“At first it was like a dodgeball game. We threw whatever we could catch at each other,” says Christian Reed-Ogba, CEO of Bethany East PR. She has built the company up with her husband, Uchennaya, who serves as COO.
Uchennaya Ogba (Uche for short) had been a practicing electrical engineer at a solar array company for six months before he discovered he had a different calling. “I realized that I was helping the salespeople because I would talk to clients about the solar arrays,” he says. He found that the marketing of the arrays appealed to him more. “But I didn’t feel like I had ownership.” Uche decided to leave his job.
"I learned a lot about San Antonio in the process.”
Faced with a massive change in his life, Uche returned to San Antonio, where he had graduated from Trinity University. “I was really interested in marketing so I became a used car salesman,” he explains, “It really brought me out of my shell. It helped me to communicate better. And I learned a lot about San Antonio in the process.”
Christian and Uche at Good People SA
At the same time, Christian was using social media to establish herself in San Antonio after moving here from Detroit. “One day I was doing a tweet pic tour and Uche was one of the only followers I had accumulated,” she laughs. “I asked my followers where to go for happy hour. Uche suggested Azuca.”
“Because that’s was where I was going,” says Uche. And that’s where they met. They ended up talking for several hours. Six months later, they were married.
Christian and Uche bounced creative marketing ideas off each other so often that it just made sense to start their own business. “My first name is actually Christian-Bethany. Uche and I are from the Eastside in our communities. So we came up with Bethany East.”
Participants at Bethany East's Good People SA
Bethany East is a full service marketing and public relations firm that engages niche audiences. After the initial hustle of getting it going, they’ve streamlined their processes. “Uche does most of our graphic design and builds the website,” says Christian, “things I couldn’t round out as a writer and content curator.” Christian says Uche is a natural when it comes to marketing and his engineering training actually gives him an advantage. “He’s still a problem solver,” she explains, “engineers know how to identify problems and they create really great project plans.”
“I describe our work as transitional,” she continues, “We help clients get to the next level of business.” The team at Bethany East loves to connect people with who they want to meet, a passion that drove the event series ‘Good People SA,’ one of the city’s largest networking events. “I love using my network to create amazing, beautiful experiences.”
“What I love most about San Antonio is it allows you to do stuff that’s new.”
“We love that our clients allow us to think outside the box,” says Christian. She’s had the opportunity to transform spaces from Hayes Street Bridge to Houston Street and everything in between. “What I love most about San Antonio is it allows you to do stuff that’s new.”
Soul Saturday, an event by Good People SA, took place near Hayes Street Bridge.
Bethany East has even represented San Antonio on the world stage. “We partnered with ChooseSA at SXSW,” says Uche, “We had about 5,000 people come through every day, which was awesome.” In addition, they brought the City and twelve partners to SelectUSA, a national conference that encourages foreign investment in U.S. cities.
The couple calls the Westside home, utilizing the live-work space of the Gardens at San Juan Square. In their work they remain committed to San Antonio’s urban core. Christian says residents in neighborhoods surrounding downtown are excited about what’s happening. “Our neighbors want to join up with Downtown from the West to the East. They want to be involved in that.”
Christian and Uche attending the 2017 Centropolitan Awards. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
“We identified Downtown as a key area to communicate the city’s success,” says Uche. His interest in Downtown began when he first moved here as a student at Trinity. He recognized that many locals didn’t take ownership of Downtown. “I felt that there was some way that we could make an impact,” he explains, “this city is amazing, the people are great, and it has great culture.”
Moving through so many circles, it seem hard to find your center. But that’s what Christian says she likes about this city. “When I first got here I was trying to find my core. And I still haven’t found it yet,” she explains, “But that’s one of the biggest benefits of living in this city: That you can have so many circles that you operate in, cohabitate in, and create with, that you can be just your individual self and be accepted.”