The GDC Marketing & Ideation Story
Our journey began on November 14, 1995 when Frank Guerra founded our company and was quickly thereafter joined by Trish DeBerry and Tess Coody. The three partners envisioned an agency that would produce results-driven, research-backed work for clients and allow employees to prioritize family and personal time. They did this by championing employees and creating a vibrant culture, which propelled us toward success. We began as a corporate communications company with Citibank and H-E-B and soon after expanded to full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations work with additional clients in health care, telecom, and government.
In February 2012, two of the original partners decided to pursue other professional interests while Frank Guerra remained at the helm of GDC and we changed our name to what it is today: GDC Marketing & Ideation. Frank promoted Beth Ochoa to chief operating officer in 2007 and to partner in 2013. Carey Quackenbush, who had been contributing his strategic creativity to the agency since 2007, was named a partner in 2017. As part of GDC’s established succession plan, Beth — who had been with the company since 1999 — was promoted to CEO in January 2020. Roughly two months later, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
While a lot of businesses hunkered down and went into survival mode, Beth worked to expand GDC’s operational reach and led the agency’s launch of new spinoff companies, including Recon Digital Media in February 2020 and GDC Studios in July 2022. Recon filled a gap in the industry by offering an agency fully dedicated to digital media while leveraging traditional marketing platforms through GDC, and GDC Studios met our clients’ needs for turnkey video and radio production work. Under Beth’s leadership, GDC also expanded its experiential department during the pandemic, purchasing digital trucks in 2021 that provide remote branding and video services.
Today, GDC Marketing & Ideation continues to be a trailblazer and innovator. We invest in our people, our effervescent culture continues to set us apart, and our comprehensive, sometimes unorthodox, multi-faceted solutions help our clients conquer challenges. Almost three decades into our history, GDC remains at the cutting edge of marketing and as our CEO likes to say, we have plans for world domination.
Beth's ability to build and lead teams is matched only by her vast knowledge and experience in the marketing and advertising industry. She is an entrepreneur at heart, has a keen sense for numbers, is an excellent and captivating storyteller, and is a leader in every sense of the word.
Beth graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in radio, TV and film. She has been a proud member of GDC Marketing & Ideation since 1999. Her abilities as a communicator and a leader, sense of humor, and superior work ethic have singled her out as a subject matter expert and person to watch in her field. Beth was responsible for acquiring Sprint/Nextel to GDC’s roster of clients and leading the account’s national field marketing efforts for more than four years. She also has an impressive background in health care marketing, spearheading GDC’s strategic development for Baptist Health System and Resolute Health.
She led GDC’s launch of spinoff companies, including Recon Digital Media in February 2020 and GDC Studios. in July 2022. Recon filled a gap in the industry by offering an agency fully dedicated to digital media while leveraging traditional marketing platforms through GDC Marketing & Ideation. GDC Studios met our clients’ need for turnkey video and radio production work. Under Beth’s leadership, GDC also expanded its experiential department during the pandemic, purchasing digital trucks in 2021 that provide remote branding and video services.
One of Beth’s personal passions is helping families coping with drug addiction. As such, she sits on the board of trustees of Rise Recovery, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving, supporting, educating and inspiring teens, young adults and families challenged with the effects of substance use disorder.
When she’s not fearlessly leading GDC, Beth enjoys spending time on South Padre Island and San Miguel de Allende with her husband, their blended family, and five (count ‘em, five) dogs.
Carey’s strategic thinking, creative experience and diversified marketing background are at the heart of GDC’s “Ideation” and identity. He has a rare combination of high intelligence and emotional quotients, quick wit, and a presence that commands attention.
Before joining the GDC Marketing & Ideation team, Carey gained creative experience as a copywriter at BBDO Houston working across all media for national clients including Pizza Hut and Havoline. He entered GDC as an associate creative director and quickly worked his way up the ranks. At GDC, he developed award-winning campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the San Antonio Spurs and many more.
