A few stories from my youth help reveal the sources of my professional passions.
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be a writer of some kind. In fact, my first published item, at age 10, was a letter to the editor of Boy’s Life magazine, in which I asked for advice on how to become a professional writer. The answer: Read as much as you can, and observe how the best writers craft their language.
Fast-forward to ninth grade and my English teacher, Mr. Hanlon, who made liberal use of his red pen. His memorable words of advice were, “Weak writing is a sign of weak thinking.” In other words, if you haven’t carefully thought through what you want to say, and how to say it well, it will show up in your writing.
At Dale Curtis Communications, we bring these ideas to the work we do for all of our clients. Observe and learn from the best. Think deeply and strategically about each client’s needs. Then carefully craft the best language and images to achieve the desired effect.
Most people chuckle to learn that I grew up in a Holiday Inn. That’s right, my folks ran a 126-room hotel just off the New York State Thruway in Amsterdam, near Albany. From an early age, I worked alongside my family and the staff, helping guests with all kinds of needs – carrying luggage, providing directions, serving a hot meal, cleaning up after a long day – whatever was needed. And I like to think that we at DCC bring that same spirit of hospitality, teamwork, caring, and service to everything we do today.
During those years in New York, I had the opportunity to tag along as tour groups of skiiers tackled the Adirondack slopes. I largely taught myself to ski, but one day I took a lesson to sharpen my skills. After taking a short run, I eagerly awaited the instructor’s feedback. “There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing,” he said. “Just relax and be more aggressive.”
Since then, I have found that is great advice for life, as well as skiing. Sometimes we get so uptight about doing something perfectly that we forget to trust our experience and skills and really go for it.
Six years ago, I came to a crossroads in my career, and I had an opportunity to choose whether to look for another job, or to start a new business of my own. With encouragement from trusted friends and colleagues – some of whom would become my best clients and associates – I decided to go for it and launch DCC.
Back in 2009, it was just me and my laptop at the desk in my guest room. But thanks to the support of my first clients – people who appreciated deep thinking, crystal clear writing, committed service, and an aggressive approach, DCC began to grow.
In 2012, I hired our first employees and moved into our current space at the WWF Building on 24th Street, NW. The last two years have been especially exciting as we grew to seven staff and interns, expanded our office space, and augmented our client roster and business development efforts.
Today we are well positioned for a strong 2016, our lucky seventh year. Who knows how much more we’ll grow? One thing is certain. Even if we double in size, we will still be small enough to know each of our clients personally; to take the time to think deeply about their needs; to care passionately about their causes; and to deliver great service that builds reputations and delivers meaningful results.
So this New Year’s Eve, we raise a toast to you: our clients and friends. We thank you for your business, your support, your friendship, and for inspiring us to do great work for great causes. Happy New Year!