Deborah Curtis, VP Global Partnerships, American Express

Deb Curtis
– Deb Curtis

The Engagers

Executives who are doing exciting things in fan engagement. People whose work makes for memorable events. 

Deborah Curtis
VP Global Partnerships, AMEX

For seven of her 11 years with American Express, Curtis has connected customers to concerts. When describing the company’s approach to marketing, 

she frequently peppers her sentences with words like “immersive,” “personal” and “memories.” 

“American Express’ onsite activation at Coachella last month “took it up a notch” by allowing cardholders to unlock benefits through the Coachella app, ranging from a special lounge to free rides on the festival’s iconic Ferris wheel.” This October, the company will return to Austin City Limits festival for a third year.

American Express became a player in the concert business by pioneering credit card presales. This year’s biggest presales have been for Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and John Mayer. Over the years, the company has expanded its presence and importance through longstanding partnerships with Live Nation, AEG and Bowery Presents. Most recently, American Express launched Women in Music Leadership Academy, a three-day workshop that prepares rising females for leadership positions.  

Curtis says the best advice she’s received is to “play the long game.” Though she can look 10 to 15 years into the future, Curtis avoids hewing to a rigid career plan. “I follow my heart and consider where I can grow the most,” she says. “Too often people are trying to jump to the next best thing and not asking how it’s added to their lives and how it helps you grow over time as a human being and a professional.” 

She turns reflective as she spots a Paul Simon concert in her office collection of VIP laminates. Each laminate represents a memory of American Express helping provide good memories to its customers. “That’s the benefit of my job,” she says. “I get to make a lot of people very happy.”