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EP045: Managing a Proposal Team – with Faye Farmer


Large organizations often have multiple proposal managers working across different departments with a diverse number of subject matter experts. So, how does the leader of a proposal team think about assigning RFPs? How do they help their proposal managers navigate relationships with SMEs? What are they looking for in the interview process? And how do the best managers play to the strengths of their team and promote their professional growth?

Faye Farmer is the Executive Director of Research and Development at Arizona State University. In her role, Faye is responsible for expanding the research impact and footprint at ASU, and to that end, her team developed more than $750M in proposals to federal and corporate funding agencies in 2018 alone. Faye is certified through APMP and remains committed to incorporating industry best practices in proposal management and competitive intelligence in the world of academia. Faye has a decade of experience in growing the research productivity of the faculty and research scientists at ASU.

Today, Faye joins us to discuss the ins and outs of managing a proposal team, explaining why burnout is her top concern and how she fosters a community of caring. She describes how to create a culture of respect between proposal managers and SMEs and offers insight around establishing a social contract to define the parameters of that relationship. Listen in to understand what characteristics Faye looks for in proposal managers and learn how she leverages an understanding of personality types to play to the strengths of her team!

Key Takeaways

  • How Faye’s team supports ASU faculty in developing a research portfolio

  • Faye’s argument for adopting proposal industry standards in academia

  • Why burnout is Faye’s greatest challenge in managing proposal managers

  • How Faye fosters a community of caring among her team at ASU

  • How to create a culture of respect between proposal managers and SMEs

  • Faye’s emphasis on building relationships with the faculty at ASU

  • How Faye’s team empowers the faculty to make a contribution to the world

  • The challenge Faye’s team faces in explaining how they can help

  • How Faye coaches her proposal managers through scenario planning

  • The value in considering personality type and playing to people’s strengths

  • Why Faye suggests establishing a social contract with SMEs

  • The characteristics Faye looks for in hiring proposal managers

    • Qualifications, ability to translate to industry standards

    • Innate curiosity and high drive

    • Passion for writing + gift for editing