Honoring Our Difference-makers
- Aug 18, 2020
We annually celebrate the members and Local Groups who go above and beyond to help American Mensa thrive. Volunteers are our lifeblood, and these individuals and groups represent the best of the best.
Usually held at the Annual Gathering, the 2020 celebration takes to a virtual stage, but the tributes and respect are no less real. Thank you, one and all!
With a pandemic ad-lib, we take to the screen this year to honor those select members and Local Groups who go above and beyond each year to enrich American Mensa and the Mensa Foundation. (Note: Some award designations were updated after video production was complete.)
Given to a member for exceptional service to the organization over an extended period, the Margot Award was first bestowed on Margot Seitelman, American Mensa’s first Executive Director, and the award was named for her in 1980.
Jean Becker doesn’t seem to have an off switch. And aren’t we lucky she doesn’t.
Dr. Becker’s lifelong dedication as a volunteer, board member, and leader of events has benefited her community and numerous organizations. At American Mensa, her dedication has already been honored with National Service (2010), Chairman’s Service (2013), and Distinguished Service (2015) awards, and now she becomes the 19th unique individual recipient of Mensa’s highest honor, the Margot Award.
“Jean has devoted a good part of her life to the development and growth of American Mensa. We are all grateful for the time she has spent mentoring many of our current leaders,” said American Mensa Chair LaRae Bakerink. “She is still a big part of her Local Group and continues to mentor up and coming leadership.”
A member of Southeast Mighican Mensa for 44 years (and a Life Member since 1999), Dr. Becker has helped mold American Mensa through numerous committees and leadership roles, including at the top. During a decade on the American Mensa Committee, she progressed from Regional Vice Chair to Second Vice Chair to First Vice Chair and finally to two terms as Chair. Her service on virtually every committee has included chairing Leadership Development, Hearings, and Research Review, a committee she has served on since 2003 and for which she is currently Chair.
Never one to shy from the details, Dr. Becker has always been passionate about Mensa, diligently protecting its brand and its members. She extends that commitment, energy, and sense of adventure to her work and life outside of Mensa.
When not traveling the world, Dr. Becker worked for three decades in Michigan in children and family programs. She is a past president of the Michigan Association for Gifted Children. As a pioneer in research on the effects of computerization on human service case management, she filed one of the first sex discrimination lawsuits against the state of Michigan requiring equal treatment of male and female employees holding the same position.
Chairman’s Service Award
Chairman’s Service Awards are presented by the Chair in recognition of superior service to the organization.
- Dan Burg (Redwood Empire Mensa) for taking the helm and clearing the decks.
- Taz Criss (Gulf Coast Area Mensa) for powering up online events while we are quarantined.
- Dr. Keri Guilbault (Metropolitan Washington Mensa) for her service as Director of Science & Education and always helping us look forward.
- Alexander Huth (Oregon Mensa) for his service as Marketing Officer and helping us remember historical context.
- Brian Reeves (Palm Beach Area Mensa) for his service as advocate and trusted advisor.
- Tabby Vos (Metropolitan Washington Mensa) for gracefully and beautifully chairing Annual Gathering 2020 — the AG that wasn’t.
National Certificates of Appreciation
First awarded in 1971, National Certificates of Appreciation are given in gratitude of a noteworthy contribution to the organization by a member. Recipients are nominated by members and confirmed by the Awards Committee.
- Beth Anne Demeter (Denver Mensa) for past service on the AMC as Membership Officer and more than a decade as an active member of many national committees and task forces.
- Billie Lee (Greater Los Angeles Mensa) for service on the AMC as Second Vice Chair and as an active member or chair of many national committees and task forces.
- Lora Mitchell (Columbus Area Mensa) for service on the AMC as Communications Officer and longtime involvement in Mensa’s online communities.
- Nguyen Pham (San Francisco Regional Mensa) for being an enthusiastic spokesman for Mensa and longtime Mr. Mensa pageant host.
- Conrad F. Pomykala (Chicago Area Mensa) for longtime service on the Election Committee.
- Baker D. Ring (Middle Tennessee Mensa) for past service as an RVC and as an active member of many national committees.
- Thomas R. Ryan (Southeast Michigan Mensa) for past service on the AMC as Communications Officer and as an active member or chair of several national committees.
- Jason A. Seiler (Metropolitan Washington Mensa) for past service as an RVC, serving as the AMC Secretary, and as an active member of several national committees.
- Thomas G. Thomas (Tampa Bay Mensa) for more than a decade of participation on many national committees and service as an RVC.
