2024 Alumni in the Media Honoree

President and Co-Founder, “15 Minutes” Inc.

15 Minutes Inc. was born in a 19th century former farmhouse in Northern Liberties. “There was an oven built into the brick walk,” recalled Nancy Becker,  agency President , describing their first office in now-trendy NoLibs, that had yet to be restored from industrial to artsy.  

The agency’s first major client was MCI, for which they set up free international calling centers at 90 events to sample the telecom’s Friends & Family program. “15 Minutes” promoted the city’s inaugural RiverBlues Festival on behalf of Philip Morris and became the go-to agency for independent film distributors bringing films to the Ritz Theatres. They created memorable grand openings for The Sporting Club, United Artists and IMAX Theatres, as well as Bleachers and The Beach Club, trucking in several tons of sand to close down Delaware Avenue for a promotional beach volleyball tournament.  

Becker actually started “15 Minutes” in 1984 while learning the ropes under Hal Weissman, an esteemed PR professional who represented the Valley Forge Music Fair. During her prior stint in the music business with a few local R‘nB labels (Philly World Records, Montage Records), and at WUSL Power99 Radio and Revival dance club, Becker befriended performance artists (The Soubrettes) and musicians (Pretty Poison) who needed bios, videos and press releases, but were too small to bring into Weissman’s firm. 

When Weissman passed in 1987, Becker decided to open an agency with the help of her life partner Pam Derderian, who had begun her own sports marketing business while at Temple as a scholarship athlete, and was representing Martina Navratilova. According to Becker, “Pam just planned to help get the agency off the ground” but today, still leads client relations and business development as CEO of the agency. 

In alignment with their combination of sports and entertainment backgrounds, “15 Minutes” managed PR and marketing for numerous consumer events in the region, including the Philadelphia Home Show, the Philadelphia Boat Show, The National Dog Show presented by PurinaÒ and hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, State Fairs,  RV and outdoor shows, food and craft shows, and the Greater Philadelphia EXPO Center at Oaks. The agency launched PrideFest, the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Geographical Society of Philadelphia’s GeoFest. 

Following their philanthropic and personal interests, they developed relationships with non-profits and created their own hybrid programs, like the Visa Rainbow Card, partnering with Travelers and CitiBank, Subaru of America, British Airways and Orbitz, raising millions for LGBTQ+ causes; Plan-It Greener for green-build solutions; and Billie Jean King’s GreenSlam. They continue to consult with environmental organizations (Alliance for Watershed Education) and social equity causes. PWD and the Free Library of Philadelphia are current clients for which they support marketing initiatives like POOL: A Social History of Segregation and the forthcoming Floating Water Workshop, a state-of-the-art science center on the Delaware.  

The pair have maintained their business for nearly forty years, juggling daily work and family life, having adopted their daughter Kali 25 years ago.  Nancy is on the Board of Directors for the Blue & Green Fund, a Pennsylvania-based 501(C)(3) with the goal of engaging the public with nature-based solutions to some of the planet’s most critical challenges, as well as Hawaiian Ethos, a Hawaii-based medical marijuana research and production company, and volunteers with Colonial Area Anti-Racism and Social Equity Alliance.