Edward Chalupa – 20 Under 40

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Highland Park ISD
Education: University of North Texas

Edward Chalupa tells the stories of students and staff of Highland Park ISD through video, social media, and more as the district’s communication specialist and video producer.

He also has his own business, Chalupa Productions, a video production company that creates specialized content for brands from short features to music videos.

“I believe that my purpose is to develop impactful bonds between businesses and their community stakeholders through engaging media and communication practices,” Chalupa said. “My involvement with Highland Park ISD allows me to serve a variety of constituents throughout the community. Through digital media, I am able to help share the stories of future leaders and through my lens demonstrate how education is the cornerstone to success for our future.”

“I have always been drawn to the art of storytelling.”

He’s also worked with the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society to showcase historically and architecturally significant homes in the Park Cities.

Chalupa learned about the potential of using digital media to tell compelling stories at an early age.

“I have always been drawn to the art of storytelling. Reflecting on my educational experience, I was lucky to have grown up in a school district where STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education was in practice before the term STEAM had even been coined,” he said. “It was in my eighth-grade robotics and video production class where I learned that storytelling and technology could be so well connected. Throughout the rest of my education, I continued to pursue areas of focus that would allow me to interact with digital media as a means of communication.”

During the pandemic, he’s helped local organizations with hosting virtual events.

Among the virtual programs Chalupa Productions produced this year were three for CultureMap’s Tastemaker awards.

“Since the whole program was virtual, it further emphasized the need for the creative to be engaging and purposefully driven,” Chalupa said. “The results turned out phenomenal, and I am pleased with the efforts my team put forth to get the project delivered in such a timely manner.”

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

In ten years, I plan on leveraging my skills and media knowledge by developing a non-profit that promotes media literacy in education. It is my belief that there is a significant need to create and develop curriculum to help individuals learn how be discerning regarding the media they consume.

What’s on your bucket list?

My bucket list item number one is to create a feature film. I’m not looking to create the world’s next Citizen Kane (1941) but rather something that both entertains and engages audiences. This would be an endeavor purely out of self-interest and something that I would not consider as a business move. I would like to make a movie.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

The world is built on relationships, and the sooner you put yourself out there, the more likely you will have greater opportunities open up for you. Make these connections now so that once you enter the professional world, you will be able to leverage your contacts that can help guide you to success.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

My first job was working at a local coffee shop named It’s-A-Grind. It was there where I was able to develop soft skills that would allow me excel in an office environment. The sheer volume of individuals that I would interact with gave me confidence in my interpersonal communication skills.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I plan on leveraging my skills and media knowledge by developing a non-profit that promotes media literacy in education. It is my belief that there is a significant need to create and develop curriculum to help individuals learn how be discerning regarding the media they consume.

Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

The most difficult leadership skills that I have had to develop is being able to critique others work in a way that is positive and critical regarding the topic at hand. It is more valuable to shine a positive light on the situation and then describe how things could be improved. Every critique should have a touch of positivity to it.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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