How long have you been a proposal manager/specialist/ writer?
I’ve been in the proposal writing field for eight years. My role today is Sr. Manager, Global Sales Cycle Support for BCD Travel, responsible for a team of bid managers and specialists.
How did you become involved with proposals?
I’ve had a diverse career in the travel industry, working with Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways (in Doha) and now BCD Travel. I joined BCD as a global account manager and was positioned in Orlando. I wanted to relocate to Atlanta and stumbled across a proposal writing position that was internally posted by the company. I don’t have a writing background per se. My previous career experiences in the industry are primarily in sales, alliance development and account management. I felt my competencies were a good fit and have stuck with it a long time now.
Do you work in a "corporate office" or "home office" environment?
My writing team and I are 100% virtual today. The team consists of six writers and me – two writers are in the Atlanta area and four others are in different states around the U.S. The two Atlanta writers and I were categorized as a brick-and-mortar, corporate office employees until late 2015. We typically went into the office a couple of days a week and worked from home the other days. The other writers, of course, were 100% home-office. All of us work from home now.
What do you like best about working in your current environment?
I’m much more productive without having to navigate around Atlanta traffic and office distractions. My home office is legit with a big desk and all the accessories; it complements what I need to focus on my work. I enjoyed the office environment; however, it was a cubicle workspace. It was difficult for me to tune-out the open-space chatter when trying to write or concentrate on proofing proposal copy.
What do you like least about working in your current environment?
At times, I get restless being under the same roof night and day. Therefore, I try to take advantage of my “virtual” status…by working virtually in other places when there are opportunities. My wife works for Delta Air Lines and travels regularly. I’ve successfully worked out hotel business centers and hotel rooms while tagging along some of her trips. For example, just over the past couple of years alone, I’ve performed my job responsibilities while traveling to: Clearwater Beach, New Orleans, Boston, Washington D.C., London and even Mexico and South Africa. I’ll work during the day and explore on nights and weekends.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I’m most challenged when writing retention proposals for current clients and the account management team does not have a great “story” to tell from the client’s perspective.
What shortcuts or helpful best practices about working with proposal teams could you share?
We live in a digital age and emails seem to rule. However, if you want to fully understand context, do yourself a favor by picking up the phone and having a conversation. Reading between the lines many times leads to rewrites.
Why/when did you join APMP?
I joined APMP to pursue certification and ensure my team’s processes and proposals are competitive and relevant.
What is your method for successfully working with your proposal teams?
I am most successful when setting realistic project plans that define stakeholders’ roles in the project. I get a clear understanding of their contribution with the proposal and account for everyone’s availability over the set timeline. Then, I meet my commitments and hold other’s accountable for theirs.
Which type of proposals do you do most? Commercial, government or other?
I work primarily with commercial proposals – new business, client retention (including business expansion opportunities) and bid avoidance. Although I manage my team and make the assignments, I’m also a “player-coach” who writes proposals, too.