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How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions […]

Category: Tag: RFPIO

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

It started way back in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was officially signed into law in 1988.

This year, the RFPIO team celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in our own way, through cocktail making, pot painting, and a bit of trivia.

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Hispanic Heritage Month Event was special for two reasons. First, because we were able to celebrate Hispanic culture. Second, it was our first company event since RFPIO acquired RFP360! It was great bringing the two teams together under one virtual roof and getting to know each other a bit better.

We gave everyone the option to do two different activities: Cocktail Making and Terracotta Pot Painting

Cocktail Making ?

For this one, we invited the great Robert Damian Scout to help us become cocktail-making pros. He showed us how to craft a couple of amazing classic cocktails made famous by a man named Don Javier Delgado Corona. He’s an absolute legend in the Hispanic community AND the bartender community worldwide. If you’re looking for a good story, look him up. You won’t be disappointed.

In the class, Robert showed us out to make two classic cocktails: La Paloma and Batanga.

Here are the recipes:

La Paloma
2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
¼ oz r squirt of agave nectar (simple syrup works too)
Club soda
Pinch of salt
Tajin or chili salt (optional)
If you’re not a fan of tequila, a grapefruit shandy or beer also works great!

2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
4-5oz of Coke (preferably Mexican Coke)
One whole lime

Shaker tin of any sort (anything with a removable and tight lid will work)
Cocktail Strainer (you can also use your hands)
One sharp knife, big enough to stir into your glass
Preferably a “collins” glass, but any pint-like glass will work

Terracotta Pot Painting ?

For this activity, we sent anyone a kit with a few mini terracotta pots and some paint pens.

We kicked off the event by exploring the virtual art exhibit hosted by the Smithsonian museum, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.

At this exhibit, we learned about how the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s galvanized Latino artists across the United States, who began creating new images of their communities and examined bicultural experiences. Until recently, this art was not considered part of “American” art—the exhibit at the Smithsonian attempts to change this.

We’d encourage you to explore the exhibit on your own here. It will run until March 2022.

After we learned a bit about the history of Latino art in the United States, we learned more about the significance of pottery in Latin America, but Mexico specifically, and how native indigenous pottery was influenced by Spanish techniques. And then… we took that inspiration and painted our very own masterpieces!

Each participant received two terracotta pots and 4 paint pens… and then we got to work. Here’s a sampling of our collective genius:

Hispanic Heritage Trivia ?

We finished off our event with some trivia!

Here are some of the questions we asked. See if you could get them right! (Scroll to the bottom of the blog for answers).

Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on September 15th?

  1. September signifies the start of Fall in many Latin American countries
  2. It’s Pancho Villa’s birthday
  3. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence

When was the first time Hispanic Heritage Week (now Hispanic heritage Month) was celebrated in the US?

  1. 1988
  2. 1968
  3. 1990
  4. 1978

How large was the self-described U.S. Hispanic population as of 2019?

  1. 132 million
  2. 50.5 million
  3. 27.8 million
  4. 60.6 million

How many states had a population of more than 1 million Hispanic residents as of 2019?

  1. 8
  2. 10
  3. 12
  4. 14

According to a 2018 census estimate, the U.S. Hispanic population will reach this size by 2060.

  1. 81.2 million
  2. 91.8 million
  3. 111.2 million
  4. 124 million

What’s the largest city in Latin America by population?

  1. São Paulo
  2. Mexico City
  3. Lima
  4. Bogotá

What’s the highest waterfall in South America?

  1. Iguazu Falls
  2. Tugela Falls
  3. Gocta Waterfall
  4. Angel Falls

Which South American country do the Easter Islands in the Pacific Ocean belong to?

  1. Uruguay
  2. Paraguay
  3. Argentina
  4. Chile

All for a good cause

While drinking and painting are good fun, there was a greater purpose behind our shenanigans.

