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This was my third BPC: Orlando (2019); Denver (2021); and Dallas (2022). I pandemic-studied with some colleagues through bi-weekly study calls and took my Foundation certification in Colorado. I have been writing proposals for more than 10 years: first in Defense; now in Health and Human Services.
And yet, at every APMP session, I learn something. How to tightly knit text around a graphic, to make a page count. How to brainstorm graphics at all. How to use templates along with content management software to quickly generate data calls or task order responses. How an executive summary is imperative, even when it is not evaluated.
My own experience reflected what I perceive as one of the BPC themes this year: proposal professionals must continuously engage in professional development. Staying current and staying sharp is essential for even the most seasoned professionals.
This is true for ourselves, through:
- Continuing education with certifications, BPC sessions, and webinars throughout the year,
- Regional chapter participation, and
- A relentless commitment to professional integrity and reputation building. We must do what we say we will do, and learn from what we have done, every time.
And, this is also true for our interactions with other professionals, through:
- Reinforcing and refining best practices: Using, refining, and practicing a set of industry-recognized best practices is essential in proposal development. It makes responding to RFPs efficient, stabilizes our relationship with partners and sub-contractors, and helps ensure accurate and responsive proposals.
- Engaging with offerings of emerging technology: Every year at BPC the offerings in the vendor hall surprise me. Visible Thread, RFPIO, Xait, Loopio – companies striving to offer meaningful automation, content management, and artificial intelligence. It’s inspiring to not only see the technical solutions to our common problems, but the creative application of those solutions. Every year I see an individual’s approach to a problem that makes me think of things in a new way.
- Mentoring, mentoring, mentoring: Seeding the industry with an understanding and respect for the art of proposal development. Proposal professionals with years of experience continue to foster a culture of mentorship by presenting, sitting on panels, and picking up the mantle of leadership in regional organizations.
After three years of BPC, now I am starting to know some other regulars. It’s rewarding to see people committed to the professional development of themselves and each other on an annual basis. Several of these relationships spill over into conversations throughout the year with APMP chapters. My own chapter Liberty hosts Friday morning virtual coffee breaks. I also discovered at APMP BPC in Dallas that the Greater Midwest Chapter hosts a Podcast called Shortlisted that I intend to work into my routine. You can listen here: Shortlisted – APMP Greater Midwest Chapter (apmpgmc.org). Or, here is a link to the video version on YouTube. Shortlisted | Episode 1 – YouTube
And, finally, the last point from BPC 2022 is the organizational focus on recruiting and retaining. Everyone has heard that it’s a tough market for recruiting and retaining top talent. Lots of companies can offer great compensation to great candidates. The companies that hire and keep those great candidates, however, will be the ones that also offer ongoing professional development.
Hope to see you all there next year.
About the Author
Julia DeSantis, CF APMP, Proposal Writer, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC