The makings of a Champion
JustinLiu 270004F43D Visits (1306)
One of the most common questions we get at the Champion program is "What are you looking for that makes a person an IBM Champion?"
This is a more complicated question than it seems.
To begin with, most of the IBM Champions are actually nominated by the community - almost 60% of Champions have their name submitted by one of their peers from an online community or at work. The other nominations are either from people self-nominating, or through IBM recommendations. Generally IBMers support the nominations that have been submitted by the community. The IBM Champion program leads do not nominate or look for Champions on their own - we'd be biased during the selection process if we did.
During the nomination process, the IBM Champion program and the selection committees are looking for exactly that - people who champion IBM when they have the opportunity. This almost always boils down to being active with social media, having gained or developed significant expertise within their specialty area, and/or given back to the community in some way.
When the program first began, we were really just hoping to find members of the community who were technical experts - people that could be counted on to give the correct answer when a problem arose. What we found was that the community leaders of the IBM ecosystem were much better than that, and we had to re-think what was really a Champion.
With such pools of candidates, it is always incredibly difficult to make decisions as to who is to be selected to be an IBM Champion. To choose one great candidate also means that we have to make sure that all this person is truly a better Champion than the ones not chosen. And that line is constantly shifting as the program grows, expands, and evolves over time.
But there has always been a constant - every year we receive a few dozen nominations that are truly stellar - members of the community who have been consistently advocating for IBM, are connected to the social community, and have gathered a vast pool of knowledge about their work. We have Champions like this already, and each year we find more. Some are Champions who have stepped up their activity in the year, or others who have just learned about the program. Regardless, nominees who have this combination are always considered incredibly seriously.
Maybe that clarifies things a bit for people who are wondering "What makes a person Champion material?". We hope to see many of your nominations in the future!