5 Ways To Become An IBM Champion (Oct 15 Deadline)


GreaterIBMers, are you a technical expert or educator who actively blogs, speaks at conferences or events, or authors books or magazine articles?  Or do you know someone who does?  If so, we invite you to learn more about the IBM Champion program.

Nominations are open through October 15, 2013 –  we’d love to see Greater IBMers nominated for this program!

5 Ways To Become An IBM Champion

An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who makes exceptional contributions to the technical community and influences and mentors others to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services. The IBM Champion program recognizes these innovative thought leaders and rewards these contributors by amplifying their voices and increasing their spheres of influence.  An IBM Champion is not an IBM employee. IBM Champions can live in any country.

Here are five ways YOU can become an IBM Champion:

1 – Evangelize and advocate for IBM
  • Speaks at conferences, user group meetings, IBM events
  • Uses social media channels to help spread the word about IBM solutions and increase positive sentiment towards IBM
  • Helps IBM share specific messages around launches and announcements
  • Work within their own company or their customers’ companies to encourage continued use of IBM technology
  • Help customers make the most of the IBM technology that is installed (use of expanded features, broader adoption, and more)
  • Explores ways to reach outside the current community sphere to reach new audiences.
  • Partners with IBM about how to become better evangelists
2 – Share knowledge and expertise
  • Participates in online forums, answering questions and sharing expertise
  • Shares expertise through instructional videos, podcasts, interviews, and other support/teaching sessions
  • Shares knowledge via white papers, Redbooks, wikis, and/or wiki articles
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on IBM certification exams
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on product usability and documentation
  • Participate in usability activities to improve IBM products
  • Helps IBM improve on products and solutions by actively participating in beta programs, usability studies and other types of research
  • Organizes or connects people in their network to find support for issues
3 – Help grow and nurture the community
  • Uses social media channels (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Connections, podcasting, and others) to drive awareness to community topics and events
  • Starts, leads and/or participates in local user group meetings and events
  • Participates in community webcasts and meetings
  • Helps mentor new community members and drive them to community sites
  • Guides community members so they know how to leverage information in the community (that is, help new people know where to go for help)
  • Participates in or leads activities to encourage sustained community activity and contributions
  • Implements new and innovative ways of growing the community
  • Communicates honestly, openly, professionally, and respectfully (for example, keeps private conversations private or complies with NDAs)
4 – Expand reach across the IBM portfolio
  • Finds ways to expand customer adoption of broad set of IBM capabilities
  • Integrates solutions across the IBM portfolio
  • Leverages IBM’s breadth of technologies to augment brand specific products
5 – Present feedback, both negative and positive, in a constructive and professional manner
  • Provides feedback in appropriate forums such as a design partner programs, or private discussions with target IBM contact who can affect or implement changes
  • Reaches out to appropriate contacts within IBM to share criticism or suggestions using clear concise, professional language
  • Any challenges, issues or problems you wish to resolve with IBM should be discussed with the appropriate IBM personnel in a private venue. Sharing frustrations in a public or social venue on issues that may reflect negatively on IBM, business partners and/or negatively impact revenue streams is not appropriate.

Nominations will be open until October 15th. The announcement of the new set of champions (including renewals) is currently planned for late November or early December.


– Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Early Bird Productivity: Use These Powerful Strategies Every Day

The early bird catching the worm isn’t merely a worn-out cliche – it’s a proven fact. Research by Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, found that people who started their days earlier were more goal-oriented and more active, and even felt more in charge — all elements of business success.

In this article by Lydia Dishman in FastCompany, learn some great strategies for upping your productivity from five successful executives who are early risers. Maybe we’ll never all be morning people, but we can always take a few super-effective tricks from from the playbooks of these thought leaders. How to do it.

Leaders: Think You’re a Good Listener? You Can Do Better

How to become a listening STAR

One bright star in a field of stars“Excellent leaders recognize the more information they have, the better the solutions they can come up with. One important way leaders get their information is by actively listening.

“Listening is an active skill, so you need to do several things if you want to excel. Listening skills are not things you can’t do. For example, I often tell workshop attendees I can’t dunk a basketball. Never could and it’s not likely at 48 years old, standing just 5’9 tall, that I ever will. Jumping high enough to dunk a basketball is a skill I don’t have and can’t acquire no matter how hard I work. If someone told me my career depended on dunking a basketball, I’d start looking for a new career.

