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“Isabel Gibson is the Proposal Queen – that says it all.” Mara Gulens, Editor, Strategic Communications, Branding and Public Affairs
I had the opportunity to read this book and I have to say it is one of the easiest breakdowns of the proposal process that I’ve ever encountered. Isabel has done a great job of making a very difficult subject easy to understand, and her personal examples really help clarify and give substance to it. I recommend this to everyone involved with RFx processes who wants to improve in their career or help develop their staff to a higher level.
Rick Cleveland, Director, Education and Accreditation, Supply Chain Management Association
“I have been involved in procurement for almost 30 years and I have known and worked with Isabel Gibson over the last six years on a number of major proposal submissions. I can safely say that the content of this book is absolutely accurate and should be read and applied with diligence. Isabel is a consummate professional whose skills and knowledge go far beyond that of an “editor”. In all things “proposal” she has seen it. This book provides sage advice on all aspects of proposal/bid organization, training, schedule, needed resources and commitment including that of senior management to Red Team reviews to ensure bids respond fully to customer requirements (key to a compliant bid). When I do a proposal, Isabel is my safety blanket, and this book outlines the myriad of things that need to be considered in preparing a complete and compliant bid. I commend it to all, novice or professional.”
Ron Buck, Vice Admiral (Rtd) Canadian Navy
“Having worked with Isabel on responding to some complicated and resource-intensive RFPs, one of the biggest challenge is aligning what the service-provider thinks it is good at, with what the client actually wants. Isabel’s organizational skills, clarity of vision, keeping the team focused on deliverables, all combine to deliver responsive RFPs. This book brings all these variables together in a concise and logical order.”
Larry Sie, Vice President Asset Management, Revera Living
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Isabel on two very complex government-issued RFPs. Not only is she infused with humour in the face of such turgid documents, she is an excellent editor who can wade through the most complex texts and determine the essentials. There is no better person to write such a book. It will be well appreciated in Proposal Land, I have no doubt.”
Carolyne Van Der Meer, once-proposal-editor and current public relations specialist
“Isabel brings skill and expertise in managing complex RFPs and ensuring that responses meet mandatory requirements.”
Claudia Belrango, VP/GM – Federal Government Sales, Rogers Communications Inc.
“Isabel Gibson is one of the most sought-after proposal professionals/gurus in Canada today; the fact that she somehow found the time to compile her years of wisdom and expertise into a succinct document is a credit to her ability to manage her time and share her knowledge and leadership. A must read if you want to be successful in today’s world of crafting winning proposals.”
Ian Hargrave, ATCO Group executive (retired)
“As a recently retired senior officer from the GOC Department of Defence, I was introduced to proposal writing and proposal management by Isabel Gibson. I had been exposed to proposals as an evaluator – reviewing and assessing them from a client perspective for many years – but had no idea of how or what level of effort went into the creation of a proposal. When I joined the private sector, I quickly learned, under Isabel’s mentorship, that creating proposals was both an art form and a science. Isabel’s understanding of what to look for in client requirements and how that needs to be translated into a proposal were valuable tools she imparted to all who worked with her. She was always clear that accurate pricing wins new work. However, her focus on process, detail and clear accurate responses to requirements ensured the accuracy of pricing detail. Many times I heard her say “Answer the question asked, not what you think the question should be.” As an executive in the camp and support services industry with ATCO Structures & Logistics, I was directly involved in leading large proposals, and to this day, I lean heavily on the lessons and experience I gained from working with Isabel.”
Gerry Walsh, Vice President International Operations (Retired), ATCO Structures and Logistics
“As a consultant for the past twenty years, I have worked on hundreds of proposals of all sizes. Many of my proposal responses over the years have been ten times as big as they should have been, and taken ten times the effort and frustration—because we didn’t understand the RFP as well as we should have and we didn’t keep it simple and answer what they wanted. Needless to say, those proposals never won.
“Isabel is the ‘great simplifier’. She has an unparalleled ability to take very complex ideas and break them down into their essence. This skill is extremely useful while understanding an RFP and in responding to it. She has taken her ability to dissect and simplify, and given us an easy-to-use and enormously helpful guide to proposal responses. This book will be dog-eared and within reach for any future proposal work: to save myself time, anguish, and effort, and to increase my win rate. This will also be on my ‘highly recommended’ list for all my clients who are starting their own businesses.”
Melissa Creede, P.Eng, CPCC, Career; Leadership, and Executive Coach and Trainer; Sapis Insight
“In “Proposals: Getting Started, Getting Better”, Isabel Gibson has created an invaluable guide. The key to Isabel’s impact and success in developing proposals has been the thinking behind the words, logic and processes, and her brilliant sense of humour. This guide delivers structure, clarity and simplicity. Frankly, in this business of responding to an RFP or a proposal request, its true value is helping to transform the complex into something reasoned, smooth and understandable. Being competent in responding to requests for proposals can be a “Bet your Company” exercise. Without hesitation, I endorse Isabel’s work and this important guide.”
Paul Trayner, President, SALT Consulting Group Inc.
“After retiring from the Canadian Forces, for a number of years I had the pleasure of participating in the preparation of numerous proposals under Isabel’s guidance. One is never too old or too wise to learn from a pro. This book is an easy read! For the inexperienced it provides an invaluable “leg up”; for the experienced, it provides a memorable set of tips for upping their game and training new staff.”
Michael T. Saker, Rear Admiral (ret’d), former Chief of Engineering and Maintenance, Canadian NDHQ
“Isabel’s ‘Proposals: Getting Started, Getting Better’ is a must-have for every proposal coordinator’s desk. A proposal coordinator’s most important lessons are in this book, from understanding the RFP and just answering the question (ATQ), to managing the process and knowing one’s limits. Having worked in Proposal Land, I am certain I would have fared better and saved myself hours of frustration and confusion if I had had this book within easy reach.
