President's Welcome Message

Karen Hess - Fifth Circuit
ABJA President

By way of introduction, my name is Karen Hess, and I am judicial assistant to the Honorable John W. Kolwe, Chief Judge of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court/Western District of Louisiana.  It is my pleasure to serve as the ABJA’s 2022-2023 President. 

The ABJA has been committed to providing its members with all the necessary tools to reach, grow and climb to new heights of excellence for over 30 years.  In an effort to keep up with the changing needs of its members and associate members, the ABJA is evolving, resolving and “Moving Forward.”  With many new opportunities and benefits for members to receive, the ABJA is reshaping the manner in which these tools are provided.  I encourage you to review the benefits of joining under the Why You Should Join the ABJA section of this website.

As a member of the ABJA, you will be part of the only organization that is dedicated to bankruptcy administrative professionals.  You will have opportunities to connect with peers to share knowledge and form lifetime friendships.  One of these opportunities is at our annual conference.  This year’s conference committee is planning an amazing one-of-a-kind conference located in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Lafayette is known as the Happiest City in America and offers unique experiences for all visitors.  I hope you will consider joining us at the conference.

If you are still undecided about joining the ABJA, please feel free to reach out to me, any current officers, circuit representative, or other members. You will find that an ABJA membership offers many benefits and opportunities.  Join us today to start enjoying them.

ABJA Officers for 2022 - 2023

President, Karen Hess 
President-Elect, Martha Ledezma
Secretary, Dawn Nartker  
Treasurer, Debbie Chavez (Jun. 2023 - Dec. 2023)

Parliamentarian, Vacant (Appointed)

Circuit Representatives:

DC/1st - Vacant
2nd - Vacant
3rd - Cacia Batts
4th - Denise Williams
5th - Jennifer Bruce 
6th - Teresa Wheeler
7th - Vacant
8th - Vacant
9th - Vacant
10th - Sarah Laybourne
11th - Alison Hale

Become an ABJA Officer! 

Consider being an active member in the ABJA. Review the Position Descriptions. Get on the next ballot to be a Circuit Representative!  It's a great place to start!