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Stickfight

The Perfect IBM Champion

I’m writing this post before the IBM champion decisions come out this year and you get a glut of “I’m so grateful for the honour” blog posts..

What I want to talk about is one of the current IBM Champions in fact one of only 2 IBM Lifetime Champions: Gabriella Davis1

Now Gabriella was a IBM champion long before the term existed

Let me explain. In a rough and ready sort of way an IBM Champion is supposed to act as an evangelist to the IBM brand and provide the following informal services.

  1. Be active in the community: speak at conferences, write blogs etc
  2. Be a source for other peoples solutions to issues with IBM software and platforms: write technical articles and fixes etc etc
  3. Be an expert where clients can go to update,install,advise on or adapt IBM solutions when frankly they don’t want IBM to do it.

Gab excels at all of these, Lets take an example of contact between myself and Gab to see what I mean.

In the middle of the week I had a problem I was REALLY stuck on with Sametime and so I howled on the champions chat, I was greeted with helpful suggestions by those awake at that time, but from Gab I got the following (which I will take apart)

“OK, I have a client deliverable that I am on, but that should be done in 2 hours can you hold on until then”

—^ Her clients came first, that is explained to me and expectations are set so I know where I am but help is on the way.

(2 Hours 15 mins later) “OK I read the chat.. I think it is XXXXX and we need to check the following, do XXX && YYY and tell me what it says”

—^ she has followed through on a promise, has given me an opinion and a number of things to veryify this, so I’m learning the deduction process.

“OK on the basis of that, it confirms that it is indeed XXXXX, to fix it we need to do ZZZZ, you can see that at this URL, and can double check by looking at the following files”

—^ A solution, with official backup and a way of checking to confirm the suggestion has taken effect.

and Bugger me if that did not fix it….

Now that does not make Gab a “free support desk”, it makes her someone I can turn to when I have tried everything I and mr Google can think off (and personally it makes me want to get better so I can reply her in kind some day).. it makes her a CHAMPION.

Now lets look at her broader input into the community…

How many of you would not consider an IBM conference or LUG complete without Gab taking apart one of the more horrible parts of the administration process, be it Authentication between cloud service providers or simplifying massively complex installations she provides a unique and constantly relevant voice at conferences.

And finally there is her efforts to help IBM expand their position in the changing world of IT with such things as the CSC events, showing people how to integrate existing IBM offerings with internet darling technologies,

So for you new IBM champions (and existing ones) this year there is a life time standard for you to be aiming for and Gab is it…. She is in my opinion and as I have public stated multiple times The Best IBM stack administrator in the world.

now if you will just excuse me I need to go and find a pit to hide in in case gab reads this post and pulls my lungs out.


  1. Disclaimer: I am a long time friend of both Gab and her husband Tim the Geekmeister, I have both worked for/with/employed her for years and wont get anything from this blog post other than a savage telling off for embarrassing her 

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