All participants were encouraged to donate money to Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. We set out with a stretch goal to raise $1,000—and we surpassed that number!

As of October 8, we have $1,175 raised. The fundraiser will be open until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15. If you haven’t donated yet, but would like to, please visit our GoFundMe page.

If this sounds like fun… we’re hiring

At RFPIO, we like to have fun. If you also like to have fun, you’ll fit right in.

We’re hiring in pretty much every department. Check out our most current job listings here. If something catches your eye, please apply! We can’t wait to meet you.

Answers to trivia questions:
C. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence
B. 1968
D. 60.6 million
C. 12
C. 111.2
A. São Paulo
D. Angel Falls
D. Chile

To learn more…

Here are some resources you can check out.



A Latinx culture podcast about Mexican and Mexican-American history, folklore, traditions, and art. 

Anything for Selena

Marcia Garcia was 9 years old when Selena was murdered. 25 years later, she’s on a quest to understand what it means to love, mourn, and remember Selena. 

Code Switch

A podcast that tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor, exploring how race affects every part of society. 


Book: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey, by Ernesto Che Guevara

Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Article: Dia de los Muertos


Documentary: Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground

Documentary: Underwater Dreams

TV Show: Gentefied

Documentary: Discovering Colombia

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

The RFPIO team is proud to call Oregon our headquarters’ home state. There are many positives to living in a state with such natural beauty and delicious coffee. But Oregon, like many states, has its problems―particularly when it comes to economic inequality.

According to an article in Portland Monthly from earlier this year, Oregon ranks 13th in the U.S. for food insecurity. Sixteen percent of households in the state―around 103,000―are affected by this issue. A report about hunger from 2015 from the Oregon Food Bank says that people are still affected by the Great Recession of 2008. High costs of living and stagnant wages have made it difficult for many people to get ahead.

Team Event RFPIO OFB
Food pantries like the Oregon Food Bank are helping to bridge the gap for those suffering from food insecurity. Their mission is “to eliminate hunger and its root causes…because no one should be hungry.”

We’ve worked with the Oregon Food Bank before through our ROI of Compassion campaign, and believe in their mission, so as part of our quarterly philanthropic initiatives and the season of giving, the RFPIO team spent an evening volunteering at the OFB this December.

OFB_James and Tyler
You never know exactly what you’ll be doing when you show up for a volunteer shift at the Oregon Food Bank. Our project was to fill up as many 2-pound bags of oats as we could in 2 hours. By the end of the shift, we’d bagged 11,026 pounds, equaling 9,188 meals or 139 meals per volunteer.

The OFB collects food from “farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources,” and distributes the donated food through a network on 21 regional food banks and around 1,200 food assistance sites that serve the state of Oregon and Clark County in Washington state.

OFB Network
In solidarity with this organization and our fellow Oregonians, the RFPIO team asks those in the area to join us in supporting the Oregon Food Bank with a donation, volunteer support, or political advocacy. You can find more information at their website:

Communicating business value and aligning teams at APMP

Communicating business value and aligning teams at APMP

Last week we traveled south to San Diego for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals’ (APMP) annual Bid & Proposal Conference. “The world’s largest conference for proposal, bid, tender, capture, business development and graphics professionals,” according to their website.

These are the people that we work with every day. It was our second year at the event, and since last year, our presence and impact within the proposal management industry has grown.

We were thankful for the opportunity to share thought leadership on two panel sessions with other industry experts: “Communicating Tangible Business Value Propositions,” and “How to Wrangle Your Subject Matter Experts.”

David Blume_RFPIO_APMP

Communicating tangible business value propositions

A poacher turned gamekeeper
As an accomplished sales professional, David Blume, RFPIO’s Senior Sales Director, knows what it’s like to just want to get the RFP out the door and focus on “real” sales opportunities. To demonstrate his evolution in this area, he gave a hunter’s analogy. In the past, he was a poacher—focusing on the highest quality sales and using laser focus to attack.

