Posted by Lisa Marie Halecky
Donna Marie Barna has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, sponsored by Blaise Alexander Family  Dealerships.


Barna is the President of Billig–Helmes Insurance, a fifth-generation family-owned business operating in the Greater Hazleton area since 1902. Her career started as a customer service representative in 1983 and she has progressed through a series of positions with increasing responsibility and took over as President in 2016. Through Berna’s guidance, she continues to grow and expand the family business and set it up for continued success.

Barna’s knowledge of the industry and recognition of her peers lead to her election to Brethren Mutual Insurance Company’s Agency Council.

Community service is a key component of the Athena award and Barna has taken the lessons learned in successfully running a small business to add to the many organizations she serves. She has chaired some of the most successful Hazleton Rotary special events, including Night at the Races, spaghetti dinners, and the annual Kidz Coatz Drive, and has served on the Rotary Foundation. Her impact with the Chamber includes a successful two-year term as Board Chair, chairing the Community Awareness Committee that puts on the Annual Taste of Greater Hazleton event, and serving on the committee for many women’s networking events and as a Chamber Ambassador.

Barna’s volunteer work has also impacted the Hazleton Area Public Library, where she currently serves as President of the Board of Trustees; Penn State Hazleton Council; and the YWCA Pearl Award Committee. She is also a director-at-large for CAN DO, serves with the Boy Scouts of America Minsi Trails and volunteered for the local chapter of American Cancer Society, Helping Hands Society and the Salvation Army.

There are many new Rotarians, Chamber members and Women’s Networking Committee Chairs who have been inspired and encouraged by Barna. She not only understands that the transition from being a dedicated mom back to a working professional is not always easy and she has made it her mission to get those people involved and help with the success of their careers, whatever their chosen field.

Engaging others in the betterment of our community through her work with Rotary, the Hazleton Area Public Library or the Chamber has been a hallmark of Donna’s leadership skills. Her warmth and generous spirit, as well as sharing her time and talent, have yielded significant results for the organizations she works with. Whether mentoring a new board member, or engaging a new business to participate, Barna’s signature smile and style have had a lasting impact for the betterment of all. 

Barna has her Certified Insurance Service Representative designation and a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales. She is the daughter of Eugene and Ethel Dougherty, is the proud mom of David  Barna II and resides in Hazleton with her husband, David.