As GDC’s chief ideation officer, Carey leads the charge to translate client objectives into cognitive and emotional connections with target audiences. The result is a creative product that is meaningful to the audience, actionable to the client, and beneficial to all. This is often done through a proprietary process created and implemented by Carey known as MirrorBranding™. This agile approach allows GDC to deliver highly executable brand articulations to our clients in weeks instead of months. Brands like Whataburger and Trinity University have benefitted from this process which seeks to translate a company’s goals and values in a way that connects with target audiences.
In addition to his vast experience working on the creative side of marketing and advertising, Carey’s drive to immerse himself in all aspects of his clients’ business led him to seek out an M.B.A. with a focus on marketing management. Carey also holds a B.S. in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, where he successfully completed the highly competitive Texas Creative sequence. Carey also serves as board chair for Project MEND, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for individuals in Texas living with disabilities and illness through the refurbishment, reuse and distribution of medical equipment and other assistive technology.
When not coming up with bold, strategic and creative campaigns, Carey enjoys spending time with his wife, son, dog and bearded dragon.
Michele uses her strong strategic and organizational skills to lead and manage the day-to-day operations of GDC. Her experience in marketing, advertising, PR, and broadcast journalism allow her to respond to client and agency needs in multi-faceted and creative ways.
Michele first joined GDC close to 25 years ago, in the earliest days of the agency after working on the national PR team for Builders Square with Anderson Advertising. She used her experience in public relations and broadcast journalism to help GDC clients like Citibank and H-E-B create internal communication campaigns to engage their teams across the country. Michele quickly moved up the ranks and was named group account director for all agency retail and consumer packaged goods clients, including the shopper marketing team at Procter & Gamble with a focus on over 300 H-E-B stores in Texas and 3,500 Albertsons stores across the U.S.
While at GDC, using insights from her CPG and retail experience, she became a founding partner in CartStart™, an in-aisle sales application for retail employees. Funded in part by Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Revlon, L’Oreal and others, the app was leveraged by over 80 H-E-B beauty departments in Texas to help store beauty advisors position the right hair, skin, or cosmetic brand based on customers’ needs.
After leaving GDC in 2015, Michele focused on her two passions — children’s mental health and education — and worked in leadership roles for Clarity Child Guidance Center and KIPP Texas Public Schools. Michele accepted the opportunity to re-join GDC as the chief operating officer in 2020.
Michele is an alumna of Leadership San Antonio and sits on the LSA Alumni Association board of directors. She is married and has two children in college.
With over 25 years in finance, MaryLou works her magic to keep GDC on track and on budget. That means a strong future for the agency and a better experience for clients.
Since 1996, MaryLou has worked in accounting and financial planning for large and small businesses alike. She put her financial expertise to work mostly for contracting and construction companies until 2007 when she accepted her first position in advertising, marketing, and broadcasting with Taylor West.
At Taylor West, she not only managed day-to-day office administration and accounting, but also coordinated client activities with account service and managed relationships between account service, traffic and media. In 2014, she became staff accountant at The PM Group overseeing accounting and managed relationships between account service, traffic and media. After a couple of years, she was promoted to accounting manager and moved to The PM Group’s sister companies, Quarter Moon Productions and CSAV where she managed all accounting activities and helped coordinated and managed relationships between studios, live and on location productions.
In September 2021, MaryLou joined the accounting and finance team at GDC. She is a proud sixth generation native San Antonian and member of a large military family. She is also a proud mother of two and grandmother of one. When she’s not expertly handling budgets for GDC and our clients, MaryLou enjoys listening to podcasts, meditating, spending time in nature, playing with her two dogs, traveling, and visiting family.
Ana-María’s vast experience in both the general and Hispanic markets, along with her unique bicultural background, ideally position her to help GDC clients connect with their audiences.