Now, David considers himself a gamekeeper, managing the whole perimeter of the RFP process and all the wild elements that come along with it.

Aligning teams internally
It’s not that sales and proposal teams are at odds. They are both in pursuit of new revenue.

David said the difference is in their horizons—RFP teams want to build a repeatable process and improve capabilities over the long-haul to support future business. Sales executives are focused on the next one or two quarters, so their time and attention are likely centered elsewhere.

And oftentimes, sales cycles can be long and complex—a proposal is just one element to that process. However, its impact is generally underestimated. An RFP gives you the chance to articulate:

  • Your understanding of your prospect’s needs.
  • How you can help them solve that problem.
  • The tangible value you will deliver.
  • Why they should choose you over your competition.

This calls on both sales and proposal teams to align. Your company’s value should be communicated throughout the sales process, and the RFP should be the icing on the cake. Align your resources internally first, and RFP wins can be truly shared across departments.

A message for the marketers out there: When developing case studies, try to include quantified evidence to support your company’s value proposition. You’ll appeal to sales teams especially if you can include a dollar value.

Are all RFPs worth it?
As you’re evaluating an RFP, make sure you know precisely what corporate initiative the investment supports, what you expect the return on investment to be, and why you’re pursuing it at this moment.

An exercise: Find out the the monetary value, win or lose, of the all of the business influenced by a proposal (RFP response or sales generated) in the last year. What would an extra deal a month mean for your organization’s bottom line?

Once you’ve decided an RFP is a viable opportunity and your sales and proposal teams are working together to deliver your value proposition, make sure your message is:

  • Quantified (use real numbers wherever you can)
  • Evidence-based (show, instead of tell)
  • Differentiated (describe how you stand out from the competition)

“An RFP is not a quote, or a bill of materials. It’s a critical selling document designed to move the deal forward,” David said. “It has the potential to persuade (or at least reinforce the solid work done by sales and others), and to quantify business impact and value.”

How to wrangle your subject matter experts

Like herding cats
Ganesh Shankar, RFPIO’s CEO, knows it’s not easy to manage subject matter experts. After all, he used to be one. From his perspective, the elusive SME is focused on their primary roles, and may not have the time or interest to offer input into the sales process.

Proposal managers, we know how hard this makes your job. You’re stuck between sales and product teams and marketing, trying to manage an important revenue-generating process. It takes a village to respond to RFPs and requires a special kind of tenacity to solicit input from people across your organization, over and over again.

20 Stats That Will Make You a Better Proposal Manager

But when it comes to the people in your company who understand the technicalities of your product or service—the SMEs— there are implications of non-responsiveness. These are “ready made opportunities,” and avoiding them will have consequences.

So how do you get them to pay attention to you and answer the questions you need, in order to support an opportunity for the whole company?

Ganesh Shankar_RFPIO_APMP
Communication and ownership
Try implementing a system of communication in your organization where the subject matter experts are looped in from beginning to end of the process, avoiding surprises and allowing them to take ownership. This way, they can see and feel the impact of the proposals they’ve responded to, whether they are positive or negative.

Let them use their own tools
When it comes to content management, organizations should understand which tools their busy SMEs are working in from day to day. Consider utilizing integrations so they can collaborate without having to learn a new tool. If you’re using RFP software like RFPIO, you can integrate technologies like CRM and collaboration and cloud-storage tools.

Define a Service Level Agreement
Only approach an SME with a proposal if it’s been qualified to the company’s agree-upon standards. Once you’ve determined it’s a worthwhile opportunity, give as many details as you possibly can. Let them know exactly what the document is, what they are being asked to include, and approximately how long it should take, so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure to give them some lead time, too. Don’t ask for input at the last minute.

The responsibility here doesn’t fall entirely on the proposal manager, though. If the proposal team has kept up their end of the agreement, the SME should be responsive and clear about their timelines and contributions to the RFP process.