- John M. Voymas (Southeast Michigan Mensa) for service as an RVC and active member on several committees.
- Jennifer Wise (Mensa of Western Washington) for active service on the Foundation board in many capacities.
National Service Awards
National Service Awards recognize faithful service to American Mensa and contributing greatly to the growth and betterment of the organization.
- Alan E. Baltis (Cleveland Area Mensa) for decades of consistent positive organization and promotion of Mensa at local and national levels, both within the organization and in the public spotlight.
- Lori J. Norris (Rhode Island Mensa) for more than a decade of active and effective participation on many committees, on the AMC, and as an event organizer.
American Mensa Distinguished Service Award
The American Mensa Distinguished Service Award is given in cases of outstanding service to American Mensa. Recipients are nominated by members and confirmed by the Awards Committee.
- Gregory R. Kontz (North Dakota Mensa) for longtime service on the AMC as an RVC and as Secretary and as an active member of many national committees.
- Deborah L. Stone (New Hampshire Mensa) for a long, long time on the AMC and other national committee service and leadership. It would be easier to list what she hasn’t done for Mensa.
Abbie Proctor of the Year
The Abbie Proctor of the Year Award is named after longtime American Mensa Supervisory Psychologist Dr. Abbie Salny and given to members who are ambassadors of Mensa, make test sessions enjoyable, test regularly, show originality with testing sessions, and are conscientious Proctors.
- Joan Hiller (Minnesota Mensa)
- Martha A. McKeon (Denver Mensa)
Dave Felt Testing Coordinator of the Year
This award is named after longtime Testing Coordinator Dave Felt and given to Testing Coordinators who encourage new Proctors, find test sites, and show originality in advertising and promoting testing.
Conrad F. Pomykala (Chicago Area Mensa)
Gifted Youth Program Award
The Gifted Youth Program Award is given for superior service as a Gifted Youth Coordinator and for contributing to the growth of programs that serve gifted youth and/or Young Mensans.
Stephanie Bruner (Cincinnati Area Mensa)
The Innovative Owl is presented to the Local Group with the highest year-over-year membership retention percentage. The Profilic Owl is presented to the Local Group with the highest percentage of year-over-year membership growth.
South Dakota Mensa, 93.9 percent retention
Northern Michigan Mensa, 17.9 percent growth
The Jewel Awards recognize participation in Mensa activities and accomplishments, including Mind Games®, CultureQuest®, Mensa Testing Day, and Leadership Development Workshops.
Achievement levels are, lowest to highest: the Emerald, the Sapphire, and the Ruby. Additionally, each of the five Local Groups obtaining the highest points in individual classes are specifically recognized separately as the Diamond Group winner for each level.
Class I (900+ members): Chicago Area Mensa; Class II (400 to 899 members): Minnesota Mensa; Class III (200 to 399 members): East Central Ohio Mensa; Class IV (100 to 199 members): North Alabama Mensa; Class V (fewer than 100 members): South Coast Mensa
Class II (400 to 899 members): Mid-America Mensa; Class III (200 to 399 members): New Hampshire Mensa; Class IV (100 to 199 members): French Broad Mensa, Northern Nevada Mensa; Class V (fewer than 100 members): High Mountain Mensa, North Dakota Mensa, Northeast Indiana Mensa, Mensa Alaska, Tallahassee Area Mensa
Class I (900+ members): Metropolitan Washington Mensa; Class II (400 to 899 members): Central Texas Mensa, Charlotte - Blue Ridge Mensa, Denver Mensa, Orange County Mensa, San Diego Mensa, Southeast Michigan Mensa; Class III (200 to 399 members): Central South Carolina Mensa, Dayton Area Mensa, Mensa of Northeastern New York, North Florida Mensa, Piedmont Area Mensa, Utah Mensa; Class IV (100 to 199 members): Eastern Oklahoma Mensa; Class V (fewer than 100 members): Sunflower Mensa
Class II (400 to 899 members): Central Indiana Mensa, Central New Jersey Mensa; Class III (200 to 399 members): Manasota Mensa, Nebraska/Western Iowa Mensa, Tidewater Mensa; Class IV (100 to 199 members): Blue Grass Mensa, Maine Mensa, Mid-Hudson Mensa, Mid-Michigan Mensa, Northwest Florida Mensa, Redwood Empire Mensa; Class V (fewer than 100 members): South Mississippi Mensa, Wyoming Mountain Mensa