Ana-María has a degree in radio, TV and film with a minor in journalism and an emphasis in broadcasting from the University of Southern Mississippi. She started her career as a news anchor, reporter, and producer then moved to San Antonio, where her bilingual skills were an asset in the advertising agency world. Her account experience covers a diverse range of clients and brands including IBC Bank, Christus Santa Rosa Health Care, Luby’s, Procter & Gamble, and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
In addition to working with brands and clients, Ana-María has also worked extensively in corporate communications, with a focus on seeking inclusivity for employees of diverse backgrounds, countries of origin, and native languages. She has conducted national media tours for corporate executives, helped plan significant events at a statewide level with dignitaries, developed strategic public relations communications plans and helped clients address crisis situations. At GDC, she leads quantitative and qualitative research initiatives and helps guide strategy for all our clients.
When she’s not helping GDC clients connect with diverse audiences, Ana-María enjoys traveling, gardening, home improvement projects, and spending time with her daughter and four-legged family members. Together, they foster cats and dogs of all ages, get them ready for adoptive homes, and educate people on the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
Tita views life through her unique bicultural and bilingual lens. She leverages that vast experience, creative mind, and strong ability to foster respectful relationships between co-workers and departments to spark distinctive ideas and deliver amazing products for clients.
Tita hails from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Her experience creating in both Spanish and English makes her an invaluable asset to GDC, and her nurturing work style makes her the ideal leader for the creative team. After earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University, Tita worked as a bilingual copywriter and broadcast producer for a number of agencies including Garcia 360, Cartel Creativo, Shooters Films, and MarketVision. At these agencies, she gained experience by writing for major brand names including Coca-Cola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fisher-Price, and The Hershey Company.
After joining GDC as a bilingual copywriter in 2014, Tita set herself apart through her work on campaigns for clients such as Mi Pueblo Food Center and Baptist Health System. After five years with the agency, Tita was promoted to associate creative director. In 2022, she was named creative director. Since then, she has led the creative team on work for Texas CASA, the iconic Don’t mess with Texas® campaign, the Office of the Texas Secretary of State’s voter education campaign, and TxDOT’s award-winning statewide impaired driving campaign.
Tita spends her free time enjoying her family, sketching, watching movies and listening to live music. She, her husband, and their three boys all love the outdoors. They go on camping trips to Colorado and the grill is always lit over the weekends.
Lisa has a gift for knowing the best way to reach people through creative, cost‐effective media solutions. She is a natural leader and evokes media buying and planning excellence from her team. Her background includes extensive media planning and placement at local, regional and national levels.
With more than two decades of experience in media, Lisa brings a sense of professionalism and competency that clients value greatly. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word, Lisa began her media career working with Media Rare and Proof Advertising, where she gained experience by working with diverse clients.
Lisa joined the GDC team in 2003 and has proved an invaluable asset to both her co-workers and clients before branching out to become a partner for Recon Digital Media. Brands that have benefitted from Lisa’s work ethic and experience include Victory Capital Management, Procter & Gamble, Baptist Health Systems, Sprint PCS, the Witte Museum and many more.
After a day of hard work, Lisa loves to unplug by gardening and camping. She lives in San Antonio with her three dogs.
With more than two decades of industry experience, Marcie specializes in audience engagement through all modes of communication including experiential marketing, community relations, and grassroots outreach.
As our experiential director, Marcie brings her extensive background in public relations to lead the experiential marketing team in planning and presenting interactive brand experiences that excite audiences and produce measurable results.
With her organizational skills and focus on creating activations that are unique and memorable, she has helped to produce unforgettable experiences for brands like Amazon, P&G, Citi, H-E-B, Baptist Health System, Don’t mess with Texas and the Texas Department of Transportation.
Marcie is involved in the community as a board member of 100 Women of SA. She is an alumna of Leadership San Antonio Class 35.
