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Women of Distinction Awards Go to Two Burbank Residents

In honor of Women’s History Month, state Sen. Anthony Portantino recognized 15 accomplished women from across the senate district who have positively contributed to their communities and the state, including two honorees from Burbank.
Burbank residents who won Women of Distinction Awards were Carmenita Helligar and Suzanne Weerts. These women have exemplified and extended volunteerism, philanthropy and leadership in District 25, Portantino said in a statement.
“I am proud to recognize [these] remarkable women who are dedicated to serving our communities with distinction,” said Portantino. “The breadth of their successful efforts are reflected in countless individuals they have helped and inspired. They are all deserving of this special recognition and I am thankful to be in a position to shine a light on them and the difference they make for the 25th Senate District.”
The 25th Senate District Women of Distinction Awards Reception was held on Sunday, March 12, in Pasadena.
The California Legislature first recognized March as Women’s History Month in 1987 and has since continued the tradition. Each year, members of the Legislature recognize exceptional women in their district with a celebration commemorating their efforts.


Helligar has lived in Burbank for almost 20 years and served on the Burbank Library Board of Trustees. Currently, she is board member of Elevate Burbank, a nonprofit that promotes cultural diversity in Burbank and co-founder of the Destiny Education Project, a nonprofit that advocates for racial justice on behalf of Burbank students.
Helligar is a newly appointed board member for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. As an entrepreneur, Helligar is the founder and CEO of Local As Can Bee, an e-commerce marketplace offering local retail brick-and-mortar businesses an online presence and the opportunity to sell their products globally.


Weerts is active in the Burbank community as an arts, education and mental health advocate, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities and Burbank Unified School District programs. She spent a decade on the board of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, and currently serves as a board member for the Burbank Human Relations Council and as a Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner.
Weerts has been a mentor with Young Storytellers and a speakers coach with TedX Pasadena Women and has produced and directed a dozen benefit shows at The Colony Theatre to raise money and awareness for Family Service Agency of Burbank.

First published in the March 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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