Reflections on APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2016
APMP-NCA scholarship award winner Carmen Singleton reflects on her experience.
I was awarded a scholarship to attend the APMP Bid & Proposal Con Boston 2016. The scholarship was awarded to several professionals just starting their proposal career. We spent three days in Boston networking and honing our craft.
Wednesday was APMP Certification Day & Preconference. I kicked off the conference with the First Time Attendees Workshop. This was a chance to mingle with other professionals and learn more about the conference. We played networking games and a few were awarded prizes for completing the meet and greet worksheet. I didn’t have a worksheet, but was still able to meet people throughout the game.
After the workshop, everyone attended the Welcome Reception. I met up with my mentor and another woman from my company. As a member of the Mentor and Protégé program, one of my goals is to meet other professionals in the industry, particularly at this conference. My mentor took me around and introduced me to people she has worked with along the way. It was really beneficial to hear other people’s stories and how they ended up in this profession. Sometimes as a proposal professional, you feel isolated, because a lot people don’t understand what you do. So it was nice to be among my people.
The next day at the opening ceremony, guest speaker Tim Gard used humor to discuss how to deal with the everyday stressors at work and in life. One technique he mentioned was when a situation doesn’t agree with you say, “Bummer,” and then let it go. On flip side, if a situation was in your favor, you say, “Woohoo!” I ended using this technique later on at the airport, when the airline put my bag on the wrong flight. I feel like this technique really allows you to put life into prospective, no matter what is thrown your way.
At work, I will eventually lead to proposal process for one of the business units at my firm. At the conference, I decided to focus on workshops dealing with proposal management and organization. One speaker suggested using access for proposal tracking. I don’t care for Excel, so access is definitely a tool I want to look into. I also learned how to work with subject matter experts on writing technical content. Many attendees suggested writing the content first, and then allowing the subject matter experts tweak and sign off. I think this will be a good way to learn more about the services, while seeking a happy medium throughout the proposal development process.
One of my favorite parts about the event, was all the people I met throughout the conference. I was able to find a group of other DC professionals, and explored the city together. One guy grew up in Boston and showed us around the city. As someone who is new to the area, I believe it is really important for me to meet as many people as possible. And I definitely want to keep in touch with these people now that we’re back home.
Overall, the conference was a great opportunity, and I am glad I was able to attend. I am forever thankful for this chance, and hope to attend the conference next year in New Orleans.