Reflecting on BPC Barcelona 2024

So, BPC (European edition) is over for another year!

If you saw the article I posted on this blog a few weeks ago about my preparations for BPC Barcelona, you’ll know that this was my first ever APMP conference experience, and my first global professional conference overall. I said in the article that, while I was excited, I had a lot of nerves.

I’m happy to report that I had absolutely no reason to be so nervous!

Despite the fact I’d never met any of the people before, I felt like I was greeting old friends as I checked people in at the registration desk. All 200+ attendees seemed so genuinely happy to be there, and an atmosphere teeming with enthusiasm was palpable throughout the venue.

There’s something about a live, in-person conference that is so motivating, and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to experience this incredible association in all its glory.

Now that BPC Barcelona is over and we’re gearing up for BPC NOLA (more on that later), I’m in the mood to reflect on the experience. So, if you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, I’d like to share some of the biggest highlights of the two days.

I learned so much about this dynamic industry!

There were 28 incredible sessions running over the span of the conference and, unfortunately, only one me. The selection of sessions on offer was very varied and, being new to the industry, I wanted to make sure I picked a mixture of sessions to help me get as rounded a view of the many facets of the bid and proposal world as I could.

In only two days, I learned so much about the latest trends in AI, managing SME relationships, understanding evaluators’ perspectives, influencing upper management, and more! I even got the chance to sit in on a couple of sessions that helped me to brush up on the skills I use in my day job as APMP’s writer – particularly useful to me were lessons on the power of written charisma and persuading readers through the use of emotionally evocative writing.

I’d also like to take a moment to appreciate our amazing attendees, who were so refreshingly engaged in the sessions. I have to say, I’m used to awkward silences at the end of presentations when the audience is prompted to ask questions to the presenter. But I was so happy to have to run around with a handheld microphone trying to capture everyone’s questions before the session’s time ran out. There were even sessions I attended where people used the Q+A portion of the presentation to compliment the presenter and share their enjoyment of the session. This was a true insight into how supportive and uplifting our members are towards one another, and it was so lovely to see.

I’ve come away not only feeling more developed in my own skill, but also understanding so much more about the professional lives of bid and proposal professionals – your challenges, your pain points, your motivations and your profound impact on organisations. Between the new knowledge I learned and the infectious enthusiasm that filled the rooms in which I learned it, I feel even more inspired to create and facilitate content that helps elevate this profession to the level it deserves.

If you want to know more about the sessions themselves, I posted the takeaways from some of my favourite sessions on my LinkedIn, which you can read here.

And, in another show of their engagement and commitment to the BPC experience, many of our attendees also posted their thoughts and takeaways about the sessions they attended – you can find many of their posts by searching #BPCBarcelona on LinkedIn.

APMP announced its newest member benefit: PIN!

During the first session on Day 1, David Gray, Chair of the APMP Board of Directors, announced something that APMP HQ has been working on with Rohirrim for a while now. Our new member benefit, the cognitive neural entity that we’re calling PIN.

I wish I could describe the buzz in the room after that announcement! The possibilities for the ways in which PIN can revolutionise the APMP experience are extensive, and everyone I spoke to was so excited to give it a try and to see how PIN can make their professional lives easier.

As many people I spoke to commented, there are so many larger associations and organisations who don’t yet have something as advanced and tailored as PIN. In the audience for that announcement, I got the impression we were all witnessing a big step forward in APMP’s mission to elevate this industry.

Wanting to seize the momentum after the announcement, I had a great chat with Rohirrim’s Steve Aberle, David Gray and APMP CEO Rick Harris, and I drafted a press release from the staff room on my lunch break. Steve even got PIN to give comment on its own behalf! If you want to learn more about PIN, you can check out that press release here.

Networking is fun… Who knew?

This community really is so welcoming, and I was so happy to discover that absolutely everyone I ran into was so willing to chat, exchange ideas, and nurture new and existing connections.

I added some incredible new people to my network, and learned so much by virtue of the wealth of experience, knowledge, and skill in the room. It was also very interesting to see people I’d chatted to and connected with on LinkedIn in 3D!

There were lots of opportunities to network throughout the two days – both official and unofficial. As much as I took the opportunity to mix with industry folks during the scheduled breaks, I found myself just as often chatting with strangers on the stairs between sessions or bonding over the need for an early-morning coffee in the queue for the machine.

The TARA, or The Art of Reconnecting Annually, took place following the close of the sessions on the first day. Even though it was a networking session, it felt so much more relaxed and casual than any networking session I’ve experienced before. We had a guitarist playing live music, wine, and a bunch of free food (I discovered a love of Spanish omelettes and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I haven’t stopped thinking about them since I got back to the UK).

