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About

About

Meet the team of Hawkins Laakso. Committed to simplifying the road to financial freedom.

Our Associates

George W. Hawkins

Managing Partner

George Hawkins is the Managing Partner of Hawkins Laakso Wealth Management (HL), which he co-founded with his business partner, Chris Laakso, in 2005. With over four decades of experience in the financial industry, George is an experienced manager with a focus research and economics. He specializes in advising high net-worth families on asset management and investment strategies, providing them with personalized solutions that align with their unique financial goals. George's commitment to excellence and his unwavering dedication to his clients have earned him a reputation as a trusted advisor in the wealth management industry.

George has a multi-decade career. He began his journey in commercial banking, where he spent five years honing his skills. He then moved on to the fixed-income trading floor, where he spent a decade filling various roles in marketing, fixed-income security trading, management, and recruitment. After that, George spent two years with an investment banking firm, where he worked closely with the principals to develop new investment advisory and banking relationships. Following this position, he managed a private, leveraged portfolio for a group of high net-worth investors.

In 1998, George joined AXA Advisors (now Equitable Advisors) where he built and managed a district of financial professionals as Vice President from 2000-2005. Throughout his career, George has received numerous awards with Equitable Advisors, including AXA Centurion, AXA Gold, AXA Circle of Excellence, Hallmark I, II, III, IV, V, the prestigious Excalibur award, and has earned a place of honor in the Equitable Hall of Fame.

Each award was granted for either integrity, exceeding financial benchmarks, leadership, or honoring his long-standing tenure with the company. George's impressive track record speaks volumes about his dedication, expertise, and commitment to excellence. His achievements are a testament to his unwavering work ethic and his ability to consistently exceed expectations.

George is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Houston Business School and a lifetime member of the esteemed Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity. He completed the AXA Institute at Harvard in 2012 and 2016, a specialized training program in finance, asset allocation, and management. George is an active participant in regular portfolio analysis meetings with a renowned global economist and holds several FINRA financial registrations, including Series 7, 63, 65, 53, and 24.

George possesses an impressive financial background and is equally dedicated to giving back to his community. He holds multiple positions of responsibility, which include sitting on the Legacy Operating Board, serving as the Vice Chair for the Legacy Endowment Board, and being a member of the Advisory Board for the Legacy Community Health Planned Giving Committee. Additionally, George is a Founding Member with Equitable National Diversity Committee, where he actively supports the advancement of diversity within the Equitable community. George's passion for animal welfare is also evident in his support of numerous animal rights organizations. He supports and promotes dog rescue with the SPCA in Houston and Muttville in San Francisco.

George has a rich history of leadership and advocacy, having previously served as a Human Rights Campaign Governor and an AXA National Associates Forum (NAF) Committee Member. George's unwavering dedication to making a difference is evident in his exceptional service to his clients. He consistently creates a positive impact in his community, leaving a lasting impression on those he encounters.

As a proud Houstonian, George splits his time between Houston, TX and San Francisco, CA with his partner Garret and their five beloved rescue dogs. Together, they share a passion for travel, fitness, and the arts, particularly culinary experiences.

Christopher M. Laakso

Managing Partner | Retirement Planning Specialist

Chris launched his career at Equitable in 2001 as an associate planner, where he honed his skills in developing a Financial Planning practice through personal and professional relationships. In 2005, he joined forces with his mentor, George Hawkins, to establish Hawkins Laakso Wealth Management (HL), where Chris currently serves as one of the Managing Partners, specializing in Financial Planning and Asset Protection.

Since its inception, HL has grown exponentially under Chris's leadership, transforming into a planning-focused practice that caters to the unique needs of its clients. Chris's unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional service and personalized solutions has been instrumental in the firm's success. As a result, HL has become a trusted partner for individuals and businesses seeking expert financial guidance.

Over the years, Chris's role at HL has evolved to encompass a wide range of responsibilities, including strategic planning, business development, and client relationship management. His expertise and dedication have been critical in shaping the firm's culture and driving its growth. Today, Chris continues to play a pivotal role in HL's success, ensuring that the firm remains at the forefront of the industry and delivers unparalleled value to its clients.

Chris has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the DSF of the Year - Houston Branch and National Leaders Corp awards in 2005. He also received the Centurion award for outstanding production from 2007 to 2013 and the Circle of Excellence award from 2014 to 2016. In 2015, Chris achieved the "Hall of Fame" distinction for his outstanding production over 10 years, commemorated through a digital wall of fame at Equitable Headquarters in New York City. In 2020, Chris achieved Bronze Eagle, Excalibur, and Hallmark III accolades.

Chris has an impressive production record and is actively involved in the National Associates Forum (NAF), an advisory board within Equitable that discusses issues, improvements, and product design. He was elected to the NAF in 2013 and served as Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee and the Annuity Committee in 2014. In 2017, he was elected Vice Chair by the Executive Committee and Officers of the NAF. As Chairman in 2018, Chris attended the New York Stock Exchange when Equitable went public, highlighting his importance within the organization. His leadership within the NAF has driven positive change, demonstrating his commitment to improving Equitables products and services. Chris's dedication and achievements make him a valuable asset to Equitable and HL.

