Day in the Life of a Yelp Community Manager

Hard to believe over 2 years ago we started developing profiles for some of the most sought after jobs at Yelp. At the time, Yelp had 250 employees and two offices. Today, in 2011, we have over 700 employees worldwide and offices in San Francisco, New York, Phoenix and London. But that growth doesn’t mean we’ve stopped hiring — anything but! In fact, as Yelp continues to expand, we’re seeing even more exciting opportunities emerge, so we thought: why not show you once again just what happens in the “Day of the Life” of employees at Yelp!

We're kicking off the series with one of our most familiar faces: Don Bourassa, Senior Community Manager for Yelp Portland.

When Don’s not dressing like a bearded lady (only sometimes), this ex-lawyer is photo-shopping colleague’s heads onto the Terminator, spinning disks or spreading the good Yelp word via his 1,000+ reviews and insanely creative events. Check out more about the “Day in the Life” of this Community Manager below!


What did you do before coming to Yelp?
Believe it or not I used to be a lawyer. Not the sit-in-a-room-and-read-books-all-day kind of lawyer (okay, well, I did that some days), but the kind that wheels and deals on the courthouse steps and puts on a show for the jury. However it wasn’t lawyering alone that landed me on the steps of Yelp Headquarters. In my off time I used to throw parties. From small underground events to giant music showcases, I did it all: planning, designing, marketing and executing. I’ve been an underground music DJ for over a decade. I also spent a lot of time exploring the city — eating, drinking, and going out — and loved to write about it. So you could say that the Yelp Community Manager (aka “CM”) job was a perfect fit for my lifestyle — it’s all the things I love to do wrapped up like a delicious carne asada burrito and smothered in spicy salsa.

How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
I first heard about Yelp in 2007 from my friend Won M up in Seattle. Between my passion for food and drink and my burning desire to tell everyone what’s what, Yelp and I were quickly off to a 5-star relationship. After a year of writing reviews, attending (and DJ’ing) Yelp Community events and being extremely jealous of Laura N.’s job as CM, the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself: Laura went to open Yelp UK, and I jumped. I mean, to get paid to do what I used to do on the side just for fun? Who wouldn’t want that job?!

What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
The name tag on my (virtual) desk says I am a ‘Senior Community Manager.’ My community calls me ‘Fearless Leader.’ People in Portland call me ‘The Yelp Guy.’ My wife calls me… well, I won’t share that here. All I know is that I can’t believe it’s been 2.5 years since I started out as a Community Manager with Yelp (time flies when you’re having a blast). After 1.5 years of rocking the CM job I found myself in a position to take on a leadership role as a Senior Community Manager — a role that allowed me to continue to do all of my favorite aspects of my job while also mentoring the new kids and traveling. Now not only do I get to continue to build community in Portland, but visit other Yelp cities and help train the newbs.

What comprises a typical day for you?
There’s no such thing as a “typical” day for a CM, and that’s one of the best parts about the job. Each caffeine-fueled day can include a mix of all sorts of different stuff like writing reviews and newsletters; connecting with users and businesses online; lunching with potential media and event partners; attending exclusive restaurant, bar and festival openings; emceeing cocktail competitions; hosting Yelp happy hours and get-togethers;  speaking to groups of business owners and industry; throwing huge community events; and hitting the streets at festivals and large-scale events to shake hands and spread the good word about Yelp. Typical days only happen in boring jobs.

What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
Everything? I mean, what’s not awesome about working for Yelp? Seriously, I’ve done the 9-5 cubicle-farm thing, and I don’t miss it one bit. I am surrounded by brilliant, innovative minds. I work for a company with values like ‘Be Unboring.’ I’m constantly being challenged to break the playbook and devise more fun and authentic ways to do things. I work with a young, motivated group. I firmly believe in what I do: building community and supporting local businesses. Oh, and when I visit HQ, the keg is always cold!

What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
Favorite perk? You mean besides working from home, setting my own schedule, getting access to exclusive food and beverage events, travel, working with a group of motivated, intelligent people and having one of the coolest HQ’s in the world to visit a couple of times per year? Hmm… I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.

What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
Driving around downtown Vancouver BC in an RV covered in Yelp magnets during the 2010 Olympics hollering at hordes of people through my Yelp Megaphone while dressed in a red jumpsuit. How else do you turn heads at an event as saturated and noisy as the Olympics? Quote of the day: “If you love Canada, high-five a cop!”

What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
The Culture. It’s incredible here: Supportive, creative, intelligent and motivated. My coworkers are unboring, authentic, and they play well with others. Oh, and they work their tushes off. Everywhere I look there’s cause for inspiration, and the vibe is indominably positive.

Finally, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Keep it real. (Seriously — read our site slogan.)