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The 22 Faces of Change: Changemaker Roles Driving Transformation



By Nora F. Murphy Johnson, PhD


In this blog series, we’ll dive into the 22 changemaker roles. Each of these roles plays a part in driving transformation and working towards a just world in their unique way. We share them to help you discover your own role as a changemaker because supporting changemakers around the globe means creating a more whole, beautiful, and just world.

 

Claiming and Defining the Concept of Changemaker


Who is a changemaker? 'Not me,' you might think. But I would bet you are.


A changemaker is anyone who commits to causing positive change in their community or the wider world. This includes individuals, groups, and organizations that identify societal problems and address them through innovative, collaborative, and proactive actions.

“Positive changes”, and the work it takes to bring these about, may be large or small, loud or quiet, seen or unseen. Whether organizing a neighborhood mutual aid group, developing an app to address food waste, or advocating for policy changes at the governmental level, changemakers understand that every action counts towards building a more equitable and sustainable world.


Key qualities of changemakers include a strong commitment to change, the power to motivate others, and a focus on solving societal issues. Their impact is seen in various areas, such as social entrepreneurship, activism, policy reform, and community engagement, significantly contributing to social change and transformation.


Contrary to the belief that changemakers are only those leading the charge publicly–at the front of a march or movement–the truth is that anyone dedicated to making a difference fits this role. Whether they work in the limelight or behind the scenes, whether they are outspoken or prefer to contribute quietly, their effectiveness is not measured by their visibility but by their unwavering belief in the power of action to bring about real and meaningful change.


Changemakers are defined by their vision for a better future and their relentless pursuit of it, showcasing that the essence of changemaking lies in the impact of their actions, regardless of their approach or style.


The Twenty-Two Roles Driving Transformation

In our decades of experience at Inspire to Change, we have seen twenty-two distinct roles driving transformation. These roles cover a wide range of activities, from advocacy and innovation to healing and storytelling, and contributes something needed in the broader landscape of or healthy social change.

  1. Advocates: Supporting and defending causes and rights.

  2. Bridgers: Bridging relationships across cultural and conceptual divides.

  3. Builders: Building tangible realities from intangible and visionary plans.

  4. Carers: Demonstrating empathy through action for the well-being of self and others.

  5. Catalysts: Triggering and amplifying transformative reactions.

  6. Creators: Originating new ideas, products, and expressions.

  7. Disrupters: Challenging established norms and conventions.

  8. Doulas: Supporting the transformative process.

  9. Ethicists: Guarding moral and ethical principles.

  10. Guides: Providing wisdom and direction.

  11. Healers: Restoring physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

  12. Hosts: Cultivating inclusive and welcoming spaces.

  13. Jesters: Comedically conveying critical messages.

  14. Keepers: Protecting invaluable assets and traditions.

  15. Lightworkers: Using inner light to inspire spiritual growth.

  16. Negotiators: Bringing agreement through dialogue and compromise.

  17. Pattern Spotters: Insightfully identifying meaningful trends.

  18. Planners: Masterfully conducting strategic organization and actions.

  19. Responders: Swiftly acting during emergencies and offering aid at critical moments.

  20. Storytellers: Connecting audiences with complex ideas through the art of narrative.

  21. Visionaries: Inspiring trust and faith in a path illuminated by their innovative thinking.

  22. Weavers: Weaving the intricate patterns that strengthen the tapestry of a cohesive social fabric.

These roles provide a framework for understanding how varied contributions can lead to substantial social change. Recognizing and embracing the array of roles available allows changemakers to find where they fit best, using their unique abilities and passions to make a significant impact. Reflecting on these roles underscores the importance of collective effort and the value of every contribution, no matter its size. Together, these roles form the foundation of changemaking — a collective effort that harnesses the strengths, creativity, and commitment of everyone involved to create more whole, beautiful, and liberated realities.


A Call to Action

Together, we can develop a framework and networks that empower each of us to thrive as changemakers and contribute to a healthy and collaborative changemaker ecosystem. Here’s how you can be a part of this transformative journey:

  1. Discover Your Changemaker Role: Begin by taking our Changemaker Role Assessment. This step is foundational in identifying the roles you naturally embody within the changemaking landscape. Understanding your strengths allows you to leverage them more effectively in driving change.

  2. Explore Role Profiles: Invest time in exploring the detailed profiles we’ve created for each changemaker role. These narratives are designed to give you insights into how each role contributes to societal transformation, helping you see where you fit in the broader ecosystem and how you can maximize your impact

  3. Spread the Word: Share information about the assessment and the importance of understanding one’s role in changemaking. Our goal is to reach 500 completed assessments, enabling us to conduct a statistical analysis for validation. Your effort in promoting this tool is crucial for its success and the refinement of a resource that benefits the entire changemaking community

  4. Provide Your Feedback: Your experiences and insights are invaluable to us. Feedback on the assessment and the role profiles helps us to improve and adapt our tools to better serve changemakers like you. Together, through open dialogue and shared learning, we can enhance our collective ability to effect change.


By engaging in these steps, you’re not only advancing your own changemaking journey but also contributing to the creation of a supportive ecosystem where changemakers can connect, grow, and collaborate. This collective effort will lead to a stronger, more effective community of individuals dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. Let’s join forces to build a framework where each changemaker can flourish, driving forward a movement of collaborative and impactful change.


 


Want to discover what kind of changemaker you are? Learn more about the changemaking roles! Want to know yours? We have a quiz for that!


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