News Column

Cool Jobs: For Yelp Indy manager, every day an adventure

August 31, 2014

By Jill Phillips, The Indianapolis Star



Aug. 31--Brittany Smith is a connector and a promoter.

As the senior community manager for Yelp Indy, Smith's job includes planning and hosting events, creating social media campaigns and partnering with festivals and community events to promote the businesses represented by Yelp.

Yelp Indy is part of a national brand that connects consumers to local businesses through its smartphone app and website. Individuals can get reviews on everything from diners to doctors.

Question: What makes your job "cool?"

Answer: One day I'm singing "Happy 10th birthday to Yelp" accompanied by foul-mouthed clowns on stage at White Rabbit Cabaret and the next I'm wearing a dirndl on TV and highlighting the city's top-rated German eats for the Oktoberfest season. Every day is an adventure beyond words. A few highlights include hosting a pingpong pool party with synchronized swimmers at the Lucas Oil Mansion to organizing a 100-person Yelp elite dinner party on CityWay's parking garage rooftop overlooking the city skyline and celebrating Indiana's harvest season.

Q: What is not so cool about your job?

A: There are not enough hours in the day. My brain is constantly on fire with ideas and opportunities to showcase the hundreds upon hundreds of great businesses in Indy and the people who run them.

Q: Why did you pursue this career? Did anyone encourage you do to do? If so, who?

A: I was working for Downtown Indy (formerly Indianapolis Downtown Inc.) when I met the community manager in my position before me at a Visit Indy meeting. I remember thinking, "that guy really stands against the pack" -- I need to learn more about this "Yelp thing" pronto. A few fun Yelp events and new friends later, I found myself at the reins. I had zero event planning experience and only had been out of college one year when I stepped in to the position. I can't thank my friends and family enough for the encouragement to take the leap.

Q: Are there any special qualifications or traits that help you to do this job?

A: I like to say I'm in the business of "fun" -- whether it be spreading the word about a new local doughnut shop or having my plumber join me on TV for our "Meet The Maker" series, every day is an adventure and that needs to be approached in an "unboring" manner. Being able to juggle a zillion things at once helps too.

Q: What skills do you think someone should have to be successful in this type of career?

A: A passion for local businesses and the community in which you live may not be considered skills but they definitely are requirements for this role. Being a connector comes in handy often -- for example, "Oh, you're starting a coffee roastery? Have you talked to XYZ brewery about working on something together or carrying your brew at that new bakery down the street?" Lastly, authenticity wins every time. This isn't a 9-to-5 job where you fill the requirements and go home at the end of the day. I live and breathe all that is Indy and all that is local.

Q: It seems review-based sites are fairly popular. How does Yelp stand out, and what trends have you seen?

A: Yelp stands out from the pack by taking an on-the-ground approach by hosting Yelp parties with local businesses, partnering with community events and serving as the cheerleader of all things Indy. It's more than just an app and website, it's a community of people who are jazzed to stay in the know on local businesses and events. I can't begin to tell you how many friends I have made through this job.

More about Brittany Smith

--Title: Senior community manager at Yelp Indy.

--Age: 25.

--Education: Communications and English major at Butler University.

--Prior position: Communications coordinator at Indianapolis Downtown Inc.

--Favorite quote: "We can make it happen." -- Rumor has it, I have a hard time accepting "no" for an answer.

___

(c)2014 The Indianapolis Star

Visit The Indianapolis Star at www.IndyStar.com

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Source: Indianapolis Star (IN)


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