Curt Detweiler ’90
Curt Detweiler ’90 has traveled the globe. Not long after graduating, his career in advertising took off – professionally and geographically.
“Since leaving Avon I have lived and worked in Singapore, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and San Francisco,” he comments. “It has been quite a ride. I feel pretty blessed to have had the opportunity to live in such special cities.”
His travels have not only afforded him a lifetime of memories, but also a global perspective that has shaped his career. He encourages students to experience the global village in order to better themselves both personally and professionally.
“You really do need a global view,” he notes. “When I am in America I feel very isolated. There's just so much going on out there. Travel and cultures other than your own give you such valuable perspective.
“I guess you could say my experiences abroad really are my greatest possession. I can't imagine my life without the memories and perspective that travel has given me. If you can live and work abroad, do it. If you can do it more than once, do it more than once. It never ever gets old.”
Curt’s time at Avon will also be forever memorable to him; particularly, he notes, because of the brotherhood he found here to help endure some of the more difficult days.
“Avon tested you on every level,” he says. “You learned to be mentally tough. It's hard to eat, sleep, study, and compete with the same guys day in and day out for years and years and not forge meaningful bonds.
“My last two weeks at Avon, while fun, were incredibly tough,” he recalls. I simply did not want to leave.”
In addition to his peers, Curt also built relationships with his teachers. “It really is the faculty as a whole that stands out,” he notes. “They were all stylistically so unique to one another and I think that is a big reason for the school’s success.
“Leo Kostelnik was an insightful English teacher and a hard driving wrestling coach,” he says. “If anyone could get you to dig deep and find something you didn't think you had, it was Leo; truly his own person.
“Jamie Larochelle never let me down,” he continues. “He was always there for me, and he was a great teacher. I am grateful for his council and for the time he gave me. He genuinely cared, and he had a terrific sense of humor.”
Curt won the Grand Prize at the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards for a breast cancer awareness commercial he did for the Singapore Cancer Society early on in his career. The Singapore government banned the commercial. “We petitioned and petitioned to get it on air, but the governing bodies simply wouldn't budge,” he recalls. “Then MTV caught wind of it and aired it for free. Instead of the audience being limited to Singapore, it was aired from New Zealand to Japan to the Middle East. It really was a miracle.
“While the award was certainly meaningful, the ability to get the message to so many women was the real victory,” he continues. “It received a standing ovation from 600 women at a breast cancer symposium. I was incredibly moved when I got that news. It is one thing to relate to your peers, [but] it's another to relate to the people you are truly trying to reach.”
Curt’s success is clearly the result of hard work and dedication to his craft, but one simple philosophy helped to lay the foundation, and he urges young alumni looking to build a career in the advertising arena to heed the same advice: be yourself. “It may come at a price, but being your own person is worth it,” he observes. “There will come a time along the way when your integrity gets tested. If we learned anything at Avon, it is that our integrity is of tremendous value. I have done everything humanly possible to stick to my principles along the way.
“On many occasions, I am sure people have found my conviction and unyielding nature to be foolish, but I wouldn't trade who I am or my beliefs for anything in the world.”