9 Challenges Every SME Shall Overcome with RFP Software

From Ganesh’s point of view, these are the three best ways to try and manage difficulty getting responses from subject matter experts, and relieve you from your frustrations in the RFP process. Forget wrangling, and start working harmoniously.

APMP reveals the state of the proposal management industry

APMP reveals the state of the proposal management industry

What is the state of the proposal management industry? Recently we were fortunate to sit down with APMP’s VP of Business Development and Operations, Christina Lewellen, who shared her take on the industIt’s an impressive event. Over the last decade we’ve seen an evolution and maturing of the profession—not only with the caliber of the presenters who share best practices, but also with the professionals. The professionals in the proposal management space are really carving this out as their career.ry as a whole.

In this podcast interview, Christina shares the latest trends in the proposal management industry, along with plenty of insights and resources to help our fellow responders in the field. Sit back and enjoy!

Listen to the podcast…


Read the interview…

/about/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>RFPIO team is well connected with the APMP community already since we’re members. Can you share a bit about APMP with the rest of our audience in case they’re not familiar?

APMP is a global association. A lot of people may not realize for the first twenty or so years of our existence, we were primarily a volunteer run organization. About six years ago, the association started experiencing significant growth and the leaders decided to bring in a professional staff to help APMP go to the next level.

Today we have more than 25 chapters all over the world and nearly 8,000 members. We focus primarily on serving as a professional association by providing resources. We serve proposal and bid managers, but also business development and capture professionals, graphics folks, and really anybody who touches the proposal at any stage of its development.

Take charge of your RFP response process. Check out this proposal manager success guide.

We attended our first Bid & Proposal Con in New Orleans a few months ago. It was great to meet so many proposal professionals at our booth. There were about a thousand people from all over the world—and in fact, APMP had a record-breaking year. What does this increase in attendance mean for our industry?

It’s an impressive event. Over the last decade we’ve seen an evolution and maturing of the profession—not only with the caliber of the presenters who share best practices, but also with the professionals. The professionals in the proposal management space are really carving this out as their career.

APMP bid & proposal con
The event continues to grow year over year, and certainly we saw that momentum peaking this spring in New Orleans. Business owners and management see the value in sending their team to Bid & Proposal Con because of what they come home with—and what they can apply the minute they step back in the door.

The conference has a really awesome energy, and I would highly recommend it to anybody who hasn’t checked it out yet.

It’s clear that the proposal management industry is evolving. How has it improved over the past few years?

The important element in all of this is that we’re figuring out how to share and communicate. Every proposal team is a bit different, but I see the best practices are really starting to take shape. As professionals find good ways of accomplishing something, they share those insights with other peers in the same space.

size of proposal teams
Source: APMP U.S. Compensation Report 2017

Often times proposal managers are either one person alone or a small team in a great big company. They sort of feel isolated, like they’re on their own island. When they come to APMP events, or chapter events, or connect on LinkedIn, they find their tribe.

We are also shaping certification programs at APMP to demonstrate that proposal management is, in fact, a profession. It’s a profession that is essential to putting cars in the parking lot and keeping the lights on at these companies.

It’s a really exciting time and it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves over the coming years.

In your opinion, what kind of trends are you seeing in our industry?

More proposal teams are leveraging software and technology.

We all being asked to do more with less, and so our proposal teams are becoming experts at efficiency. And if they’re not yet, they’re working toward that. I’m seeing this move toward better ways of doing things and trying to have better control over their most valuable assets—their knowledge and content.

There are also different modes of communication that our teams are getting better at, in terms of communicating with the client. Clients are saying: “Tell me how you can solve my problem, but I don’t want to read a 150-page document. I want a really great executive summary, video, and graphics.”

good executive summary
Trends that continue to evolve lie in the space of how you communicate your message beyond just the written word. The written word is important, but how we communicate is really important for teams.

