engineering, managing over 250 personnel, a $60 million dollar budget, and maintaining over 14 million square feet of critical health buildings. After retiring in 2013, he worked for Life Safety Enterprises as the director of business development.

Tom is currently fully retired and enjoys much of his time staying active with other retirees, schoolmates, and most of all, with his wife and family of three married children and four grandchildren.