Sammis & Ochoa is a full-service public relations firm, specializing in the following practices and industries:
Sport and Entertainment
Tanya Sammis | Co-owner
Education: Double graduate of The University of Texas with a B.S. in Public Relations in 2004 and a M.Ed. in Sport Management in 2007
Industry Experience: 8 years
Tanya is the heart and soul of Sammis & Ochoa. For more than seven years, she has dedicated her career to the promotion of her clients and their endeavors. Tanya’s experience includes management positions in public relations and the non-profit industry, in addition to community- and media-related work in the sports industry.
She has managed public relations and event coordination accounts for non-profits including Eva’s Heroes, the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner and the AT&T Championship. Her corporate accounts consist of the International Academy of Design and Technology-San Antonio, Fitness Porvida, The Prestigious Mark, Champion AC and The Plastic and Cosmetic Center of South Texas.
Tanya’s expertise lies in media relationships and coverage, as well as producing and managing full-scale events. She has served as the event coordinator for fundraising events including the Second Annual Tony and Eva Parker Celebrity Casino Night, Gridiron Heroes Friday Night Lights Season Premieres and the Texas Great American Tribute, among others.
She has a passion for sports and enjoys sitting on the Sales & Marketing Committee for San Antonio Sports. She also serves as the public relations chair for the San Antonio affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Her mission is simple: To touch the life of everyone she meets.
Mario Ochoa | Co-Owner
Education: Communication Arts – University of the Incarnate Word
Industry Experience: 11 years
Mario is the resident optimist for San Antonio’s Sammis & Ochoa. He specializes in media relations, copywriting, community outreach planning, and looking at the glass half-full.
As a native San Antonian, Mario is committed to the city and brings with him a profound affection for the development of his hometown. From the bustling and burgeoning center city to the vivid cultural scenes of the Westside, if it’s San Antonio, Mario will rally behind it.
Starting as a student journalist for the University of the Incarnate Word Logos, Mario has accumulated over 12 years of experience in the media and public relations industry.
In his tenure as a public relations practitioner, he has handled accounts for regional small businesses – Express Information Systems, JC Food Mart, and others – large corporate entities – Career Education Corporation, Screamworks Entertainment, Gladiator Events, and others.
Mario also is an active local speaker and regularly presents at high school and university-level institutions on public relations best practices. He is also a rotating member of the Gang of Four radio program hosted by Jack Riccardi on KTSA 550 AM San Antonio.
However, nothing jazzes him more than learning. An avid reader of anything he can get his hands on, Mario has been known to devote hours online and offline to learning about the world – its cultures, its communities and its eccentricities. If you can’t find him at his desk, look for him reading a book on his tablet or surfing Wikipedia.
His mission is simple: To energize people!
Allie Benson | Account Coordinator
Education: B.A. Public Relations – Texas State University – San Marcos – 2011
Industry Experience: 3 years
Allie launched her career as an intern with Sammis & Ochoa in January 2011. During her tenure she expanded her knowledge of the industry. She then graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in French.
During the summer of 2010, Allie studied abroad at the University of Rennes II in Rennes, France to broaden herknowledge of the French language and culture. She also has a passion for volunteering in her community and stands by the quote, “Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on this earth.”
Allie serves on the staff of Texas Bluebonnet Girls State, an American Legion Auxiliary sponsored program geared toward teaching high school-aged girls the principles and practices of state and local government. She has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary since the summer of 2011. Allie also sits on the Marketing Committee of LOOP, a group dedicated to transforming San Antonio into a premiere city of choice for talented, motivated and innovative young professionals. When she’s not working, Allie enjoys going to the movies and cheering for the San Antonio Spurs.
Her mission is simple: To help others make a lasting impact though the power of communication.
Aquila Mendez-Valdez | Account Coordinator
Education: B.A. Public Relations – Western Kentucky University 2010
Industry Experience: 5 years
Aquila Mendez-Valdez joined our team in spring 2011 and is our resident traveler with homes in both San Antonio and Veracruz, Mexico.
Her career began at Western Kentucky University, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Public Relations, completed two internships and graduated summa cum laude in the process.
She was also a member of the WKU Volleyball team, compiling All-Conference honors and academic awards at the national level. In addition to her athletic endeavors, Aquila was the Vice President of Jobs and Internships for the Public Relations Student Society of America. After graduating from WKU in May 2010, she began her Master’s in Communications and Leadership through Gonzaga University’s online program. She is set to graduate in December 2012 and is enjoying the challenge of completing an advanced degree while pursuing her career.
In February 2011, she founded a fashion and beauty blog, Haute in Texas, where she and her blog partner post daily in the hopes of providing women with fun, intelligent content they can use in their everyday lives. Her passions include social media, corporate social responsibility, and media relations. When she has a spare moment, she enjoys reading, writing and playing volleyball. She is married to her college sweetheart, Orlando, and they recently welcomed their first child, Cora, into the world. They also have a Bichon Frise named Frenchie.
Her mission is simple: To infuse her team members and clients with her spirit of ingenuity, entrepreneurship and determination.
Erica Jones | Account Coordinator
Education: In Progress – B.A. Business Administration and Communication – Trinity University 2012
Industry Experience: 2 years
Erica held an internship in the spring of 2011 while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Trinity University.
She brings a journalist perspective to public relations, after working as the Life section editor of her university’s newspaper. Following graduation, Erica joined the Sammis & Ochoa team full-time, expanding her experience in the industry.
Erica led the development and execution of the inaugural 13th Floor Haunted House “Don’t Be a Monster,” campaign that focused on spreading an anti-bullying message to middle schoolers across San Antonio.
Outside of media and marketing, Erica enjoys baking, swimming and reading. She enjoys exploring San Antonio with friends and spending time with her cat, Waffles.
Her mission is simple: To connect with and engage audiences in bold, dynamic ways.
Valerie Perez | Office Manager
Education: B.A. Fashion Design and Merchandising – International Academy of Design and Technology – 2013
Industry Experience: 9 years
Valerie is the adhesive that holds our fast-paced office together. She joined our team in the spring of 2010. She recently graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising.
Valerie maintains over nine years of experience in corporate office management and specializes in internal communication. Her expertise spans all areas of office management, including vendor management, data collection and entry, billing, collections, and human resources.
In April of 2011, Valerie founded Verseau, a made-to-order women’s apparel line. She is also working to publish a series of books on topics of abuse, grief and emotional trauma to benefit local non-profit organizations.
In her spare time, she enjoys sewing and knitting and gets a real thrill from completed crossword puzzles.
Her mission is simple: To create a harmonious and unified work environment.