Proposal managers continue to work toward integrating more with other aspects of the sales pipeline. So, working on relationships and not being in silos are trends we’ve seen in recent years.

In the industry we’re seeing that more folks are making this a career. Nobody went to school and dreamed of being a proposal manager when they grew up. But for one reason or another, they stumble in and find this to be an incredibly rewarding profession.

I think we’ll continue to see this trend because of the flexibility and autonomy, and really just the fact that proposal managers and writers make a big difference. They fuel companies and divisions, and that’s something that speaks to the incoming generation who want to know that what they do for a living matters.

APMP has a wealth of data about the people who power the proposal management industry. Can you share some of those insights with us?

I’ll tell you a little bit about our brand new hot off the press 2017 U.S. Compensation Report. As an association, we have this opportunity to take anonymous data in aggregate, put it together, and share it with proposal professionals for benchmarking.

You can look at your own salary and benefits, and stack it up against everybody else in the profession. And this can be really useful when having conversations with your managers or your boss—when you’re trying to build a proposal team or add to a proposal team. You need to know what a competitive salary and benefit package looks like.

In the U.S. women make up 70% of bid managers and men make up 30%. If you look at the base salary for men versus women, men are out-earning us, ladies, by quite a bit. This is societal in every profession, but the reality is right in front of us in our own profession.

A woman who identifies herself as a bid manager is making a median salary of $95,000 a year. But her male counterpart is making $130,000. That is something we need to be talking about—and this is the kind of information that lives in this data.

So, we have some challenges to overcome here. The first step is sharing the data in this benchmarks study to get us talking about it.

bid manager gender
Source: APMP U.S. Compensation Report 2017

I’ll also point out the median salary if you’re working in the federal sector, versus working in the commercial sector. Proposal managers in the commercial sector are making a little less than $82,000 a year as the median salary. And those who are serving the federal government are making about $100,000 a year.

It’s good information to know as you map out your career. That way you know what you should be making, and also—if you have aspirations to enter different verticals or sectors—you can see what those salaries look like.

The U.S. Compensation Report is free to all APMP members. If you’re not a member, you can purchase the report.

Can you talk about the most common challenges proposal professionals are facing? And, how they can overcome them?

I’m not a proposal manager myself, but I can tell you what we hear as a team here at APMP. One of the biggest challenges is getting the support and recognition from the higher ups.

“I think that proposal management folks are the unsung heroes in many, many companies and divisions.” 

It’s tough to demonstrate your value if your contributions are overlooked or minimized in any way. If you’re experiencing that, we encourage you to network and connect with your peers. Talk through it with folks who have been around a bit longer, who can give you some guidance on how to make sure you’re getting the recognition you deserve.

Burnout is the reality of the profession too. Again, I think proposal managers need to continue to look for ways to work smarter, because it’s a tough, tough job.

One of the things we love about APMP is the focus on educational resources for proposal management teams. We know exactly how difficult it is to find quality resources. Can you let our audience know about some of the resources APMP offers to support their efforts?

That’s why we exist—why APMP is here.

Some folks are sometimes confused about the nature of a non-profit. We are entitled to make a profit, we just don’t pay taxes on it based on our standing with the government. What that allows us to do is funnel all of that money back into the profession.

Which is why we love doing what we do. We invest heavily in resources with membership dollars, and proceeds from events and programs.

For example, we offer a free monthly webinar for all APMP members. We’ll jump around and hit topics that our members want to have addressed. You can attend these webinars live, or watch them on-demand. There’s a whole library of on-demand webinars that our members go to when they’re looking to solve a problem, or learn more about a certain topic.

APMP has many in-person events for all the reasons we talked about earlier. The reality is that our folks living on islands by themselves need to connect with other proposal professionals who do what they do. We host live events at the international level and chapter levels to make sure that proposal professionals are networking and helping each other solve problems.