Chris is a Portland native who attended Parkrose High School before playing college baseball at Clackamas CC. He then transferred to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Information Systems. Chris holds several licenses, including the Series 7 - General Securities Representative, Series 66 - Uniform Combined State Law License, and the General Lines Insurance License. To maintain his licenses, Chris completes 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

In 2013, Chris attended The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to earn his designation as a Retirement Planning Specialist. This program, designed by Equitable and Wharton, equips Equitable Advisors with the skills and knowledge to address the ever-changing challenges faced by individuals and families at retirement. Chris was so committed to this program that he attended the Wharton School again in 2015 as a cohort.

Chris is a committed member of the University of Colorado community. He has held leadership roles, including President of the Houston Chapter of the Alumni Association from 2002-2004 and Committee Chair on the Board of Directors for the Boulder Alumni Association from 2002-2006. Chris continues to give back as a Professional Mentor for the Leeds School of Business, guiding and supporting students as they prepare for successful careers.

In addition to his work with the University of Colorado, Chris is also deeply committed to supporting charitable organizations in his community. One such organization is Legacy Community Health, which provides vital healthcare services to low-income communities throughout the Houston area. Chris is currently the Chairman of the Golf Committee for the Frank Billingsley Golf Classic, an event that raises funds to support Legacy's School Based Health Clinics. Through his leadership and dedication, Chris is making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Chris has lived in Houston since 1999 with his wife Brandy and their three daughters, Samantha, Peyton, and Cali. He is a dedicated family man who enjoys spending time with his loved ones and giving back to his community.

Keaton Shaw

Assistant Vice President | Financial Advisor

7134016405

kshaw@hlwm.net

Keaton, a Houston native and University of St. Thomas alumnus, has played a crucial role in the success of Hawkins Laakso Wealth Management (HL) for the past five years. As Director of Rising Stars, he leads a program designed to nurture the next generation of successful entrepreneurs and professionals by providing them with access to HL's financial tools and expertise.


Keaton's leadership skills have been instrumental in HL's growth. He has played a pivotal role in the planning and investment side of the firm, ensuring clients receive the highest level of service. Keaton's dedication to his craft is evident in his licensing in Life and Health Insurance in TX, as well as his completion of the FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 examinations.

Under Keaton's guidance, the Rising Stars program has flourished, and many young professionals have benefited from his mentorship. Keaton's extensive knowledge of the financial industry, coupled with his exceptional communication skills, has made him an invaluable asset to HL. He is dedicated to ensuring that the Rising Stars program continues to thrive and that the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals has the tools and resources they need to succeed.

In summary, Keaton's journey from an entry-level position to Director of Rising Stars is a testament to his hard work, dedication, and leadership skills. His contributions to HL have been vital, and his commitment to providing exceptional service to clients is unwavering.

Liam Doherty James

Assistant Vice President | Head of Operations

7134016493

ljames@hlwm.net

Liam is an accomplished professional with a wealth of experience in operational business development, boasting a proven track record of success within the financial services industry. Joining Hawkins Laakso (HL) in 2020, Liam has consistently demonstrated his capabilities, having held every operational role at the firm. His journey has culminated in his current position as the Assistant Vice President and Head of Operations, where he is dedicated to ensuring that the firm operates with maximum efficiency, effectiveness, and scalability.

In 2023, Liam achieved a significant academic milestone by earning his BBA degree in Finance, marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter in his educational journey. He has embarked on his MBA pursuit with a Graduate Certificate in Investment Management at the University of Houston-Downtown. Liam’s academic pursuit will continue to expand his knowledge and expertise, staying at the forefront of industry trends.

Liam's professional development is further supported by his licensure in Life and Health Insurance in Texas. Additionally, he has successfully completed the rigorous FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 examinations, showcasing his comprehensive understanding of regulatory standards and investment principles.

A proud Houstonian, born and raise, Liam is actively involved with the Houston Human Society and supports various philanthropic initiatives alike. At home, he finds unwavering support from his girlfriend Gabby and their beloved dog, Blu.

Josh Sanchez

Financial Advisor

7134026421

jsanchez@hlwm.net

Josh originally joined HL in 2020 as an operations staff team member and as of 2023 has transitioned to becoming one of our financial professionals. During his time with the firm, Josh was also able to graduate from the University of St. Thomas with his MBA/BBA degree in Finance in May of 2023.

In addition to being a student, Josh was also a member of the university's men’s basketball team. Over the course of his college career, Josh was a 4 year-starter on the basketball team and helped contribute to 4 years of back-to-back conference championships. This was also where Josh met our Rising Star Director, and UST Men’s basketball alumni, Keaton Shaw. Josh is licensed in Life and Health Insurance in TX & has completed his FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 examinations. Josh was born and raised in McAllen, TX.

