Q&A with Ceri Mescall, CAP CPP ES-M APMP Fellow

Ceri has worked in proposals for over 16 years. She’s one of only 22 people globally (as of October 2022) that holds all four main APMP certifications. Ceri is a presenter/panelist, article author, and awards judge.

What is the most important trait needed for someone to be successful in the industry?

Curiosity is the most important trait for a successful proposal career. It keeps us engaged and interested. It enables us to learn and improve.

An example is when proposal managers interview Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). While we don’t have the answers (the SMEs do), we know exactly the right questions to ask and how to ask them to translate the technical into client-focused, compelling copy.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

Emigrating from the UK was the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my career as I felt I was “starting over.” In the UK, I had an established network and a work history. I was unsure if my experience would be seen as relevant in Canada, and I was afraid of feeling isolated.

I was fortunate in securing a Proposal Manager position in Canada just before moving. However, I knew I needed to “lean in” to overcome the challenges and seize opportunities.

Tony Round (APMP’s Business Development Director at the time) kindly introduced me to the Maple Leaf chapter. I was able to attend APMP Bid and Proposal Con (BPC) in San Diego to expand my network. And I constantly sought feedback from my manager Jennifer Worboys and peers such as Mehnaz Thawer (my new starter buddy in the Vancouver office). I’m forever grateful to everyone who welcomed me.

How did you get started in the bid & proposal industry?

Serendipity! I graduated with a degree in English literature and was unsure what I wanted to do next. I saw a job description for a Proposal Coordinator, and it spoke to my strengths and interests. My first employer took a chance on me based on transferable skills rather than experience. I loved the role and never looked back.

However, I’m so glad that we now have the APMP Young Professionals Affinity Group, Intentional Career Path programs and apprenticeship schemes to attract and retain people. The future of our industry depends on it.

What is your role now?

I’m a self-employed Work Winning Consultant. Clients across a variety of industries engage me to help them overcome their challenges with capacity, client focus, and clarity. I’m trusted to sustain, elevate, and transform their proposal functions.

How long have you been a member of APMP?

I’ve been a member of APMP for 14 years. I joined the UK chapter in 2009, completed my APMP Foundation certification in 2010, and Practitioner in 2013 (before the switch from assessment questionnaire to exam).

In 2018, I moved from the UK to Canada and joined the APMP Maple Leaf chapter. I served as Western Regional Chair in 2018-19, and Communications Chair in 2019.

I completed my APMP Professional certification in 2019, Capture Practitioner in 2021, and Executive Summaries micro-certification in 2022. I was part of the APMP 40 Under 40 class of 2019, and recipient of the APMP Fellows award in 2020.

What do you like to do when you are not winning bids and proposals?

When I’m not winning bids and proposals, I’m planning my next adventure (I’ve visited 35+ countries so far), enjoying nature on my doorstep in beautiful British Columbia, or watching international rugby union (I’m an avid Wales supporter)

Why are you proud to be APMP?

I’m #ProudToBeAPMP due to the generosity of its members. Notable examples include:

  • Isabel Moritz, the events coordinator for the UK chapter when I joined in 2009 and the first person to welcome me to APMP
  • Jon Williams, who trained me for the APMP Foundation certification, and created the Strategic Proposals Rising Stars program which one of my former colleagues benefited from greatly
  • Charlie Divine and Cathy Day who served as APMP certification director and chief examiner respectively

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