If you’ve seen my LinkedIn, you’ll know that my colleague, Joshua (APMP’s wonderful Multimedia Designer), and I were invited to construct a duck out of LEGO by two of our speakers. I took the task quite literally, while Joshua opted for a more abstract depiction (ever the artist), which sparked a very interesting conversation about what a person’s interpretation of the duck-designing task said about their personality. Not the kind of conversation I thought I’d be having at a business conference, but entertaining nonetheless. (The speakers also gifted me the duck I made at the close of the conference, and it’s sitting next to my laptop as I type this.)

This kind of laid-back and fun energy was very prevalent in the room all throughout the TARA, and being surrounded by laughter and carefree chatter did wonders for unwinding after the long day of learning we’d all had. I didn’t even notice how many valuable connections I was making, as it really felt just like making friends. I personally take that as a sign of a very enjoyable networking experience!

I got to meet new people from all over the world!

20 of APMP’s 28 Chapters had delegates attending BPC Barcelona, making this conference wonderfully global.

The chapters represented were:

  • Francophonie Chapter
  • Japan Chapter
  • Romania Chapter
  • UK Chapter
  • Maple Leaf Chapter
  • Carolinas Chapter
  • Chesapeake Chapter
  • Colorado Chapter
  • DACH Chapter
  • Greater Midwest Chapter
  • Ireland Chapter
  • Liberty Chapter
  • Lone Star Chapter
  • National Capital Area Chapter
  • Netherlands Chapter
  • Nordic Chapter
  • Nor’easters Chapter
  • Pacific Northwest Chapter
  • Tidewater Chapter
  • Western Chapter

I met people who’d driven for 30 minutes to get to the conference, and people who had flown for 10 hours. People who visit Barcelona regularly, and others like me who were visiting for the first time.

There really is something special about being in the middle of a room abuzz with conversations being had in all different languages and accents. About coming together to learn from each other even though we all operate under different legal frameworks and cultural expectations when it comes to bidding. It was a nice, unifying reminder that we all deal with so many of the same issues and celebrate so many of the same triumphs.

Also, working remotely with a global team means that I normally only get to see my HQ colleagues over video call. Meeting them in person and witnessing them be the superheroes that they are in real time was such a great experience, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with them – and more of my colleagues who couldn’t join us in Barcelona – in New Orleans in June.

Our sponsors are really impressive!

The exhibitor room was so full of innovation and insight. I had some lovely conversations with sponsors, and managed to snag a brand new notebook from one of their stalls to destroy with my session notes! But the highlight was getting to see first-hand the value that they add to the bid and proposal industry.

Not only are our sponsors incredible at what they do in their own organisations, they are pivotal in ensuring that our community can come together and enjoy events like BPC Barcelona.

This conference wouldn’t have been the success it was if it weren’t for their generous support. So, I want to give another shout out and thank you to our sponsors:

Partner-level sponsors

  • Aretec
  • AutogenAI
  • Loopio
  • PerfectIt
  • Responsive
  • Rohirrim
  • Upland Qvidian
  • Xait

Contributing-level sponsors

  • CV Partner
  • RocketDocs
  • TenderFacts
  • VisibleThread

Barcelona lives up to the hype!

This was my first time in Barcelona – wow, what a place! There’s something about a thriving city against a backdrop of mountains that makes you feel both motivated and at peace at once. The city is as bustling as it is laid back, and – honestly – I can’t imagine a much better setting for my first conference.

I decided to stay in the city for the weekend to explore a little with my partner. Just my luck, the beautiful Spanish sunshine that we were treated to during both days of the conference turned to bucketing rain on my day off.

Living in Manchester, we’re no strangers to a bit of rain, but we definitely didn’t pack accordingly and got thoroughly soaked. It didn’t deter us from exploring though. We rode on a cable car, toured Montjuïc Castle, caught a glimpse of La Sagrada Familia, strolled along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and ate our body weight in tapas. I’m really grateful that APMP gave me the nudge I needed to visit this beautiful city, and I definitely plan to return in the future!

I can’t wait to do all of this again at BPC New Orleans!

I’m not ready to let the BPC buzz subside just yet. That’s why I’m so excited to be flying to New Orleans for BPC NOLA.

BPC New Orleans will take place from June 2-5, 2024, and is the largest in-person conference in the world for bid, proposal, tender, capture, business development and graphics professionals.

An older and more established event than its European counterpart, the US BPC is significantly bigger. While it carries the same energy of community and enthusiasm that so characterised BPC Barcelona for me, the US BPC has (on average) roughly five times as many attendees and more than twice as many sessions!

When I think about how much value I got from BPC Barcelona, I can’t even comprehend what I’m going to face in June! I’m already counting down the days (75 at the time of publication if you’re interested).

Next steps

  • If you want to join us for APMP’s flagship event (which, based on my experience in BPC Barcelona, I can now confidently say would be an excellent choice), you can register now at this link.
  • If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to complete your Foundation Certification, you can join us a day early for APMP’s Certification Day – registration for this day is separate, and you can register here.
  • If you’re not yet convinced, why not have a browse through the agenda? You can find this here.



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