When Pam Derderian, KLN '81, started at Klein College, she studied public relations and communications and played for the basketball team. As if she weren't busy enough, during her junior year, she created her own sports marketing company, 15 Minute Inc.
"I knew I wanted to work in sports at the time and I knew I was interested in marketing so I thought about how interesting it would be to overlap the two," said Derderian.
Derderian credits a lot of her initial success to word of mouth, as her early clients praised her high-quality work ethic.
"The only way to get attention was to represent through brand marketing strategies and to represent athletes that no one heard of," Derderian said.
Her first client was Temple University's assistant softball coach Kathy Aaronson, known for being one of the fastest pitchers in softball. Derderian was able to get Aaronson a contract with Converse shoes, Rawlings gloves and Dudley softballs.
Her work with Aaronson invited a job opportunity with the U.S. Olympic women's field hockey team while they stayed in Philadelphia, preparing for the 1984 Olympics. Derderian wasn't looking for a typical job and insisted on being hired as a freelance employee. She was able to sign an endorsement for the team with Converse shoes.
Because of her history as a basketball player, Derderian was interested in expanding her marketing strategies to basketball clients. Derderian worked with former Phoenix Mercury player and current Sacramento Kings Coach Nancy Lieberman, inspired by the idea of seeing sporting goods stores promote a basketball signed by a woman. Derderian was able to sign Lieberman with Wilson sporting goods and make their goal a reality.
Pam met her business partner and wife, Nancy Becker, KLN '81, after they had graduated in New York City by a mutual friend from Temple. Despite being the same major, Pam's athletic practice schedule offered her mostly morning classes while Nancy attended afternoon classes. They have been together for 33 years.
"We wanted our own agency because you get to work on the type of accounts that mean the most to you," said Derderian. "[I like] cause-related marketing. It's a way to take our background and expertise and give to causes we deem important."
Their first cause was LGBT rights. Joining together with Subaru and tennis great Martina Navratilova, Derderian and Becker created the Rainbow Endlement, a credit card program with Visa, CitiBank, British Airways, Orbitz and the MBNA in which proceeds were donated to LGBT causes.
In working with Subaru, Derderian and Becker were also able to create content for Dining Out For Life, a nonprofit organization in which participating restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to HIV/AIDS research facilities.
Becker and Derderian started working with Ilene Chaiken, the creator of the HBO show "The L Word," landing a Subaru product placement. With the help of Navratilova, Derderian suggested the main character of "The L Word" be a lesbian tennis player.
The couple have also inherited the Hyundai relationship with the NFL, after the chief marketing officer of Subaru moved to Hyundai. He knew about Derderian and Becker's interest in niche marketing and offered them the program.
Derderian has also had the opportunity to work with tennis great, Billie Jean King. After the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (home of the US Open Grand Slam tournament) was opened, King called Derderian and asked how to handle the fame. Derderian advised her to use it to promote causes she cared about.
Today, their 15 Minute Inc.'s future is wide open.
"We're very fluid. We try and take the core of what we do and continue to evolve as the industry evolves," said Derderian. "We had to morph into a digital marketing agency and we continue to evolve as the world evolves."