Champions Expertise – Security

The topic for this month’s Champions Expertise presentations is “Security” so I thought it would be a nice idea to share a few highlights from the presentation I will be giving at Think 2018 in Las Vegas in a few weeks on that subject.  This is “A Guide To Single Sign-On for IBM Collaboration Solutions” and hopefully even this shortened version (6 minutes instead of 40) is of interest.

Of course I also hope to see you at my presentation on Monday 19th March (Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 – Surf B).


Looking For A Few Champions

IBM Champion nominations are upon us and with only a week to go to get those in I wanted to send out a plea.  I would love to nominate you as a Champion.  Yes YOU. Unfortunately in most cases I don’t know enough about who you are and what you do.  It’s no good saying “well if I did enough she would know me” because that’s not how it works – very few of us do enough publicly to make others aware of what we do.  Being a Champion can be awarded against lots of criteria not just speaking at events or writing blogs.  Libby has kindly shared some here but anything that falls under advocating for ICS products or committing your own resources to the technical community counts.

As a Lifetime Champion I am fortunate that I don’t need to reapply but I thought if I tried to write up my own dummy nomination here for 2017 hopefully it will help you see some of the things you do as worthy of nomination.  This isn’t me boasting and I hope it doesn’t read as me being arrogant, I’m just trying to encourage by example and help people who may need it.

Why should you be an IBM Champion? *

Describe the contribution in the last year are you most proud of or you believe has had the biggest impact on the technical community, IBM or IBM’s customers. Share as much detail as possible, including the activity’s impact and any links.

Consider activities and accomplishments from the past year that rise above and beyond your job and support IBM products and solutions andthe greater technical community, including both internal and external activities.

The follow on question to this is asking me to list my top 5 activities so I would assume the first question wants just what you consider the most important activity listed followed by an opportunity to list 5 other things you would like considered / are proud of.

Here are a few things I could add under the suggested categories,  I know there’s a lot here, this is FAR more than you need to submit but I wanted to give as many examples as I could.


  • Presenting to {named customer} on IBM’s strategy and the ICS roadmap to convince them they were on the right path
  • A tweet sharing IBM news or commenting on  IBM news that got X number of retweets (with link) or a blog or linkedin post that got X number of reads
  • Customer references for internal meetings or presentations I attended and contributed to that helped them deploy ICS products


  • Examples of people who contacted me for support or assistance or just advice that I helped out (asking them if they would act as references)
  • The Nerd Girl work at Connect and the mentoring done since then.
  • Participation in multiple user groups


  • My work this year learning and sharing on Docker to support the IBM Connections initative and now Domino
  • Work partnering with IBM security business partners
  • My GDPR work with customers that combines discussions of multiple IBM technologies IOT, blockchain, and Domino data


  • The IBM advisory panels I’ve been involved in along with references to our meetings
    The design feedback sessions I’ve been involved in with references to the IBM teams involved and the topics I fed back on
  • The “Jams” I’ve contributed to along with my contributions
  • PMRs that highlighted a significant problem in a product and enabled development to improve it


  • My series of New Way To Learn sessions I did in May for IBM with links to the sessions and listing Alan Hamilton as a reference. Also listing my blog and slideshare where the sessions are shared
  • A list of my blogs I’ve written this year
  • The conferences I’ve spoken at such as Connect, InterConnect, Engage, MWLUG, AdminCamp and Social Connections along with the presentation content and again links to my slideshare

I really want to hear from people who haven’t been nominated or even people who want some support in being nominated. Please contact me if you want me to nominate you or connect with me on Skype (GabriellaDavis) if you just want to talk about it. Don’t feel you have to know me to reach out.

Also if nothing else, please please nominate yourself.  One trick I found worked for me was to ask a colleague to draft my self nomination and then I updated it.  That way I didn’t feel awkward writing things down and got to see what someone who works closely with me sees me do.

It’s Cham-peen Time

The IBM Champion program is once more open for nominations for 2017 Champions.  For those of you that don’t know, the Champion program has been set up by IBM to reward and thank people who have established a voice in their community.  To become a Champion first IBM need to know what you do and there is a nomination form which can be used by others to nominate you or by you to nominate yourself.  All the nominations are then reviewed by an internal IBM team who choose the Champions each year.  Before going any further you can nominate people here until Nov 4th.

Last year Theo Heselmans and I were selected as the first IBM Lifetime Champions which means we don’t need to be nominated (I will still be nominating others) and last week I participated in a web conference with IBM on the Champion program, what it’s about, what the value is to you and how to become one.  You can watch and download that event here and I recommend you do if you’re interested in becoming or nominating a Champion.

For me being a Champion means that the work I do, writing, speaking, feeding back to product development, has been valuable to someone , that they wanted to say thank you and that IBM recognise my work.  It doesn’t change what I do or make me more beholden to IBM but it does expand my audience and makes me feel good 🙂  So that said, if there is anyone who makes a difference to your work, answering questions via forums, twitter, on their blogs, who speaks or organises a conference or whose contribution you’d miss if they were to stop – NOMINATE THEM here.

I have heard plenty of people say (and said it myself once) “well if no-one nominates me I guess I don’t do enough” and that simply isn’t true.  No-one knows what you do as well as you.  Other people may not nominate you because they don’t know everything you do or simply because they think you have already been nominated.  I’ve been guilty in the past of not nominating someone I thought was a shoe-in only to find out no-one else did either.  Nominating someone else is also a huge compliment to them and a way of saying thank you even if they don’t end up becoming a Champion.

