I've been meaning to introduce myself for some time, but of course, so many more pressing things have been taking up my time, and today doesn't seem like the best time, either, and I'll tell you why in a minute. I'm Amanda Bauman, the new IBM Champion Program Manager. Many of the IBM Collaboration Solutions (ICS) Champions already know me because of my background in ICS User Experience and Information Development.
I wasn't looking for a new job. This one found me! Thanks to my friend and colleague Joyce Davis, who recommended me. For the past two years I have been involved with the ICS Champion program and have had the pleasure of meeting many of the Champions in person at IBM Connect. Over those two years I've followed as many Champions as I could find on twitter, occasionally interacting, but mostly observing. And my observations taught me something wonderful about these people. They are passionate about their work, and believe in IBM's products and services. They go above and beyond to promote and evangelize IBM's solutions. They share information with each other because shared knowledge empowers everybody to do great things. They don't ask for anything in return, they share for the joy of sharing. I realized that these are the people I want to surround myself with. These are the people I want to work for. So when this opportunity presented itself, naturally it was the perfect fit for me!
I'm really excited to be a part of the IBM Champion program, and I've spent the last several weeks catching up with the IBM Champion leads for each of the brands, putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and understanding what needs to be done. I'm still discovering, but I hope that I can help to make being part of the IBM Champion program something that everyone strives for.
So why is this not a good time to introduce myself? Tragedy struck the ICS community over the weekend. We lost one of our brightest stars, Tim Tripcony. Everyone in the YellowVerse knew or knew of Tim. The outpouring of kind words across the internet over the past few days is testament to his greatness, not only was he a coding genius, but a genuinely nice person who always gave his time and shared his knowledge so generously. Tim and I were also friends. As are most people in the ICS community, and what I'm seeing now is a community who is mourning the loss of one of our own. If you could see what I see out there in the IBM Champion universe today, you would see a group of genuine and passionate people, who might not have met or interacted with each other, linked by common interests, coming together as a community to console each other, to honour our friend, and to show that we are stronger together. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?
I'm sad about our friend. I'm optimistic about our future.
This is a much longer post than I intended, and not the one I was hoping to post, but it is what it is (you'll hear that from me a lot). I invite you to reach out to me on twitter @amandabauman, and you can also follow @IBMChampions.