12. Anja Beran – The Change Makers Medal of Honour

The feature photo shows Anja being presented with The Change Makers Medal of Honour by Lisa Clifton-Bumpass – with Michaela Hempen.

I will give you some background on Lisa and her R+ journey.  She is very well qualified to assess, along with her committee members, who is a suitable recipient.  In fact, Lisa started her journey into animal training in the early/mid 1990’s, after retiring from the police force due to injury from active service.  She trained dogs – and became the first positive reinforcement trainer in her region.

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Her CV is impressive!!  After having her own dog training businesses – from 2007 she has been – and I will quote from her CV:

Consultant to professional animal trainers in training methodology, assessment of training plan design and mechanics and problem behavior analysis for exotic animals.  Advisor, teacher and consultant in animal behavior modification, training and research practical skills for graduate students.  Public speaker, training coach in Anatomy of Behavior, Shaping Behavior, Functional Assessment, CAP Assessment.

And she has a passion for giraffes!

Since this was presented, I’ve learnt more from Lisa about this medal, how it came about – and how recipients are selected.  I think it’s so important to honour people who do exceptional work, but often ‘fly under the radar’ when recognition should be given.  So what I’m going to do is copy the information Lisa sent me about the award:



In 2009, the idea of the Change Makers Medal of Honor was born from a desire to recognize people who are deeply dedicated to bettering the welfare of individuals through the application of evolving science, the best new emerging practices in their field, and are unrecognized for the impact they have on their culture locally or globally. 

The Change Makers Foundation was established and designed to have a private Board of Directors and a public facing agent who delivers the award.  Individuals are nominated and then selected based on the body of their professional work and nonpublic facing volunteerism. Individuals are nominated based on established criteria and candidates must excel each of the domains. Medals are awarded by unanimous decision.  Both the Board of Directors and the nomination selection process are private to protect the process.

The Change Makers

Change Makers are people who create change within their culture by gathering and utilizing new knowledge, skills, resources, and perspectives from fields outside the established norms of their culture.  Furthermore, Change Makers work to educate and create change in the behavior of others by educating, skill set development or refinement, discussions, publications, demonstrations, mentoring, and the process of shaping and supporting the evolving new practices within their community.  Being a Change Maker is often done without commercialization or financially benefitting from their work.  They often work at great social, personal, and professional cost, instead of profiting.  Change Makers routinely act as philanthropists by promoting the welfare, development, and education of others through the generous donation of their time, expertise, experience, and wisdom. 

The Design

The Change Makers Medal of Honor was modeled from the challenge coin concept.  The earliest examples of coins given as reward date back to Ancient Rome when specially minted coins were used as rewards for soldiers.  The coins were mementos and had special event markings commemorating specific campaigns. Challenge coins resurfaced in World War 1 as medallions to signify belonging to a special unit and continue to be used today by military, fire fighters, and law enforcement professionals.  The Change Makers Foundation created the honor coins to add a modern concept of acknowledging the dedication of those people working to create profound change in the world.

The front of the medal carries the R+ scientific symbol from the field of Psychology known as Behavior Analysis.  R+ stands for positive reinforcement and designates the building or strengthening of behavior.  The criteria for selection are inscribed along the rim: compassion, excellence, commitment, philanthropy, courage, and resilience.  Each of these core principles are embedded in the life work of a recipient over the arc of their career.  The opposite side of the coin depicts the common dandelion plant and seed heads.  The outer rim of  backside shows a single seed leaving the seed head and carried by the wind to germinate and create a new plant.  The dandelion seed symbol was selected because the plant seeds prolifically and is resilient having survived for over 30 million years.  Dandelions, or Tooth of the Lion, are a class of commonplace herb plants found worldwide and used medicinally from about 900 A.D. The plants are thought to have been introduced by humans as they migrated across the world.  Change Makers are like dandelions in that they help spread new ideas, best practices, and methodologies which take root, grow, set seed, and migrate into new environs and cultures. The medal was codesigned by Rochelle Ball of Picodots Art and Lisa Clifton-Bumpass.

Here are photos of the medal:

I think this is such a wonderful award – so often the loudest voices get heard – and the quiet achievers are ignored.  This should be awarded in every field!

I will leave you with photos from the week.

So I’m going to end my posts about my trip to Anja Beran’s.  Next I will talk about the Summer Science Camp in Italy!



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