We also have a certification program, which we feel is really important because it very much captures the best practices in proposal management and the whole lifecycle of a proposal. If we’re all operating from that same set of standards, then we can drive our profession forward like we never have in the past.

Ultimately what’s most important to know about our content is that it’s all peer developed. The staff may help shepherd the content development, but it’s content that’s coming from folks that are in the industry—practitioners, vendors, consultants, and committees. If you’re reading the the APMP journal, watching a webinar, or going to Bid & Proposal Con, all of that content is coming from a grassroots kind of approach.

Whatever the needs are in the profession, that is the content we focus on developing. And, it’s been very successful. Much of this content is free with membership. We try our best to make sure that as many members as possible have access to the content that can help them win more business.

Lastly, for all of the proposal teams facing efficiency challenges, what is the most valuable piece of advice you can offer?

You know, that’s a big question. It’s important to first recognize that each team is unique and there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution. There are foundational commonalities, but each proposal team’s need and makeup create different cultures.

What’s important is that when you come to APMP, you’ll connect with other people who are doing what you do—and other vendors who are providing solutions for exactly what your problems are. You can come together and solve it as a team.

There’s a little bit of crowdsourcing that can happen among APMP members, among the vendors—like you guys at RFPIO—who are supporting APMP members. Other great resources are consultants and experts nearing retirement, who have been doing this for decades.

There is probably no one valuable piece of advice that I can offer other than to say that there is a resource. There’s a community of people who are willing to help. And I think that that’s where you start.

Listen to APMP’s insights on the go…


christina lewellen apmp

Christina Lewellen

VP Business Development and Operations at APMP
Follow @APMPConnect

Christina Lewellen, MBA, CF APMP, is an association executive with an extensive background in managing professional and trade associations. She is the Vice President of Business Development and Operations for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), where she has overseen significant growth in the association’s events, programs, and corporate and individual membership numbers. She holds APMP’s Foundation level certification, the Certified Association Executive designation from ASAE, and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is based in the Washington, D.C., area.

The RFPIO team gives back over 600 meals to Oregon Food Bank

The RFPIO team gives back over 600 meals to Oregon Food Bank

The ROI of compassion has been in full swing since January and we are excited to share our progress. ROI is a big driver in the business world, so we put a spin on that concept by creating a campaign that focused on an investment in our community. The RFPIO team committed to this campaign as part of our Pledge 1% participation in promoting a culture of giving.

As a growing local company, we are grateful for the support we have received from the tech community since we first launched the RFPIO platform last year. This is our way of paying it forward by pledging our 1% community involvement to the Oregon Food Bank.

food donation bin
Oregon Food Bank takes a holistic approach to ending hunger by bringing our community together to provide food, education and hope to our neighbors in need.

Last year, the Oregon Food Bank Network distributed more than 1 million emergency food boxes to people facing hunger throughout Oregon and Clark County, Washington. On a monthly basis, Oregon Food Bank helps 1 in 5 households struggling with hunger.

We kicked off the ROI of Compassion in January, because it is one of the most challenging times for food banks. Giving skyrockets during the holidays and drops off at the beginning of the year. Giving food to families in need is a worthy effort any time, so we extended our campaign to run through the end of Q1.

food drive
During that time the RFPIO team has raised nearly $200 online for the Oregon Food Bank. With the help of our partners at Regus and our fellow office neighbors, we also filled a food bin with in-kind donations.

Since a $10 donation provides 30 meals, we are excited to announce that the combined effort so far has brought over 600 meals to families in our community.

But, as you can see…our work isn’t over yet!

The campaign runs until March 31 and we have a big goal to reach. We hope you’ll join our culture of giving, so we can make a bigger impact on Oregon Food Bank.

pledge one goalHere Are 3 Ways You Can Join the ROI of Compassion



Donate food to our office bin!


Donate online at Oregon Food Bank!


Leave a review on G2 Crowd and we’ll donate $5!

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