Laurie Ahart, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Ahart has served as Chief Executive Officer of Abacus Credit Counseling since Abacus was founded in 2007. Ms. Ahart is a Certified Personal Financial Counselor and has conducted hundreds of free sessions helping individuals to improve their financial situations. Ms. Ahart is also an attorney and member of the State Bar of California. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Stanford University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Prior to founding Abacus Credit Counseling, Ms. Ahart was an associate with Hogan Lovells LLP in Los Angeles.
Marisa Hawkins, Chief Operating Officer and Director
Ms. Hawkins serves as Chief Operations Officer with Abacus. Prior to joining Abacus, Ms. Hawkins was a senior staff attorney in the Consumer Law Project at Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles. There, she administered Public Counsel’s bankruptcy project for the benefit of indigent Chapter 7 clients. In addition to managing individual cases, Ms. Hawkins adminstered monthly legal clinics to assist pro se filers, and was instrumental in developing the Self Help Desk at the Central District of California Bankruptcy Court, where individuals can receive free assistance with their bankruptcy filings. Ms. Hawkins received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley with high distinction and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor's society. She received her Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the State Bar of California and was the recipient of the 2005 William J. Lasarow Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service in Bankruptcy.
Henkie Barron, Director
Ms. Barron is an attorney specializing in corporate restructuring and bankruptcy matters. She has experience representing debtors and secured lenders in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University and her Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Michigan, where she was the associate editor for the Michigan Journal of Race and Law and the Michigan Journal of Law Reform. Ms. Barron is currently an associate in the bankruptcy practice at Winston & Strawn LLP, where she received the “Cube of Justice” award recognizing her pro bono efforts. Prior to Winston & Strawn, Ms. Barron was an associate with Sidley Austin. Ms. Barron does not represent individuals seeking personal bankruptcy protection.
Julie Whiting, Director
Julie Whiting has been an educator in the Los Angeles area for more than 10 years. Ms. Whiting currently teaches at Campbell Hall in North Hollywood. She has also worked as a property manager, and has volunteered with organizations such as Stop the Traffic and the Lake Avenue Church, helping homeless individuals, foster children and other people in need. She received her Bachelor's Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and received a Master's Degree from New York University. Ms. Whiting is also a Certified Personal Financial Counselor.
Tom Yu, Director
Mr. Yu is Senior Vice President at Union Bank where he works in the areas of finance and risk management. He currently serves as Senior Risk Officer within Union Bank’s Global Capital Markets business. Prior to his current role, he acted the Head of Market Risk Management. Before Union Bank, Mr. Yu was Senior Vice President at SunTrust Banks, overseeing market and enterprise risk management. Prior to that, he worked in management consulting at Oliver Wyman, specializing in the financial services industry and focusing on market and credit risk, and worked in economic consulting at NERA Economic Consulting. Mr. Yu received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Princeton University, a Master’s Degree in Economics from Northwestern University, and an M.B.A. from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He is a CFA Charterholder and certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM).