Takeaways from APMP’s First Women’s Virtual Summit

APMP’s First-Ever Women’s Virtual Summit brought 609 bid & proposal professionals together to share professional obstacles, personal experiences, and expert advice. The candor and sincerity of this year’s speakers made every session an impactful experience with powerful takeaways. Take a look at some of the practical strategies and perspectives we took away from the Women’s Virtual Summit this year. As a reminder, all sessions were recorded and will be available to attendees for the next 90 days!

  • Artie Banks, CSM, CSPO of RFPIO gave tips for work-life balance and says it is all up to planning. She says there has to be better work-life balance and the secret weapon is planning. This involves establishing strict boundaries between your home and office. Later on in the session, she mentioned that putting on your camera isn’t always necessary. You can reduce the pressure of looking nice by deciding if the meeting is important enough to “be camera ready”.  Artie also said that you can reduce work stress by building genuine connections in your work life. Try to create positive energy in your voice to establish multiple connections. The session is called Work Life Balance: Planning and Partnerships to Make the Impact You Want and it is a must-see!
  •  Sharon Coddington of Expedience Software addressed the lack of role models for women in tech in her session. The greatest challenge of a woman in tech can be ageism. Sharon showed there is a lack of investment for women in tech and this is partly due to the difficulty of breaking into VC funding. Sharon also explained how qualifications like APMP certification can move you forward in your company. This session is called Celebrate our Superpower: Women in Technology.
  • Katherine Aucott of Hinz Consulting helped us understand the mysteries of burnout and the connection to your personal mental health in her session. She says it’s important to be open about your mental health challenges to your supervisor. Honesty about your feelings helps management understand and helps them create space to address the problem.  Katherine delivered excellent advice in this session and it coincides with a big announcement coming from APMP in the coming weeks. Katherine’s session is called Managing Mental Health within a High-Stress Environment.
  • Adele Cehrs gave a beginner’s guide on how to ask for a raise or a promotion in her session. The process of asking for a raise or a promotion is all about timing. Adele said one of the most important things is to “own your own scenario.” You should set the tone and the narrative about who you are and what you bring to the table. Don’t let others fill in the gap to determine how you will be treated. Instead, create your own narrative. It is the foundation to a promotion or a raise! Adele’s session is called How to Ask (and Secure) a Raise, Promotion or More Flexibility
  • Peggy DuFour’s CPP.APMP WVS session on her 2018 APMP Ethics survey is jaw-dropping. Her research on the perceptions of the bid and proposal professions between genders is fascinating. It’s called “Male-Female Experience Differences in the Proposal Workspace” and it is jam-packed with stats to confirm the experience among genders is very different.
  • Jennifer Krause, Jennifer Zuniga, Margaret Fox, Jennifer Hill, CF APMP, Fabia Scali-Warner, and L Francavilla explored the transition to leadership in their session. They said it’s important to have a good work-life balance to set the tone for your team. This can be challenging when you are constantly being invited to meetings. This panel also spoke about the power of data because numbers help us arrive at a decision. Feelings are good but data (facts) are better. Data gets you better engagement. The panel also explained that leadership is not just about people. Leadership is demonstrated in many ways like process, mentoring, and execution. It’s also important to get out of your comfort zone for growth. This session is called The Leadership Journey: Moving from Individual Contributor to Leader:
  • Dr. Dolores Kuchina-Musina’s session was called Communicating with Confidence: A Gude to Sucess as a Young Professional. She mentioned the importance of being yourself and owning your confidence. This becomes easier when you build alliances in your company, particularly when you’re younger. It’s important to remember that who you are as a person translates to a personal brand. Define your value proposition — what makes you different? Knowing this will fast-track you to leadership. Dolores also mentioned the importance of having a growth strategy, making goals for yourself, and prioritizing your personal care. It’s also beneficial to help others along the way because you are learning when you are helping. Finally, don’t let criticism derail your personal brand. Hear it, consider it, and move forward. This is a great session for all of those new to the industry.
  • Margot Lawson’s session was called “How to Say It For Women.” She said as you are work higher up on the career ladder, you should achieve the right balance between high performance and empathy. The office construct was created by men many years ago because that is who was in the office but that is it changing. When it comes to praise, accept the compliment before recognizing others on your team. Own your success and recognize it. Margot also mentioned that we should become better self-promoters and monitor our “self-talk.” Highlight your positive self-talk and pay attention to replacing the negative self-talk, which may be fueled by Imposter Syndrome. Show your co-workers that you can do anything by using phrases like, “Please explain it to me and I will figure it out.” Believe in your ability to learn. You only get a seat at the table through power — so communicate power and strength. Think about how you come to the table, your tone, your posture, and how you will communicate for power. Women tend to minimize themselves and shrink themselves. Margot says to open up and display confidence.
  • Samantha Enslen, CP APMP Fellow, Rachel Thompson, CF APMP, and Lisa Green, MPA, CF APMP dove deep into hairstyle, dress, and make-up pressures on women in their session. They challenged us with questions like, “What does our look say about us?” Rachel said her challenge is her youthful look which can be interpreted as naïveté. She makes up for that by wearing glasses and having her hair down. Lisa talked about her struggles with her hair and how to dress while Sam talked about conforming to the business world with her makeup. They mentioned that most men don’t have to worry about how “they look” but women certainly do. The key, according to Sam, Rachel, and Lisa is balance. Be true to yourself while creating a good business impression because so much of business is about how you present yourself. It’s a thought-provoking session and according to Ms. Green, remote work still requires women’s appearance to be on point.
  • Ros Angus’ session was called “Yes YOU Are Worth IT: Asking for and Negotiating a Raise.” One of the key issues to be aware of is timing. Don’t wait until the end of the budget cycle — do so before! Give your boss time to make the change. You can use APMP’s Salary Survey and other resources to see what you are worth. This lets you know your market value. Ros also mentioned that you shouldn’t take the first offer presented. Ask your employer if they “can do any better?” and the employer will likely do that. Don’t share what you are making, just give them your desired salary when you get a new position. It’s essential to understand and know your value to the organization. Keep constant track of your personal accomplishments and try to understand how your boss defines value to inform your ask. Ros showed it’s all about getting organized and making sure your timing is right.


Thank you to all of the attendees, speakers, and sponsors for making this event so special! We’ll see you next year!

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