Recognizing Excellence in Mensa

With pride, we celebrate those local groups and individuals within our ranks that continue to go above and beyond to make American Mensa the great organization that it is. Following are the 2017 award winners.

National Awards

Lederman Bestowed Margot Award

Marc Lederman

At the gala of the Annual Gathering he had originally chaired, Marc Lederman was posthumously honored with American Mensa’s most prestigious honor.

Lederman was chair of the recent Hollywood, Fla., AG when he suddenly passed away in December. The responsibility was one of many he adopted for Mensa in his 25 years with the organization. For his considerable contributions, Lederman was named as the 16th recipient of the Margot Award, given to a member for exceptional service over an extended period of time to the organization. Margot Seitelman, American Mensa’s first Executive Director, was the first recipient, and in 1980, the award was named for her.

Lederman was a four-time recipient of the Chairman’s Service Award and received the National Service Award in 2013. He had served on American Mensa’s Board of Directors as a Regional Vice Chair, Secretary, Membership Officer, and Communications Officer, as well as on numerous committees.

A Life Member with Central Pennsylvania Mensa, Lederman’s Local Group service included roles as Local Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Officer, Newsletter Editor, and Proctor. Marc was an avid games player and collector (he owned more than 800 games) as well as an award-winning magician. He lived on an eight-acre farm with his wife, Joy, and an assortment of animals.

At the time of his death, he was serving on his 13th Annual Gathering Committee, this time as Chair. After his passing, event organizers bestowed him with the title of Honorary Chair.

Dan Burg receives the Distinguished Service Award

Distinguished Service Award

Given in cases of outstanding service to American Mensa. Recipients are nominated by members and confirmed by the Awards Committee.

Dan Burg served on the AMC as Chairman, First Vice Chair (two terms), Second Vice Chair (three terms), and Secretary, for a total of 14 years. He was also National Representative to the International Board of Directors for six-and-a-half terms.

Roger Durham served on the AMC as RVC for three terms for a total of six years. He co-chaired the 2001 Dallas AG and was Hospitality Chair at the Fort Worth AG in 2013.

Heather Poirier served on the AMC as First Vice Chairman (two terms), Secretary (two terms), and Membership Officer (two terms), for a total of 10 years. She chaired the 2005 New Orleans AG and stepped in to co-chair the 2017 AG. She was also a National Representative to the IBD for three terms.

Nick Sanford served on the AMC as Treasurer (two terms) and as RVC (two terms), for a total of eight years. He was also a National Representative to the IBD for two terms.

2017 Awards Ceremony

Lifetime Membership Award

Usually given for either a great but brief service, for exceptionally long and steady service, or for exceptional service by someone who has already received another award

Heather Poirier also received the Chairman’s National Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award.

Jim Werdell served on the AMC as First Vice Chairman, Treasurer (three terms), and RVC (two terms). He also served as International Chairman. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2014 and continues to serve as a Trustee of the Mensa Foundation Board, where he is the current Vice President.

National Certificates of Appreciation

Given in gratitude of a noteworthy contribution to the organization by a member. Recipients are nominated by members and confirmed by the Awards Committee.

Bertie Clarke served on the Community Service committee for eight years.

Michael Eager serves on the Bylaws, Marketing, and Governance Committees. He has been an active participant on the LocSecs list for several years.

Debbie Freeland has served on the Communications and Membership committees and as a member of the Testing Team and the Local Groups Logistics Team.

Andrew Heffernan served on the AMC as an RVC for two terms. He was chairman of the Leadership Development Committee and a member of the Planning, Finance and Audit, Community Service, and Membership Committees. He participated with the Local Groups Logistics Team.

National Service Awards

Recognizing faithful service to American Mensa and contributing greatly to the growth and betterment of the organization.

Ruth Danielle served for many years as editor of the Isolated M. She has currently undertaken the task of revitalizing it.

Greg Webster chaired 2008 Mind Games® then became Chief Judge for each subsequent Mind Games®, nine total and still counting.

Chairman’s Service Award

Awarded by the Chair in recognition of superior service to the organization

Desiree Elliott and Sue Ann Gilmore for their work with launching and nurturing Mensa Cares!

Heather Poirier for her tenure on the AMC and for providing important culture and historical perspective

Stephanie Thornton for donating her time and talent not only as membership officer but through her work on our surveys and data analysis

Harley Berger for raising the bar on AG speakers

Barbara Kryvko for eight years of service as the American Mensa SIGs Officer

Group awards

Jewel Awards

The Jewel Awards recognize participation in Mensa activities and accomplishments, including Mind Games®, CultureQuest®, Mensa Testing Day, and Leadership Development Workshops.