GDC’s employee-first culture has had a ripple effect on more than our employees; It has impacted the brands we serve, including global Fortune 100 companies. We’ve been both an example and an advocate for workplace culture in Texas. Here are some of the reasons why:
In 2021, we began offering month-long sabbaticals to employees who have been with the agency five years or more. We are proud to be among the 5% of companies nationwide who offer this type of program. Our first employees to take advantage of that benefit have returned with renewed vigor and love for their job and GDC. To read more about their experiences, take a look at our <link>sabbatical blogs.
The Boomerang Effect
Our incomparable culture has created an unexpected benefit: The Boomerang Effect. GDC employees — including our chief operating officer, chief strategy officer, account service team members and others — boomeranged back to GDC after leaving to gain outside experience at other agencies and areas of work. There’s no higher compliment than having employees who leave want to come back, and their returns further strengthen our team and culture.
Hybrid Work Model
The hybrid work model kept countless organizations afloat during the pandemic. We chose to continue to use this method because of the effectiveness and flexibility it offered our employees. Outside of San Antonio, GDC employees reside in other cities including Austin and Houston. Our hybrid office allows our team living in other markets to collaborate, learn, and introduce new systems and processes. Our onboarding process prioritizes creating “lifelines” when working remotely so employees have a strong sense of connection.
Year-Long Leadership Cohort
Agency partners Beth Ochoa and Carey Quackenbush followed in the former partners’ footsteps, continuing the GDC legacy. This leadership transition inspired the creation of the GDC Leadership Cohort, a succession program proactively sculpting the future of the agency. It is rare to find a small business make this investment in their future leaders and exemplifies GDC’s uniqueness. With each cohort, GDC conducts 360 reviews, goal setting, monthly meetings, and shadowing opportunities for each participating individual. The cohorts are challenged to take on a large-scale project to make GDC even stronger.
GDC invests in people. GDC’s paid internship program provides individuals the opportunity to build their work portfolios and learn the ropes of the industry while earning an hourly wage. Not only do participants gain a wealth of experience working on real world challenges, but some standouts have even gained full-time employment at GDC. We also support the Army Career Skills program (CSP) which provides service members the opportunity to gain employment training to enhance their skills and work experience in hopes of launching a second career after the military.
Our staff-led culture committee is aimed at enhancing agency culture. Members host twice-a-month opportunities for GDCers to unite, develop genuine relationships, and become a stronger team through meaningful connections. Events include ice cream socials, book clubs and volunteering (such as Adopt-a-Highway). And, by the way, our culture committee parties are legendary. Just ask anyone who’s attended our annual Fiesta extravaganza.
Training Tuesdays are well attended “lunch and learn” professional development sessions GDC hosts each week. We host these to grow knowledge and insight for individuals and teams, and as a chance to use the subject matter experts within our organization to share what they know, what they learned at a recent conference, trends, innovations, and more. Our post-session surveys tell us attendees feel these sessions are valuable and that they always learn something new.
As innovators and pioneers who are wired to create solutions, GDC created a substantially subsidized, on-site daycare in 1996 to meet the needs of our many employees with young children. The daycare was fully staffed with a director, teachers and caregivers. GDC served as a pioneer and inspiration for companies interested in having a daycare program in their small business. Eight moms from the agency collaborated with two members of the Bexar County legislative delegation to write legislation allowing small businesses in Texas to have an on-site childcare facility without having to become a licensed childcare center. The law passed in its first attempt in 2002, and was updated in 2004. In addition to consulting with other small businesses, GDC was recognized for its contribution in The Wall Street Journal, Working Mother magazine, INC., The Magazine, Southwest Airlines’ in-flight publication, and many more across the state and country. The GDC team identified a need and created a solution. Not only was the daycare a benefit for employees, but for the company as a whole, and for other companies throughout the state of Texas.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Ideation Officer
& Graphic Designer
& Graphic Designer
Junior Art Director
Chantel Gallegos Nasits
Director of IT