Apple / MacBook / iPhone / iCloud user — turned Microsoft 365 user — turned Microsoft TEAMS Champion

John R. Gagain Jr
3 min readJul 9, 2021


By John R. Gagain Jr.

Since 2005, I have been a diehard Apple / MacBook / iPhone / iCloud user. More than a decade and a half later, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was given access to Microsoft 365 at the Department of Defense’s (DoD), Defense Health Agency (DHA) when I began serving as team leader of the Change Management Strategy Team working on the Military Health System’s (MHS) GENESIS Electronic Health Record (EHR) system transformation.

This was the first time I was using Microsoft products since 2004, which was when I used to use MS Outlook for Email. I was totally surprised. The sheer power and seamless functionality, and virtual collaboration — powered by M365 — was astonishing. Not only was the technology great, it was the DHA’s life-line since the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine. Without TEAMS and the M365 Suite of Apps and tools, we would not have been able to reach the entire MHS or execute our work agenda. M365 for us, referred to more technically as “Commercial Virtual Environment” (CVR), was the bedrock of DoD’s business continuity plan throughout the height of the pandemic.

I fell in love with M365. I became a personal and professional advocate for Microsoft 365 pretty much instantaneously. I was so excited by M365 technology that I got myself designated by Microsoft and DoD’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) as a Microsoft TEAMS’ Champion [i.e. Jared Serbu’s podcast show, “On DoD,” has an episode with Danielle Metz, DoD’s Deputy CIO where she explains in the first 5 minutes how important these TEAMS Champions were to the DoD’s initiative during the height of the pandemic]. I was one of only 32 champions at the entire DoD Defense Health Agency (DHA); and one of only two in the DHA Health Informatics (HI) Branch, which is the branch that takes the lead anywhere “tech touches healthcare.”

Ms. Janet Robb, Microsoft Customer Success Manager for Business Applications, based in the UK — who is a Prosci Certified Change Management Practitioner — provides the clearest explanation I have heard to date on the importance of “Champions,” and how Microsoft values “Champions’ networks.”
Ms. Janet Robb, Microsoft Customer Success Manager for Business Applications, based in the UK — who is a Prosci Certified Change Management Practitioner — provides the clearest explanation that I have heard to date on the importance of “Champions,” and how Microsoft values “Champions’ networks.” [FIND VIDEO on YOUTUBE by CLICKING HERE]

The role of TEAMS Champions is to serve as peer experts (or “subject matter experts” as Ms. Janet Robb explains in the video above) that help colleagues when in need of advice, guidance, or technical assistance related to their individual use of M365 and/or TEAMS for daily meetings. However, I took my role and responsibility as a TEAMS Champion to another level.

I became an expert not just in TEAMS technology for daily business meetings, but I also became a power-user of TEAMS LIVE — the new live-streaming capability within TEAMS. This gave me and my DHA HI Change Management Strategy Team an extraordinary ability to reach thousands of stakeholders.

As the team’s Change Management Communications Lead and MS DoD TEAMS Champion, I coached and trained colleagues, senior executives, and senior military and government officials. Under my leadership, our team developed and deployed trainings on TEAMS LIVE for approximately 1,000–2,000 attendees at each workshop. We have organized dozens upon dozens of workshops, trainings, and events via TEAMS LIVE for thousands of healthcare providers and administrators at approximately 200–300 hospitals and clinics to date. These virtual events have become ongoing engagements that have relied upon using not just TEAMS LIVE, but all M365 cloud-based business applications including SharePoint, Planner, Project, Forms, OneDrive, OneNote, To Do, Stream, Visio, Outlook, PowerPoint, among others.

I am honored and proud that I have gradually become a go-to resource for government officials, contractors, healthcare professionals, and colleagues needing help and guidance with M365. My hope is to build upon this experience. I would love to continue to be a part of the renewed spirit and success of Microsoft by serving people and organizations in another capacity. In these increasingly changing and challenging times for organizations, the global economy, and society; opening the door to M365 for others — especially those that have yet to benefit — would be the most REWARDING experience and opportunity.



John R. Gagain Jr

I’m a Change professional that loves facilitating workshops for teams looking to be more innovative & impactful; coaching, storytelling, & leadership.