About Me

Jeff Chatterton is a recovering political junky, and the owner of Checkmate Public Affairs.

Chatterton started in risk and crisis communications as a journalist, winning several awards for his coverage of a number of “crisis-oriented” events. He worked for the Ontario government, handling a wide array of communications challenges in the resources arena — spending time at the Ministries of Natural Resources, Health, Agriculture, and Environment.

One day, Jeff was sitting at his desk at the Ministry of Environment when his supervisor stuck her head around the corner and said “Do you know how to get to Walkerton?”  It turns out some people were drinking the tap water and getting very ill as a result.  Jeff stood up, picked up his suit jacket – and didn’t return to his desk for three weeks.  To this day, the sound of a helicopter makes him wince, since there were so many air ambulances ferrying sick and dying people away from one of Canada’s largest environmental disasters.  This very public and emotional event prompted Jeff to start Checkmate Public Affairs.  He felt corporations needed better ways to speak the truth; especially when the truth was being stampeded by hysteria.

The range of companies he has helped retain their hard earned reputation is robust. Projects have included product recalls, chemical contaminations, layoffs, boycotts, staffing scares, activist attacks and natural disasters.  “Building trust and credibility is absolutely critical” says Chatterton.  “Whether it’s a government agency, a politician, a customer or a next-door neighbour soccer mom - when there’s more trust and credibility out there, everyone benefits.” 

Chatterton’s goal is to help companies maintain their reputation when dealing with the hits that the world of business can present. Bad things unfortunately happen to good companies. If your issue doesn’t hit the papers, then Jeff knows he has been successful.

Although he’s recovering, the political bug has never quite left his system.  He remains active in the Canadian political scene.  He has volunteered, managed or consulted on over 40 political campaigns in 3 provinces and 4 US States.  He recently spent two years juggling responsibilities between Checkmate Public Affairs, and acting as Chief of Staff to a Conservative Member of Parliament in the Canadian Federal Government. 

“Politics may just be a hobby for me now,” says Chatterton.  “But it’s taught me a few valuable lessons.  There is no better training ground to develop a high-risk message than the fishbowl of professional politics.  If you screw up, you have a very small window in order to fix it – otherwise you’re finished.”

Chatterton has authored “Framing the Fish Farmers,” a research paper examining the role activists play in the aquaculture industry, and has also published an audio book on building trust and credibility, entitled “Communicate through the Minefield.”

He is married to Helene, and together, they are proudly raising ‘the cutest little boys in the world, Erik and Logan.’ ™ 

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