Meet Claire Chiappetta
Claire Chiappetta is a story-teller. As a journalist, she produced stories for national audiences. Now, with her company, Cactex Media, she tells stories for corporations and clients.
Rewinding a bit, Claire grew up in the northeast. She skied a lot and made the most of the winters. She always dreamed of being a TV news producer for one of the major broadcast networks. New York City was close enough that the aspiring young Claire had a clear goal. “I was a CBS page first during college,” she recalls. “I used to give tours of the broadcast center, and I worked on the different shows that were produced there. It grew into my first full-time job. I felt lucky to be part of it and began work on the show, ‘CBS News Sunday Morning.’ I learned my craft there.”
CBS transferred Claire to Dallas, where she has stayed. As journalism evolved, audiences gravitated away from softer news and towards reality shows and hyper-sensationalized news. Claire saw the change coming, which went against her values and strengths, and weighed her options. She quit the CBS job and took a corporate job. Her entrepreneurial tendency kicked into overdrive right away. “The day I walked in, I thought, ‘This is not for me.’ I began working with a career coach, even though I was still doing the job. The coach talked me through what it would be like to start my own company and why I wanted it.” Claire decided to launch Cactex Media, and she quit the corporate gig. It was amicable, as they were her first contracted client. Claire joined EO in 2015, having qualified years before.
Cactex is a digital marketing company. “We’re story tellers,” Claire reiterates. “We do all sorts of different things with different deliverables, but our real skill and talent is story telling. We take complicated messages and create content that communicates and resonates.”
Typical clients for Cactex are Fortune 500 companies that have U.S. offices and international operations. “We work with teams all over the world and I have traveled the globe producing content.” Ironically, Cactex doesn’t do much marketing or self-promotion. Being a woman-owned business and a high performing company, Cactex brings people to their doors through word of mouth and strong client relationships. Often, if a client moves to a new company, they’ll bring Cactex on board for projects at their next role.
The future of digital marketing and even media in general is changing faster than ever. Not only has it been influenced by increased access to technology, the pandemic has also changed production values. “There’s so much video out there, and pictures, and everything else,” Claire says. “What is acceptable today wasn’t acceptable even five years ago in terms of the way content is put together and managed. What hasn’t changed is the ability to tell a story well. In the last year, it’s changed even more. I see reporters video-recording press conferences with iPhones. That was unheard of before. What hasn’t changed is the need for creativity and talent with words to make it relevant.”
The Cactex team includes eight employees today, and Claire is looking to build up to 10-12 full-time people. Freelance talent rounds out the team, with up to 50 regulars that are pulled into various projects.
Covid provided challenges but also new opportunities. With the usual work very slow, the Cactex team was challenged to design the interior space of a company to tell their brand story. It was a unique opportunity that exposed hidden talents from team members – like near-perfect schematic measuring and sketching. Before that, the team designed an 18-wheel truck that traveled the country providing an experiential, mobile version of the client’s corporate story.
Claire sees her industry continuing to grow exponentially. She predicts that being authentic in messaging, facts and video will become more valuable. While she and others in the industry have always stayed true to authenticity, many others who create content have not. Audiences are getting wise to this and are seeking out those who are consistently creative, transparent and genuine.
Dallas has been home to Claire for 25 years, and she still frequently goes to visit family in the Northeast. She says she’s still a news junkie at the core. She’s creative and loves to get together with friends for good food and even better conversation. EO Dallas has given her valuable friendships, and she often comes to EO events to be with some of these friends. Glad to have you, Claire, and we look forward to seeing you at the next event!