But that’s not the case with listening skills! Each of the five pointers I’ll share is within your power to do if you’ll just make the choice to employ them.”

Remember to Stop, Tone, Ask, Restate and Scribble: five pointers to help you become listening STARS.


Do you consider yourself a good listener? What would you add to this list?



This post comes from Thoughtleaders LLC contributor, trainer, and speaker Brian Ahearn, who is an expert on the subject of ethical influence. His blog, Influence PEOPLE, has followers in 180+ countries.

More about Brian Ahearn

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianAhearn


Need a Competitive Edge? Get a Mentor: 4 Things to Do

by Meica Hatters, The Labor Academy

We all have childhood heroes. Back when you were a kid it may have been a superhero.

I had a fascination with Wonder Woman. The qualities I admired in her were her stature, strength and virtue. When I look back now, although I didn’t realize then, she was my very first mentor.

Marvel Comics’ Wonder Woman

I wanted to possess the same qualities that she had – In effect, I wanted to be her. Now that I’m all grown up, I no longer desire to be Wonder Woman, but I still seek the guidance of an effective mentor. Although I never had a personal relationship with my comic book heroine – I still gleaned important lessons from her in those comics.

Today however, I realize that I need a more formal relationship with someone to take my career to the next level. And I’m not alone in that way of thinking.

The desire for effective mentoring is higher today than at any other point in our history. Individuals are looking for any edge they can use to succeed in their careers and their lives.

However, the operative word when it comes to mentoring is “effective”. The truth is that many mentor/protegé relationships don’t yield the desired results.

There are many reasons why these relationships fail to garner the expected outcomes. Some of the more common reasons include –

  • Failure to set expectations
  • Inconsistent communication
  • Lack of interest

These (and other issues) can kill a mentoring relationship before it even gets started.

However, there are things you can do to develop a fruitful and long-lasting mentor/protegé relationship –

1. Determine what you need

Determine what your goals are for a mentoring relationship. Decide the top three things you need to get out of the relationship for it be worthwhile. Also decide the type of person you’d want to work with. Is it an expert who can help with a specific problem—such as requesting a raise, enhancing your image, or how to network more effectively? Or maybe you need someone to be a sounding board to discuss general issues with. Determining these things upfront will help you narrow your pool of potential mentors.

2. Look for potential mentors in unexpected places

Instead of just looking mentors in your place of employment, why not first try the professional organizations that you’re a member of.  Professional organizations are rich in individuals that are experienced, committed and looking for ways to give back to their professional communities. Start by asking membership coordinator if your chapter offers formal mentorship programs where you can be paired up with a person interested in mentoring.  If your chapter doesn’t have a group, it might be a good idea to introduce yourself to other members and find someone you click with and ask them if you could contact them if you had questions regarding their area of expertise.

You may also want to try LinkedIn. Using functions such as the Advanced People Search will enable you to find people from your alma mater, or industries or other area interest that you can form relationships with. You can tailor your search to a specific location  so you can connect with someone nearby.

3. Know what to ask for

Don’t overstep the bounds with your mentor. Their job is to provide guidance while you do the actual work. They should only intercede for you in very specific and limited situations.  All that being said – you have to show them how they can best help you. If you have an immediate need, there is nothing wrong with a making request. It’s probably safe to assume that you’re mentor doesn’t know where to start to help you.  Start engaging them by simply asking for advice on one issue.

4. Express gratitude

Mentoring is big responsibility. It requires a commitment of significant time to be really effective. If you’ve done your homework – your mentor is really helping you to advance your career. Reciprocate their efforts by making yourself useful to them. Are there things that you can teach them or help someone close to them. Figure out ways give back to them and your relationship will become more meaningful and fruitful. Remember it’s a two-way street.

In the end, having a mentor to help guide your career is becoming more and more important.  It’s a great way to grow as a professional – because you have someone who can help you develop perspective on challenging situations in and outside the workplace.


Do you have a mentor? What is your experience? Tell us in the comments.

About the author:

Meica Hatters is a contributor for The Labor Academy –Meica Hattersa career development learning community that helps professionals become successful employees and entrepreneurs.