Our team
Our team

Meet the team

Melissa Centazzo

Proposal program manager

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Olta Tato

Business Development

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Leela Kingman

Operations Manager

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Brigid Ward

Operations Integrator

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Katherine Wroth

Marketing Lead

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CARYN KENT DEAN

FOUNDER + CEO
(MEET THE FOUNDER)

Caryn 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 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. 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. At that time, only 1,127 professionals around the world had 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 will find her with her husband, kids, and sweet puppy, Scout.
MELISSA CENTAZZO
Proposal Program Manager
Melissa has over 30 years of corporate experience, with a specialization in Program Management. At Once Upon an RFP, she leads and oversees our team of proposal writers and project managers. She manages and strengthens various RFP programs and other strategic initiatives throughout the organization. Melissa is passionate about the details while understanding the big picture. When she’s not in front of her laptop, Melissa dabbles in mixed media arts, writing screenplays, and practices foil fencing.
Melissa has over 30 years of corporate experience, with a specialization in Program Management. At Once Upon an RFP, she leads and oversees our team of proposal writers and project managers. She manages and strengthens various RFP programs and other strategic initiatives throughout the organization. Melissa is passionate about the details while understanding the big picture. When she’s not in front of her laptop, Melissa dabbles in mixed media arts, writing screenplays, and practices foil fencing.
OLTA TATO
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Olta leverages her extensive 15+ years of experience and all-around knowledge of business development and leadership to play a key role in sales activity, service, and support in all client contracts. Olta is an active member of the APMP-Chesapeake Bay Chapter who values building long-lasting relationships with clients in the bid proposal industry. Her wide-ranging and well-balanced experience in customer relations drives her responsive and flexible approach to client inquiries within the increasingly demanding market for Once Upon an RFP’s services. Outside the office, Olta is committed to continuing education. Aside from her love for plants, spending time with her family is where her heart is.
Olta leverages her extensive 15+ years of experience and all-around knowledge of business development and leadership to play a key role in sales activity, service, and support in all client contracts. Olta is an active member of the APMP-Chesapeake Bay Chapter who values building long-lasting relationships with clients in the bid proposal industry. Her wide-ranging and well-balanced experience in customer relations drives her responsive and flexible approach to client inquiries within the increasingly demanding market for Once Upon an RFP’s services. Outside the office, Olta is committed to continuing education. Aside from her love for plants, spending time with her family is where her heart is.
LEELA KINGMAN
OPERATIONS MANAGER
Leela Kingman Ortiz is the Operations Manager at Once Upon an RFP. She has more than a decade of experience in managerial operational roles, including Business Administrator and Program Director, in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Specializing in streamlining business practices to benefit clients and employees, Leela utilizes that skillset as Once Upon an RFP expands its capabilities and reach.

In her day-to-day, she handles departments including Compliance, Finance, Human Resources, and IT. 

In her off time, Leela serves on the board of a local non-profit, advocates for early childhood education, and participates in volunteer opportunities in her community.  

BRIGID WARD
OPERATIONS INTEGRATOR
Brigid brings together her 15+ years of experience in Corporate and Advertising doing Marketing Communications, Account Management, and Program/Project Management to play a key role as the integrator. She has supported Fortune 500 companies launch multimillion dollar products and brands and launch 10,000+ person events. Brigid uses her skills to help support the team, processes, systems, priorities, and strategies to accomplish major company goals. In her spare time, Brigid is committed to her family and her health. She works out daily and loves to ski and hike. She also volunteers on the Booster Club for her son’s high school soccer team.
Brigid brings together her 15+ years of experience in Corporate and Advertising doing Marketing Communications, Account Management, and Program/Project Management to play a key role as the integrator. She has supported Fortune 500 companies launch multimillion dollar products and brands and launch 10,000+ person events. Brigid uses her skills to help support the team, processes, systems, priorities, and strategies to accomplish major company goals. In her spare time, Brigid is committed to her family and her health. She works out daily and loves to ski and hike. She also volunteers on the Booster Club for her son’s high school soccer team.
KATHERINE WROTH
MARKETING LEAD

Katherine is a brand strategist with over a decade of experience producing advertising for brands and helping leaders showcase their talent in the D2C and B2B world. Katherine specializes in Brand Development, Product Development, and Marketing Communications with multinational companies.

She has a proven track record of developing innovative, cutting-edge strategies, robust awareness and branding campaigns that increase sales and client retention. Katherine has strong cultural competence leading global teams and is a dynamic team motivator.

When she’s not in front of her laptop, Katherine is obsessed with travel, exploring different cultures, and a big foodie.