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Session Description

Developing High-Performing Proposal Professionals from Diverse Educational Backgrounds

What makes a strong proposal professional? As bid development continues to gain credibility as a profession, how we mentor and guide entry-level individuals will determine their career development and the future of our field. Proposal leaders also need to know the most effective ways to capitalize on their employees' strengths. This panel brings together three people with both director-level experience and diverse academic degrees (humanities, STEM, and marketing) to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their educational backgrounds in becoming a high-performing proposal professional. After introductory statements about the strengths and challenges of their academic backgrounds in proposal development, the panel will engage with the audience to discuss the best strategies to employ in order to motivate, support, and guide personnel from each degree path. The panel will then welcome questions and topics from the floor.

Presenter Bios

Kevin Switaj, CF APMP
Director of Proposal Development
Buchanan & Edwards, Inc.

Kevin A. Switaj, PhD CF APMP, is the Director of Proposal Development for Buchanan & Edwards, a mid-sized Government contractor based in Arlington, VA. His article on this topic, "From Historian to Proposal Professional,"appeared in the Winter 2015 APMP-NCA Executive Summary and won the 2015 Best eZine Article award from the organization. A proposal professional for nearly a decade and member of the APMP National Capital Area board of directors, he has degrees in history from Rutgers College (BA), Villanova University (MA), and Indiana University (PhD).

Leslie Harris
Meridian SB Proposal Solutions

Leslie Harris is founder, Principal Consultant, and CEO for Meridian SB Proposal Solutions, which helps small-businesses create results-driven, winning proposal solutions. She has served as Senior Director of Proposal Development for Strategic Resources, Inc. and as Director of Proposals for GDIT. She has a BS in Marketing from Ithaca College, and a Post Graduate Degree in Statistics from the University of London. Ms. Harris is also the winner of the Women of Color in Technology All-Star Award.

Jeff Leitner
Senior Consultant
Red Team Consulting

Jeff Leitner lost a bet early in his career and, as a result, has been working in proposals, capture, and business development for more than 25 years. He is currently a senior consultant with Red Team Consulting, where he provides a broad range of consulting support across the BD/capture/proposal lifecycle. Previously he spent considerable time leading proposal and business development departments for a range of public sector companies. He has a BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

Rachel Timmerman, CF APMP
Director of Strategic Capture

Rachel Timmerman, CF APMP, is Director of Strategic Capture at ManTech and APMP-NCA Professional Development Chair. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington University, a Masters Certificate in Organizational Leadership, and is a Shipley Certified Capture Manager. She worked in business development in the commercial space before transitioning to federal BD. She has served as a BD Representative, Capture Manager, and Proposal Manager at a wide range of companies.

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