On Mentors and Thankfulness

You may have seen some posts recently about the ScribbleChallenge, an exciting scholarship initiative for APMP certification and membership. This amazing program was spearheaded by Baskar Sundaram to give back and honor his mentors, and I have really been inspired by Baskar and his message of gratefulness.

In light of this inspiration, especially as we head into the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, I wanted to recognize my mentors and take some time to express my thankfulness for these individuals. My mentors have served as critical resources for personal growth, career guidance, and specific proposal-related advice. I have been so fortunate throughout my proposal career to find amazing mentors who have encouraged me to leverage my strengths, work on my weaknesses, and continually grow and improve as a proposal professional.

I am thankful for Nancy Gordon-Brooks and Greg Wilson, who really helped to shape my early career development. They both helped me to recognize my strengths and pushed me to grow as a professional through exciting challenges and stretch assignments.

I am thankful for Jim McGuirk, who introduced me to APMP and critical business development best practices. Jim helped me to recognize my value as a proposal professional, introduced me to my long-time mentor Eric Gregory, and really helped me to springboard my career.

I am thankful for Eric Gregory, who further instilled in me critical business development best practices, provided me with tactical strategies to overcome common proposal challenges, and who has continued to help me grow as a proposal professional, even as he moves into retirement.

I am thankful for Dave Dickerson, who provided me with leadership opportunities and helped me to apply my strengths in process development, compliance, and quality control.

I am thankful for Betsy Blakney, who helped me to develop the necessary soft skills to support successful collaboration, which has greatly improved my effectiveness as a writer, manager, and consultant.

I am thankful for Kristin Dufrene, who has provided me with so many opportunities to advance my career and grow as a professional.

In addition to these amazing mentors and leaders, I am thankful for my colleagues at AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI) for helping me to find a niche in the industry and for providing me with the freedom to revamp our process guide. I am grateful for their support in my initiatives to share best practices and strategies through blogs, presentations, and other activities.

I am also thankful for my friends and family who have supported me throughout my career. I am thankful for their patience with my long hours and crazy deadlines. And I am thankful for them always being there when I need them the most.

Final Thoughts
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, I hope you will take the time to be thankful for those who have supported you and continue to support you in life and in your career. Our support systems are our rocks. They enable us to achieve more than we could have ever imagined without their support. My list is not comprehensive by any means—but I am truly grateful for this group of people that I have been lucky enough to have in my life. Cheers!

Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)


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