Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

MU169: Jordan Adler | The More Jetsons We Go, The More The Flintstones Are Going To Win!

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:MU169: Jordan Adler | The More Jetsons We Go, The More The Flintstones Are Going To Win!

Caryn Kent Dean

Overcoming Mediocrity - Volume VIII


Caryn Kent Dean

Caryn Kent Dean is an introvert, creative and sensitive entrepreneur. She grew up in La Grange Park, IL and received her B.A. Arts, Classics and B.S. Science, Anthropology, both Cum Laude, from Loyola University of Chicago. She is an alum of the 1999-2000 class that studied at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center. In 1997, she completed her Master of Library and Information Science at Rosary College (now Dominican University) Circumstances after library school led to her introduction to the work of a proposal professional. After six years and a variety of roles, including as a software company’s first Proposal Manager, Caryn decided to pursue other interests.

She was married to the love of her life, Corey Dean, in 2002. They lived in Chicago and then moved to Villa Park, IL in 2006. As children came along, she had the great honor of being a full- time mom for ten years. She returned to the corporate world in another proposal-related position, when her youngest entered full-day kindergarten. Four years and two companies later, Caryn was inspired to leave corporate and become an entrepreneur.

In 2018, Caryn founded Once Upon an RFP, where they transform clients’ proposal stories to win the best business and make a bigger impact. You’ll now find Caryn enjoying her work with clients, as well as the creative and intellectual challenges of business ownership.

The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) recognized Caryn with Foundation Certification in 2016. In May 2019, APMP recognized Caryn with Practitioner Certification. To date, only 1,127 professionals around the world have been recognized at this level.

In addition to professional certification through APMP, on September 19, 2019, the Greater Midwest Chapter recognized Caryn as 2019 Member of the Year. She was nominated for spearheading the effort to create a Virtual Networking Group to connect proposal consultants with their peers and provide relevant programs and support.

When Caryn’s not working with clients or on her business, you’ll find her with whom she loves best, her husband, kids, and sweet puppy, Scout.


Caryn Kent Dean
Once Upon an RFP LLC


My Story

Transform Your Story. Transform Your Impact.

Have you ever felt like everything was all wrong, even though it looked perfect on paper? Caryn shares your story. She had a wonderful husband, three beautiful kids, and the opportunity to continue her career in corporate, after ten years as a full-time parent. However, she only made it four years because of the impact of family and a high-pressure position on balance, health and happiness. Read Caryn’s story to learn about the steps she took to getting herself back on track.

Michele Riley Swiderski

Overcoming Mediocrity - Volume V

RESILIENT WOMEN - These stories are meant to inspire and encourage women to realize their true potential.





Michele Riley Swiderski

Michele Swiderski is a Natural Solutions provider who helps women become healers in their own homes. A mom with two small children who was suddenly widowed in her 30’s, Michele began her wellness firm, Simply Balanced with Michele, to share her lessons learned from overcoming the stress of suddenly single parenting, a more than 40 hour per week corporate position and the community commitments that she was drawn toward.

Michele’s journey is one of joyful resilience. Prior to founding her wellness business, Michele spent over 10 years as a visitor logistics and military event planner for a large government defense contractor. Before that, she established herself as a small business marketing consultant.

Michele is now creating a movement assisting her clients as they embrace wellness through the proper use of therapeutic grade essential oils, natural foods and education. She was called to this work through the experience of autoimmune issues, which she and her children experienced from grief, chronic stress and overwhelm. Michele provides services including one-on-one wellness coaching, in-home classes, seminars for other holistic wellness practitioners and their clients and entrepreneurial coaching.

Michele holds a double bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communications and Public Relations with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial Business.  She is currently finishing her MBA. She enjoys participating in a wide variety of wellness activities, yoga, meditation, reiki, chiropractic care and acupuncture.  Michelle also collaborates with other holistic wellness practitioners.

“I receive tremendous satisfaction and joy from helping people to find natural wellness solutions for health and home in simple, obtainable ways. Living well and incorporating daily wellness routines can change everything about how you live and the way your family functions.”


Michele Riley Swiderski
Simply Balanced with Michele








Navigating Life Part Two… Let It Go

Michele’s story is about how perception of a charmed life and ones understanding of societal and family expectations, often are not even shaken by tragedy. It requires an awareness of self, true wellness and a complete shift in mindset to truly embrace heath, love and life.




Noel Baldwin

Overcoming Mediocrity - Volume III

STRONG WOMEN - These stories are meant to inspire and encourage women to realize their true potential.






Noel Baldwin

Noel Baldwin, CPA, CFE, CGMA, CITP, is the owner of NBaldwin Company, which offers accounting and tax services as well as fraud, forensics and financial analysis for individuals, trusts, estates, and corporate clients ranging from small to mid-sized businesses.

Noel holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Columbia College, Missouri. She is a Certified Public Accountant of Illinois and a Certified Fraud Examiner. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. She is also a Notary Public of Illinois.

Clients find that Noel takes the time to know their business or personal financial situations and to understand their needs. She tailors the work she does to each client and makes sure that they understand and are satisfied with solutions she offers to meet both long and short-term accounting needs.

Noel Baldwin
NBaldwin Company

I Can’t Wait to See What’s Next

Life experiences will be a mixture of good and bad events. Some of those experiences will change your future. It is all about determination and love of God and others that will bring you through. There is always something next on the horizon. You just have to be willing to see it and go for it with a positive attitude.




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