Justin Reed

Financial Advisor

7134026409

jreed@hlwm.net

Before joining HL, Justin cut his teeth as a nonprofit fundraiser managing a portfolio of more than 100 relationships in the southwestern United States for the Lambda Chi Alpha Educational Foundation. A graduate of the University of Texas, Justin has always been passionate about serving others. In his role as a Financial Professional, Justin is helping families build wealth so they can focus on what truly matters most — the freedom to enjoy their life. When he is not spending time with clients, you can find Justin exploring Houston with his Fiancée, Jessie.

Kaleb Sanders

Financial Advisor

7134016471

ksanders@hlwm.net

Kaleb Sanders has been with Equitable Advisors since 2021. He seeks to serve individuals, families, and business owners in the energy sector as he believes it is a community that is under-served and over-sold to. His family has deep roots across West Texas in the Cattle and Cotton Industries. He attended Texas Tech University where he earned his bachelor's degree in Mathematics and participated in the Tech Actuary and Tech Math Clubs in his time there.

He was first introduced to the financial services industry when he began as a Personal Banker in 2020 with Lubbock National Bank, a branch of Amarillo National Bank. Here, he began to realize just how many people there are in every community that are in search for someone to help them with their finances. Combined with his extensive mathematical education and his experience of servitude, it was an easy decision to pursue a career in Financial Planning.

Kaleb is passionate for solving for simple solutions to complex problems. It is what he lives for. He strives to educate his clients on their options concerning various strategies, including but not limited to, Wealth Accumulation, Risk Minimization, Retirement Planning, Estate Conservation and Business Successions.

Kaleb is originally from Pearland, TX and met his fiance, Madison, in Lubbock, TX where they both attended Texas Tech University. Full circle as they both traveled eight hours from home to find someone that lives five minutes away back home, and have set their wedding date for August 2024. Kaleb enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, and watching sports with friends

Justine Sliker-Pizzitola

Marketing Strategist

7134026842

jpizzitola@hlwm.net

Justine Sliker-Pizzitola brings a wealth of expertise and a dynamic background to the HL team, having joined in early 2023 from the retail energy sector. With a strong foundation in Marketing, Brand Management, Corporate Events, and Sponsorships, Justine plays a pivotal role on our Operations Team, ensuring our core brand values are felt and seen by clients.  

Justine's ability to blend strategic marketing insights with operational efficiency underscores her commitment to elevating the client's overall experience.

At home, Justine holds herself to the same operational standards with managing the day to day busy life of her four children, Kate, Maddie, Jackson, and Mason. Between sports practices and school activities, she is a strong supporter for Autism Speaks as it holds a special place in heart. 

Todd Powers

Operations Associate

3154774056

todd.powers@equitable.com

California Insurance License #: #4021852 Arkansas Insurance License #: #17651822

Securities offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN). Annuity and insurance products offered through Equitable Network, LLC(Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC in CA; Equitable Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC in UT; Puerto Rico as Equitable Network of Puerto Rico, Inc. in PR). Equitable Advisors and its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals may transact business and/or respond to inquiries only in state(s) in which they are properly registered and/or licensed. The information in this web site is not investment or securities advice and does not constitute an offer.

We are Hawkins Laakso, freedom simplified.

We are Hawkins Laakso, freedom simplified.

At Hawkins Laakso Wealth Management, we believe in simplifying the road to financial freedom.

That's why we work with successful entrepreneurs and executives to create a Family Office Experience designed to achieve their financial dreams by helping them manage, grow and secure their wealth.

In a time when people are more skeptical than ever about wealth managers, we aim to create an experience where our clients feel like family. Where they are treated with the same reverence and care for their portfolio as they would expect from a loved one. Where they work with someone who cares just as much (if not more) about their ability to achieve financial freedom and the growth of their wealth as they do.

We believe in integrity, transparency, and taking the time to ensure we understand each of our client's unique needs and desires. We take a holistic approach tailored to our client's financial profile and goals -- and then find innovative ways to help them secure their financial future and map out their path to financial freedom.

It's what we've done now for over 20 years. Help out clients build their wealth so they can focus on what truly matters most - the freedom to enjoy their life.

We are Hawkins Laakso.
Finance. Wealth. Simplified.

Client Centered

The freedom to know your family will be cared for.
The freedom to know your needs will be met.
The freedom to focus on enjoying your life.

It sounds simple — but the reality is that the road to financial freedom can feel daunting.

You have done much of the hard work - putting in the long hours, sacrificing time with the people you love, putting money away for the future.

But even with those critical steps taken, it may not always be clear how to turn your financial success into that elusive financial freedom.

The truth is that most of us don't know how wealth works.
What we know is that we just want it — to work.

We don't want to get caught up in the day-to-day decisions that come with managing our money.

We just want results—someone who can make it easier for us.
Someone we can trust — to help make our dreams, goals, and hopes for the future come true.

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