Meet Appirio’s Salesforce Lightning Champions

June 18, 2019 Lia Parisyan

We are proud to highlight and recognize our Appirio Lightning Champions! But before we hear from them, let’s dive into what Lightning Champions are and why the recognition matters.

What is the Salesforce Lightning Champions Program?

The Lightning Champions program is a way for community members to become representative subject matter experts on Lightning Experience within a special community that connects them to Salesforce Lightning managers and encourages them to participate in worldwide Salesforce events.

What makes a Salesforce Lightning Champion?

No, it’s not a bowl of bolt-shaped Wheaties. Lightning Champions are people who help lead the charge toward innovation and transformation. They’re happiest when they’re providing expert insight and lessons learned on how to convert Classic to Lightning and helping others build exceptional experiences on the Lightning platform.

Lightning-based champions have the following characteristics in common:

  • They are powerful advocates for new ways to use the Salesforce platform.
  • They use their expertise to help improve business processes for clients as they transition from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience.

Why is it important for a Salesforce Partner to have Lightning Champions?

For Appirio, having consultants who are Lightning Champions means we have in-house experts closely connected to the platform. Our Lightning-based champions can provide expert guidance to our other consultants and, most importantly, to our customers. In other words, our Lightning Champions make sure our customers are getting the most value out of their Salesforce Lightning solution from making the transition from Classic to beyond. 

What types of Lightning Champions are there?

There are two kinds of Lightning Champions. Sure, individual champions might have experience in both tracks, but they have likely chosen one area of specialization.

  • Activation Champions are experts in the process of moving to Salesforce Lightning experience. They know how to migrate functionality from Classic to Lightning and all of the possible perils, pitfalls, and especially the rewards of migrating to Lightning Experience.
  • App Dev Champions are experts in leveraging the Lightning platform features This includes things like Lightning App Builder and Lightning Flow as well as standard and custom Lightning components to build complete Salesforce applications in Lightning Experience.

Rhonda Ross, Principal Consultant

Rhonda Ross headshot

What was your journey to becoming a Lightning Champion?

I became a Lightning Champion as part of the first group of champions when the program was first launched in 2018. I completed my first customer launch with Lightning in 2016 on a project rolling out Salesforce Mobile to a group of users who worked with strategic accounts. We rolled out Lightning to them at the same time on the desktop; all of the configuration work that had been completed for mobile automatically carried over to the desktop with no extra work. The result gave users a fairly consistent experience regardless of which device they were using.

What advice do you have for Salesforce users who aspire to reach this level?

Learn about all of the tools that Salesforce has created to help you with the transition. There are many resources available and can save you so much time, all while making you look like a superhero and ensuring project success.

Read the release notes for every new release, attend the release readiness webinars, utilize trailhead, and experiment with all of the new, exciting features. 

To get started, simply go to Setup and click Get Started for the Lightning Experience Transition Assistant. Lightning Champions can get certified as Masters for eleven individual tools. I have been certified for three of the tools thus far, and am working on certifications for an additional four tools that I’ve already used in customer projects.

What are some of the responsibilities of a Lightning Champion?

I lead the Administrator Community Group in San Diego. Since January of this year, I’ve been facilitating discussion groups every other Saturday among people who are in the Lightning transition journey in their companies. We talk about what users are excited about, as well as challenges and how to overcome them. Advice is also shared on best practices, resources available, and tips and tricks. Although the group is advertised as a “lightning focused” group, we talk about all things Salesforce. Everyone, (including myself) learns something new every single meeting from the lively discussions that occur.

Sudipta Deb
Salesforce Technical Architect

Sudipta Deb full body shot

What was your journey to becoming a Lightning Champion? 

I was lucky to get the opportunity to get my hands dirty in Lightning right after Salesforce introduced it. I got involved in multiple lightning projects. In the process, I shared my knowledge on my blog When I heard about the Champion program, I applied for it by explaining my work experience and my involvement in the community, and here I am today – a Lightning Champion. My lightning journey started in 2014, and I’ve seen Lightning grow from just a few components to a brand new UI/UX experience, aura framework, and recently lightning web components. It has been a great journey.

On personal and professional levels, what does being a Lightning Champion mean to you? 

This is recognition coming directly from Salesforce, so to me, it is a great thing to be recognized. Being a Lightning Champion, I get to know about new products, features, and demos firsthand and as soon as they become available. It gave me the platform to know so many great people within our Ohana, and the best part is that I have the opportunity to learn from them every day. Professionally it’s a huge boost for me. 

What advice do you have for Salesforce users who aspire to reach this level? 

Keep exploring lightning as #itsBetterInLightning. Completing the Lightning Superbadges from Trailhead will definitely give that extra boost. Contribute to the community in your own way -- through blog posts, answering the developer community/Stack Exchange, participating in your local community events, etc. Salesforce accepts new applications for Lightning Champion twice a year. When the time comes, apply for the position and explain your contributions. Rest assured, people are watching you, recognizing your contribution.

What are some of the responsibilities of a Lightning Champion? 

Every recognition comes with great responsibilities. With Lightning Champion associated with your name, you will automatically become the trusted advisor for your customers within your organization and an influencer within the Salesforce community. To me there are two very basic, but important responsibilities we all have being a part of Salesforce Ohana: 1) Keep on learning; and 2) Keep on sharing. #SharingIsCaring.

Mark Adcock
Senior Consultant

Mark Adcock headshot

What was your journey to becoming a Lightning Champion?

When the Lightning Champions program opened, it originally focused only on those who did Lightning migrations, which wasn’t my specialty (though I have some experience with it). On the next round, they opened up the App Dev track, which is where my experience is truly relevant. I love using the tools in the Lightning platform to build apps -- like Lightning App Builder and no code/low code solutions -- because there is so much opportunity to build a truly engaging and tailored experience for users that puts relevant information where users need it the most.

What being a Lightning Champion means to you on a personal and professional level?

Being a Lightning Champion gives me many opportunities to help the community by sharing my knowledge, but it also gives me a chance to share my knowledge internally, and most importantly to leverage it for customers. As a champion, I get access to a network of experienced lightning developers and admins as well as Salesforce product managers to see what the platform is truly capable of and to provide input into the roadmap.

What advice do you have for Salesforce users who aspire to reach this level?

The nomination period is open for either self-nomination or to be nominated by an existing champion. If you want to be considered, make sure you have lined up what you want to focus on -- either App Dev or Activation -- and spend some time either in your company org or in a developer edition to play around with real scenarios. Also, hit the Lightning trails on Trailhead, and make sure you’re tackling those Lightning Experience superbadges.

What are some of the responsibilities of a Lightning Champion?

Lightning Champions are expected to write blog posts sharing their experience, to participate in community discussions, and to help out at Salesforce events, such as Hands-on Workshops and Breakfasts with Champions. There are many different avenues where Champions can contribute, so it’s important to find the ones that work best for you.

Empowering our entire organization

There you have it! Three different roads to becoming a Salesforce Lightning Champions. We couldn't be prouder of our 'Big Three' and the work they do every day to make Appirio stronger, more agile and responsive to our clients' needs. We're lucky to have you on our team! 

About the Author

Lia Parisyan

Lia Parisyan is a Data Storyteller at Appirio. She has created high-performing content for leading technology brands.

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