Now go out there and get nominating !

Things That Are Meaningful To Me #104

I am very pleased to say that I have been nominated and accepted onto the IBM Champion program once more in 2016.  Does it matter?  It does to me.  IBM says the program is about recognising “individuals who make outstanding contributions to our IBM communities…..” but to become a champion you must first be nominated by someone and then your nomination is reviewed by an internal IBM team.  Becoming a Champion for me means that I have made a difference in my chosen area of work, one that has affected or impacted more than just my colleagues and customers.  It also means that someone, somewhere took the trouble to nominate me*.

It’s important to me to have a job that’s rewarding, that makes me challenge myself and somewhere makes a positive difference. I’m not bringing about world peace but in my own way in my own field I’m trying to make things better and someone else has noticed that.

It means a lot.

Congratulations as well to my colleague Mike Smith who also was awarded Champion status,  my sometime colleague and friend Mark Myers from LDC Via and all the other IBM Champions this year.

*I got an email saying someone nominated me and, for the first time ever, I nominated myself as well because who knows what I’ve done this year better than me.  That was tough.  Writing things about myself feels like boasting but I think it was good for me to do it so i’m chalking it up to personal growth.



Say Thank You To Someone

I’ve been involved in lots of conversations recently with people wondering how to keep the “IBM Collaboration” community vibrant and alive as we face fewer and fewer meet ups in real life and more diverse technologies.  I’ve been working in this Community since the mid 90s and watched it grow off the hard work and selfless contributions of people who just wanted to share ideas and knowledge with each other. Even without as many real life connections, this community thrives on people sharing their time, ideas and knowledge.

Do you ever go searching for a problem and find someone’s blog with an answer?

Do you ever go to a conference and sit in a presentation and finally realise how to do something?

Do you ever find a posted presentation online that gives you an idea of something you can do in your own environment?

Do you ever bounce ideas with someone online about technology that helps you nudge a step forward in your own work?

Do you ever find yourself grateful someone else found and solved that problem so you didn’t have to?

Do you ever go to a conference or user group and find yourself energised by the people and information there?

The IBM Champion program is upon us once more.  Each year IBM open up nominations for their Champion program that allow us to put forward people we think have added value to the community, sharing expertise, innovation, ideas or support for instance.  It’s not for people who are just doing their job, it’s for people who do so much more than they need to for no other reason than they want to create and be part of  a better community.

The IBM Champion program recognizes innovative thought leaders in the technical community. An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, or educator who influences and mentors others to help them make the best use of IBM software, solutions, and services, shares knowledge and expertise, and helps nurture and grow the community.

As well as nominating others, you can nominate yourself as a Champion – after all no-one knows better than you what you actually contribute, however I’ve had people who I want to nominate say to me they can’t think what they would put on their own nomination. If you would like to be nominated but you aren’t sure what you would put on the form try speaking to a friend who can help you tease out the things you may not consider important but others will.

Don’t assume someone else will nominate the person you are thinking of.  They might do and then again they might not. More nominations doesn’t increase a person’s chances of becoming a Champion but more information about them does.  You may nominate them for something that’s important to you that no-one else has picked up upon.

Nominations forms are here and IBMs (Amanda Baumann’s) announcement about the program and how to apply is here.  If right now you can think of someone who you think should be a Champion then please take 5 minutues and nominate them.  They won’t know you did so unless you tell them but they will be very grateful.

As for me.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have been made a Champion in previous years but each year is a new application and only work done in 2015 would count.  I haven’t yet decided if I will nominate myself, I”m one of those people who feel uncomfortable about doing that but then again that’s how the program works.  However I do have in mind at least 5 others who richly deserve thanks and recognition so i’m off to do those now…

Nominations close October 31st.

The IBM Champion – Dilemma

It’s IBM Champion nomination time once more.  I’ve been extremely appreciative of being made a Champion in both 2013 and 2014 (since the program for Collaboration Services started) but each year it becomes a very stressful experience (not quite on a par with wondering if I’ll get to present in January but close).

The process works by someone nominating you using this URL  on Greenhouse.  Existing Champions reset each year so having been one before is no guarantee you will be one again.  Why the dilemma? Well each year you can nominate yourself because – hey – who knows better what stuff you do than you ? The problem is where that process meets my own feelings about being a Champion, basically that if I did anything worth being a Champion people will nominate me and if I didn’t they won’t.

Nominating myself isn’t something I would feel comfortable doing so I wait and see if anyone out there considers me worth nominating.

So what’s the point of this post?

Last year a few friends who I thought would certainly be “Championed” were not nominated by anyone – not themselves and shamefully not me.  I had assumed that other’s would do it and they, like me, assumed if they added any significant community value then someone would nominate them.  But that’s not how this works and many many people (rightfully) nominate themselves.   So this post isn’t to ask you to nominate me, it’s not to give you a list of things I’m proud of doing or that I hope have added to the community in some way.  It’s to ask you to consider nominating anyone you think should be a champion, even if you don’t know much more about them than you’ve seen them present or read their blog or they’ve helped you out personally when they didn’t have to.  If they made a difference to you, go ahead and nominate them. The form itself is a bit overwhelming although you need only fill in a small amount and the nominee then gets asked to complete any “additional information” they think the committee should know.

And.. (my fingernails are curling back with embarrassment whilst typing this) but if you genuinely feel I added value to the you or the community this year then I would of course appreciate a nomination.