Board of Advisors


bluedressheadshotKatana Abbott, CFP® practitioner- Founder and Program Director

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Life and Legacy Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books.

She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.

She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts.


Julie RussettJulie Russett- Board of Advisors

As a long-time friend and confidante of Katana, she participates in strategic planning sessions for the growth and development of Katana’s dream. Julie provides grant writing services, copy editing and strategic business guidance to Smart Women’s Empowerment Program.

Julie has worked for more than 25 years in the corporate world, and always for entrepreneurial small business owners. She currently serves as the Vice President of Customer Relations for a small and successful Michigan-based technology company.
Julie’s expertise in grant writing comes from fifteen years of experience writing grants for Detroit-area school districts and non-profits. With grant funding awards totaling more than $2M, she has loyal customers who turn to her again and again for words of wisdom and truth in pursuit of financial support.


Chris-headshot-214x300Chris Freer- Board of Advisors


Chris Freer combines her experience as an entrepreneur for 20 years with her second business as an author, speaker, coach and Creator of the M-gap© system, a comprehensive process to identify and eliminate Mindset Gaps that stop us from getting what we really want. She studied educational psychology and behavior modification at Miami University as part of her training to become triple certified in special education.

An entrepreneur in the advertising industry, she has earned numerous industry awards for creative excellence. Her clients have included FORTUNE 500® companies such as ABB, Sprint, Ameriprise Financial Elite Events Division and Wolters Kluwer Health. Additionally she has presented nearly 3,000 lessons, speeches and seminars throughout her career. Her first book, Roadmap to Success, co-authored by Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard is set to release in 2015.


Robin Thompson's HeadshotRobin Thompson- Board of Advisors

Robin Thompson, M.A. is an expert in personal finance and the author of two books—Increasing Your Cash Flow: A Practical Financial Guide and the 31 Day Action Guide to Increasing Your Cash Flow.

Robin left her fast-track career in engineering leadership at General Motors to pursue her true calling: to assist others, women in particular, in achieving financial freedom.

Today, Robin is President of Budget Wise Consulting, Inc.—through coaching and consulting, speaking engagements, and financial wellness programs, she has helped thousands gain financial control, achieve financial security, build wealth, and ultimately achieve a better life.

She is the Money Coach for ABC Television in Detroit, and has been a columnist for the Detroit News/Free Press and featured in Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, Balance Magazine (for First Midwest Bank), Alaska Airlines Magazine, and Health Alliance Plan’s Membership Magazine.

Numerous companies credit Robin with improving the financial health of their employees through her financial wellness programs. Some of her clients have included: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Ford Motor Company, Compuware, and Health Alliance Plan (HAP), a subsidiary of the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS)—one of the nation’s leading health care systems.

Saulson color 3200 X 4000Marjorie Saulson- Board of Advisors

Speaking, Message and Marketing Mentor Marjorie Saulson is passionately committed to helping business people who are nervous about public speaking to develop their own messages, acquire powerful presentation skills, and overcome their fears; so that they can attract all the clients they want and create the business and lifestyle of their dreams.

Her straight talk, humor and humility guide fearful speakers to feel comfortable in any speaking situation.

A professionally trained singer and voice actor, she often uses music and a variety of voices to get her points across in a humorous and memorable way.

She has graced the stage and led workshops in a variety of cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Winnipeg.

Her clients say that she “offers a wealth of insights from a lifetime of passion and experience” and that “Marjorie’s insight, coaching and positive plans for action are an enlightening booster shot in the arm and psyche.”

You can reach Marjorie at 248-716-1516, and at She provides a wealth of information on speaking, marketing and business skills at A free gift awaits you at

Colleen Kilpatrick- Board of Advisors 

Colleen Kilpatrick is a Speaker, Storyteller and Creative Collaborator. In her work with entrepreneurs, Colleen draws from her unique and varied background in business innovation, marketing, adventure travel, personal development and spiritual teachings to embolden people as they reinvent themselves and take their dreams out of the drawer. The creator of Business Brainstorming Sessions and numerous business and personal development programs and events, Colleen is know for her ability to turn complex concepts into simple, step-by-step solutions that can be understood and implemented with ease. When she’s not collaborating with entrepreneurs, Colleen is enjoying one of her many and varied interests, all the while collecting and telling stories that remind us of our shared humanity and inspire us to live with gusto.

Denise Anne Taylor- Board of Advisors 

Ms. Denise Anne Taylor was trained and certified by The Protocol School of Washington, the nation’s leading protocol and etiquette firm. Ms. Taylor has a diverse and extensive background in public speaking, corporate training and entrepreneurship. Ms. Taylor offers speaking engagements and executive support services to enhance an individual’s ability to navigate successfully in the workplace by applying contemporary and up-to-date business etiquette protocols and proven strategies for leadership and business excellence. Ms. Taylor also provides career coaching, strategies, resources and consulting for all facets of the career pathway to help individuals GET FOUND. GET HIRED™.

CAREERMEDIC™ was founded by Ms. Taylor to advocate and support capABLE candidates with a disability through placement with local southeast Michigan employers. Denise Anne is an approved vendor with the State of Michigan and a partner of Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Learn more about Denise Anne Taylor go to


Gina Goree Hitchens – Board of Advisors 

So much more than a financial planner, as CEO of GHG Financial Planning, Gina uses over 30 years of industry experience and many years of life lessons, to fuel her purpose and passion of inspiring people towards financial confidence. Her unique approach to financial education is often credited for helping clients create life and financial strategies that enable them to turn their goals and wishes into lasting legacies, while they live a life defined by choice, dignity, and independence.

Gina is particularly passionate about inspiring women to anticipate the financial impacts of life-defining events common to women. In 2015, she launched WIMP Groups ~Women Interested in Money and Power- intimate group discussions designed to inspire and empower women to embrace their unique style and power as women and turn life challenges into opportunities.

Deeply committed to her community, Gina is Past President of the National Association of Women Business Owners (Greater Detroit); Financial Literacy Chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (Alpha Rho Omega Chapter) and Past Board Secretary for the Indiana Economic and Financial Empowerment of the AME Church. To learn more visit Gina at or call 313.486.0067.

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