No. 35

VP of sports and entertainment, American Express


American Express is coming off a record-breaking year in ticket sales for early on-sale programs on hot tours for the likes of the Eagles, P!nk, George Strait, Cher, Selena Gomez, Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Skrillex, Miley Cyrus, Made in America Festival, Paul McCartney, Vampire Weekend and Leonard Cohen. And the company remains a powerful presence in event sponsorships, with a 2013 budget estimated to reach as high as $45 million by analytics firm IEG. But Deborah Curtis, the financial services company’s VP of sports and entertainment, is just as proud of her efforts in helping make exclusive card-member concerts with Vampire Weekend, Janelle Monáe and Kings of Leon accessible to an even broader audience through its Unstaged program. Currently in its third year, Unstaged brought live-streamed concerts to YouTube viewers who outranked the size of the concerts’ venues nearly 100 times over. “We’ve been in the music business in some capacity for over 20 years, so to bring our content all together and allow those programs to live year-round was the goal this year,” Curtis says. “We want to disrupt, in some cases, how people think about us, and music helps us make a lot of headway with that.” —Andrew Hampp