I had the pleasure of attending one of Isabel’s proposal workshops and watching her masterfully articulate the process challenges I unknowingly struggled with and against. I am relieved and grateful she has decided to write a book that captures all of the lessons I tried to frantically copy down. Her book brings structure to a seemingly chaotic process, and her wit and voice of experience lend much-needed humour and sympathy to the sometimes hard reality of living in Proposal Land. I may need two copies–one for me and one to lend out.”
Christina Mate, Proposal Writer and Editor
“It’s a privilege to have attended Isabel’s proposal school.”
Eliane Savard, Director Client Relations, Brookfield Government Relocation Services
“Isabel has a rare talent to simplify challenging concepts, with humour.”
Michel Bonin, Senior Vice President, Brookfield Government Relocation Services
“Isabel manages to excel at both assessing the big picture and attending to minute details. Her excellent communication skills and her ability to discern how best to present a topic to ensure that others understand it allow her to convey a complex or subtle idea in just the right way for any particular audience. While most proposal team members attended to only their own discrete contribution, Isabel tracked the entire project to ensure that the final product was a coherent document that was as well written and compelling, in both content and style, as a proposal can be. Tight deadlines and the tensions inherent in proposal work test most team members’ resolve; even under extreme pressure, Isabel could keep her sights on the goal and relieve the general mood with her wit and creativity, which seemed never to flag. Isabel is the ideal mentor, manager, and team player.”
Jackie Doyle, Proposal Editor and Corporate Communicator
“As someone new to Proposal Land nearly 10 years ago, I was one of the lucky ones who had the pleasure of learning directly from Isabel when she consulted on various proposals during my time as a consultant and Business Development Manager for SNC-Lavalin.
Isabel’s book ‘Proposal Land’ is a brilliant articulation of everything you ever needed to know about proposals – she is sharing her talents and years of experience…with relevant and funny stories that bring her explanations to life and will appeal to and help people at all levels and in all sectors.
Whether you’re a ‘newbie’ or ‘old-hat’, Proposal Land delivers ‘A-HA’ moments and invaluable insights into how to plan for, prepare and deliver proposals that will bring you business. Buying and perusing this book will be THE best investment you will make in your success. It’s remarkable (though not surprising) that Isabel has packed both ‘Proposal 101’ and a ‘Proposal MBA’ into this organized, easy-to-read-and-use book. Well done Isabel! I wish your book had been available all those times I googled ‘writing great proposals’! It will definitely sit on my reference shelf for all future business pursuits.”
Carla Dawes – Photographer, Entrepreneur, former Business Development Manager & Proposal Consultant
“Isabel Gibson taught me how to be a winning proposal manager.
I met Isabel in 1994 when I was assigned to a proposal where she was the “Proposal Editor.” I found out quickly that Isabel was not just an “editor.” She was an astute interpreter of requirements – regardless of the subject matter, a superb scheduler, an excellent planner, an inspired leader and motivator of people, and a highly effective writer.
Over the next six years, I had the privilege of being on numerous proposal teams with Isabel, first as a member of a team and then as the Proposal Manager. In 1999, we won a five-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the Alaska Radar System. The success of that proposal was largely the result of the techniques and skills instilled in me by Isabel over the years.
In the heat of the proposal battle, Isabel always found a way to reduce team stress and create an atmosphere of cooperation and calm. She was particularly adept at preparing for executive reviews of a proposal, called “Red Teams.” She was able to rapidly familiarize the executives with key requirements and risk areas. In so doing she was able to extract maximum value from the Red Team in a very short period.
I highly recommend Isabel’s guide, “Proposals: Getting Started – Getting Better”, both to those new at proposals and to those who have experience. I believe there is something there for everyone.”
Sandy Taylor, MEng, Colonel(Rtd)
“Over the course of almost a decade of working together I had the benefit of Isabel’s sage guidance and advice on many proposals both large and small. I wish we’d both had this book, then! Big-picture context to put things in perspective, practical tips to keep things under control, and humour to put things in their place. ‘Proposals: Getting Started, Getting Better’ is an invaluable guide for proposal teams, their leaders, and executives with the accountability for delivering winning proposals.”
Bill Christensen, VP Law, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Alliance Pipeline Ltd.
“Isabel is a highly accomplished proposal writer, experienced in what it takes to put together successful qualification and proposal bids on projects representing multi-billion dollar transactions. The challenges are multi-facetted and dynamic, and it takes first-hand experience such as Isabel’s to clearly articulate the road map for those willing souls who wish to embark on the rewarding yet at times harrowing journey of these large project pursuits.”
Chris McCarthy, Director of Buildings and Transit Facilities Development, SNC-Lavalin Inc.
“An integral part of many of our bid development teams for several years, Isabel clearly understands the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for Government procurements and brings a sense of clarity when we undertake proposals of significant value. Isabel has the tremendous ability to work closely with management, technical, operations, and field personnel. She can bring people with diverse cultural backgrounds together and actually make a proposal effort fun! A strong communicator, she effectively and efficiently manages proposal teams, saving time and reducing frustration for everyone by clearly enunciating responsibilities and authorities.”
Don Chynoweth, Marketing and Operational Executive, and Corporate Director
“I wouldn’t consider preparing a proposal – particularly a large, complex government proposal – without engaging Isabel. I have the benefit of knowing her personally, but for those who do not, everything she has learned over the years is available in this book. If your livelihood depends on winning that next big piece of business, this is a must read.”
Martin Sampson, Director, Communications and Marketing