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Whether it's a competitive proposal, a sole source opportunity, a grant proposal, or an award application, I ALWAYS start with a compliance matrix. I submitted a proposal this week with two of my former gifted colleagues at CH2M. I loved working with two other strategic and insightful writers, creating a proposal of which we can all be proud.

And we submitted the proposal more than an hour early! I remember driving to Corvallis many years ago with one of these former colleagues to oversee printing of a proposal. We then had to race back up I-5 to Woodburn to deliver it on time. It was A CLOSE CALL!!! I vow to never, ever work that way. (This is just one of many stories of racing to deliver proposals because the consulting teams had pushed it up to the very end!) With the proposal in my own hands, I have more control over that!!

Learn why I believe compliance matrixes are critical in writing proposals. They will ensure writing the proposal is worth your time and money and will reduce your last-minute stress! In an upcoming article I'll attach some compliance matrix templates you can download for your own use.

Please share this newsletter with anyone who might find it useful! Drop me a line to let me know what you think or if you have suggested topics.


Last week my videographer friend Shelly Heesacker and I kicked off a fun project to tell the story of how the Tualatin Hills Nature Park got started. Members of the THNP Friends Committee have been wanting to capture some of these stories on film as the founders are aging. Their story started 50 years ago, when they diligently worked to preserve a prime spot of diverse forest land against all the odds. They embody this fantastic Margaret Mead quote and I'm honored to be able to help tell their story!
In the past month, the Finding Fertile Ground podcast has featured:
  • Sankar Raman, who immigrated to the U.S. from India to attend graduate school. After a successful career in high tech, he founded and leads The Immigrant Story, a nonprofit organization that fosters empathy and builds a more inclusive community by sharing immigrant stories. We had a lively conversation about India, xenophobia, food, photography, and storytelling. Read more about Sankar here.
     
  • Marie Cecile Anderson and Katy Frame, Reformed Whores and feminist musical comics. If Dolly Parton & Flight of the Conchords got drunk and had a baby, you'd get the hilariously irreverent NYC-based musical comedy duo Reformed Whores! When they're not sharing their "magnificently bawdy celebration of female sexuality” (Broadway Baby) and empowering women, normalizing the female experience, and busting a few guts, they are cohosting the Difficult Women podcast. Read more about Katy and Marie here. You won't want to miss this one, but it does contain adult content.
     
  • Farheen Raza, host of Authentic & Unfiltered with Farheen. She survived COVID-19 this past spring, although it took three testing attempts (the final, correct one administered by her physician husband) to get the diagnosis. We talked about her bout with COVID, what it's like to be Muslim in America after 9/11, the movie "Cuties," and parenting three boys. Read more about Farheen here.
     
  • Me! I shared my own resilience story, on my birthday, October 6. Born with a cleft lip and palate and a club foot, I've had multiple surgeries, endured adolescent bullying and trauma, had a grand adventure by going off to live in Japan and meeting the love of my life there, and traveled through Asia sometimes solo. Then I had my first child born at just 24 weeks and survived a 117-day NICU stay and faced four miscarriages before going on to have two more kids. In 2012 I had a rare growth in my ear called a cholesteatoma and had to have four more surgeries. And then I had my job eliminated two years in a row...which made me realize I was done working in toxic environments and it was time to follow my own dreams! Read more about my story here.
     
  • ​Miguel Ochoa Castellanos and April Brenden-Locke, whose lives were both changed through education in Chiapas. April has such a fascinating story about visiting Hogar Infantil when she was 15 and leaving her heart there...and refinding it again there in her 40s. And Miguel is a wonder, having been raised by a single mom who took him to Hogar as a nine-year-old, and turning his life into a great success. They both credit Hogar as changing their lives in big ways. Read more here.
Fertile Ground Communications in the News!
Upjourney published my article about starting a book club. One of the things I miss the most right now is meeting in person with my book group. We've been together for 10 years now, and we’ve celebrated divorces, milestone birthdays, graduate school completions, and new relationships. We’ve supported each other through relationship breakups, illnesses, surgeries, and deaths in our families. Several people in my book group have even seen the same therapist! We have taken overnight trips together where we stay up late at night, drinking wine and playing games. We have formed deep bonds through meeting regularly once a month, sharing intimate details about our lives. Let me know if you have any questions about how to start a book group.
It's that time!! I've been text banking in swing states, sending postcards to Texas, and painting these rocks to encourage people to vote. Make sure you have a plan to vote, and remind everyone you can of the importance of voting. Think back to all of our ancestors who fought for our right to vote (especially if you are a woman or person of color!), and don't take it for granted. We are fortunate to be able to have a say in who our leaders will be.
Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business. With over 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more sustainable, and just world.
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