Claire Mouledoux

 

Capitol Communicator is running a series of profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Claire Mouledoux, ‎director of communications at Visit Alexandria. Photography for this series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.

Claire, please provide us with a short bio.

I’m the director of communications for Visit Alexandria, the destination marketing organization for Alexandria, Virginia, a city best known for its historic yet cosmopolitan Old Town neighborhood that’s located just minutes from Washington, D.C. I’m from New Orleans and Houston and have lived in Alexandria for 10 years. With a background in advertising and arts marketing, I transitioned to the tourism world five years ago and developed a passion for PR and communications strategy. At the office I’m also known as the “Content Queen.”

Why do they call you the “Content Queen”?

This came about when I created a new communications department that focuses on story telling through ongoing content development, conveying an inspiring and authentic sense of place across platforms including our website, blog, email marketing, social media and PR pitching. People these days are less likely to use their vacation days and are more selective in their travel choices. It’s more critical than ever that our content makes the potential visitor feel the richness of the Alexandria experience and inspires them to think – in the words of Liz Lemon – “I want to go to there!”

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I’m on the Advisory Council of The Art League and a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance.

What are the things you are most proud of?

It feels rewarding to have a positive impact on the community in which I live. Bringing more visitor spending to Alexandria increases our local tax base and supports our thriving community of independently owned shops and restaurants.

I had a major role in the creation of our new brand, Extraordinary Alexandria, which photographer Cade Martin helped bring to life. The new campaign saw a 30-percent increase in tourism ROI. At the same time, I’ve created a new communications department for Visit Alexandria and launched a national PR program, increasing the number of national press hits by 83 percent and quadrupling our social media following in a year.

Who were your personal role models and did they offer professional advice that helped you in your career ?

I’ve been inspired by many people throughout my personal and professional life.

My earliest professional influences were my parents. My mother taught me the value of first impressions and how to be confident talking to people you don’t know. I relate to my father in finding satisfaction in hard work, exercising professionalism and valuing fairness.

And, I find inspiration in the work of two of my current work leaders. My CEO Patricia Washington is a creative life force and a risk-taker. My COO Tom Kaiden has coached me on how to manage a beyond-capacity workload without breaking a sweat.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Here are three things I think are worth sharing:

– Find work that excites you and brings you energy;

– Good leadership includes asking questions and really listening. Recognize that sometimes the quietest person in the room has the most insight or best idea. Be open to learning from those above you and below you in your organization and in your professional community; and,

– Mentoring your staff and encouraging them to work to their strengths bears great rewards for your business and for you personally.

What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?

Wear what makes you feel confident while being aware that your choices convey a professional message. I like the tip “dress for the job you want.” It often depends on who you are meeting with on any given day. Sometimes I go for tailored professional with some unexpected color. On other days, creative business casual is ideal for fostering an adventurous mindset.

Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?

I tend to mix petite styles from major retailers with special pieces from Old Town Alexandria’s independent boutiques and quirky finds from New Orleans and Houston.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I love travel and count Mexico City among my favorite international destinations. Nothing beats becoming immersed in the local color of a place through its traditions, food and art. I am a bit of an art nerd and a crafty creative person. I used to make beaded jewelry professionally.  I have an award-winning collage in my background. (I’m pretty sure an Art League student award makes me famous!!) And I can’t resist an excuse to wear an elaborately crafted costume, especially when I make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

 

(Stay current with items of interest to communicators at Capitol Communicator, www.capitolcommunicator.com.)

About The Author

The only child of a university art professor and freethinker mother, Cade Martin grew up surrounded by shapes and images. His love of art grew out of summer vacations filled with trips to galleries, museums and art studios. At home he often found himself around the dinner table with an eclectic cast of characters – sculptors, writers and painters. They paraded through his childhood, shaping his art foundation and forming his appreciation for the candid beauty found in people from all walks of life. Cade’s been chasing characters ever since. He seeks out their stories-told through the architecture of their faces or the costumes they wear-whether he’s on a commercial production or setting up an Avedon-like photo booth at Comic Con. They are the heroes in his pictures. His thirst for capturing adventures took its hold while shooting stills on movie sets and then as a photographer for National Geographic covering the railways of India. And it is that sense of adventure that Cade brings to his productions elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary with a cinematic touch. It’s not just a picture. He’s committed to the experience, building beautiful environments and, sometimes for his portraits, simply building trust. A talented storyteller, Cade splits his time between the East and West Coasts creating images for editorial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle clients

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