Class I (900+ members)
  • Diamond: Gulf Coast Mensa
  • Ruby: Boston Mensa, Gulf Coast Mensa
  • Sapphire: Chicago Area Mensa
  • Emerald: San Francisco Regional Mensa, Mensa In Georgia, North Texas Mensa, Metropolitan Washington Mensa, Minnesota Mensa, Mensa of Western Washington, Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa
Class II (400 to 899 members)
  • Diamond: Cincinnati Area Mensa
  • Ruby: Maryland Mensa, South Texas Mensa, Connecticut/Western Massachusetts, Broward Mensa, Cleveland Area Mensa, Oregon Mensa, Columbus Area Mensa, Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa, Palm Beach Area Mensa, Cincinnati Area Mensa
  • Sapphire: Central Indiana Mensa, Mensa 76, Tampa Bay Mensa, St Louis Area Mensa, Central New Jersey Mensa, Sacramento Regional Mensa, Western Pennsylvania Mensa, Central Pennsylvania Mensa, Mensa of Wisconsin, Mid-America Mensa, Orange County Mensa, Northern New Jersey Mensa
  • Emerald: Central Florida Mensa, Lonestar Mensa, Denver Mensa, Mensa of Eastern North Carolina
Class III (200 to 399 members)
  • Diamond: New Orleans Mensa
  • Ruby: Rhode Island Mensa, Northern Nevada Mensa, Kentuckiana Mensa, Tidewater Mensa, New Hampshire, Mensa of Northeastern New York, Tucson Mensa, North Florida Mensa, Mensa of Jacksonville, Channel Islands Mensa, Thomas Jefferson Mensa, Mensa Hawaii, New Orleans Mensa
  • Sapphire: Nebraska-Western Iowa Mensa, Plains and Peaks Mensa, East Central Ohio Mensa, Manasota Mensa, Lehigh Pocono Mensa, Piedmont Area Mensa, Dayton Area Mensa, Southern Nevada Mensa, Northwest Florida Mensa
  • Emerald: Utah Mensa, Eastern Oklahoma Mensa, Memphis Mensa, Western New York Mensa, Central Alabama Mensa, Central Oklahoma Mensa, New Mexico Mensa, Southern Connecticut Mensa
Class IV (100 to 199 members)
  • Diamond: Mid-Hudson Mensa
  • Ruby:North Alabama Mensa, Mississippi Mensa, Triad Mensa, Northeast Indiana Mensa, Redwood Empire Mensa, Kansas Sunflower Mensa, Mid-Michigan Mensa, Boulder/Front Range Mensa, Central New York Mensa, French Broad Mensa, Delaware Mensa, Central South Carolina Mensa, Smoky Mountain Mensa, Blue Grass Mensa, Heart of Illinois Mensa, Southern Idaho Mensa, Central Iowa Mensa, Mid-Hudson Mensa
  • Sapphire: Permian Basin Mensa
  • Emerald: Iowa-Illinois Mensa, Savannah Area Mensa of Georgia, Maine Mensa
Class V (fewer than 100 members)
  • Diamond: High Mountain Mensa
  • Ruby: North Dakota Mensa, Upper East Tennessee Mensa, Northern Michigan Mensa, South Mississippi Mensa, Wyoming Mountain Mensa, Lubbock Mensa, South Coast Mensa, Paso del Norte Mensa, Mensa of the Southern Tier of NY, Sangamon Valley Mensa, Tallahassee Area Mensa, Northern Louisiana Mensa, Monterey County Mensa, High Mountain Mensa
  • Sapphire: Columbia River Mensa
  • Emerald: South Dakota Mensa

ACE Awards

The ACE Awards recognize Local Groups that meet or exceed communications standards in newsletters, websites, and social media.

Gold Medal
Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa

Silver Medal
Orange County Mensa and St. Louis Area Mensa

Owl Awards

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 group with the Local Group with the highest percentage of year-over-year membership growth.

Innovative Owl
Smoky Mountain Mensa, 87 percent retention

Prolific Owl
South Mississippi Mensa, 14 percent growth

Gifted Youth Coordinator of the Year

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

Raymond Richards, Gulf Coast Mensa

Abbie Proctor of the Year

Named after longtime American Mensa Supervisory Psychologist Dr. Abbie Salny, this award is given to members who are ambassadors of Mensa, make test sessions enjoyable, test regularly, show originality with testing sessions, and are conscientious Proctors

Marilyn Carpenter, East Central Ohio Mensa

Dave Felt Testing Coordinator of the Year

Named after longtime Testing Coordinator Dave Felt, this award is given to Testing Coordinators who encourage new proctors, find test sites, and show originality in advertising and promoting testing.

Michelle Raskshys, Mensa of Western Washington

Tragic Kingdom Culture Quest team

CultureQuest® 2017 (XXVIIII) Winners

Teams of up to five members — 81 this year — gather in neighborhoods across the U.S. and Canada to compete for cash prizes and cultural literacy bragging rights. Sean Cannon was Coordinator of this year’s CultureQuest.

Rank Team Captain Local Group Pts Award
1 Tragic Kingdom Bill Horton Central Florida Mensa 172 $500
2 Pomp & Circus Pants Jane Abrams Boston Mensa 161 $330
3 The Phoenix Phive Diane Rowley Greater Phoenix Mensa 140 $275
4 Carbon-Based Life Forms Elaine Brody Delaware Valley Mensa 131 $230
5 The Iceman Goethe Stephanie Smilay Metropolitan Washington Mensa 128 $170

NextGen Team Winner (for highest-scoring youth team): Gnosis (captained by Emile S.), San Francisco Regional Mensa

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