We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Palanca and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margaret, how does your business help the community?
Yelp was launched to help people discover and connect with great local businesses. As a Community Director, I get to meet with so many great business owners around the Los Angeles area and market them to our community via showcasing them on our newsletters, social media (@yelpla), weekly Elite e-mails, events, and more.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started off in a sales/marketing role for print ads – you know the direct mail that you see typically once a week in your mailbox highlighting items on sale? Yep, I sold those prints to businesses. Somehow, after my time was up selling direct mailers, I ended up in a role where I handled the sales of trade show booths. It was a small company, and I essentially handled the production of these smaller scale booths at trade shows in Vegas like CES, SEMA, and MAGIC, as well as E3 in Los Angeles. That eventually lead me to an event production job where I facilitated a multi-million dollar production in Los Angeles, Orlando, and Germany for one of the top video game companies for three years. I loved all the event planning that led up to the big day – It was where I thrived. Once the event was put to motion, it was so nice to step back and watch everyone enjoy the event.
My background in event production ended up helping land my gig at Yelp as a Community Director. My passion for planning unique, fun, and unboring events carried over at Yelp by putting together community events which range from intimate dinner tastings, to a 500+ person 80’s prom night with a DeLorean just casually hanging out for a photo op featuring 30+ local businesses and entertainers. All of this is done to help create a feeling of being connected to a community and highlighting all things that make LA so special.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a great question as I love being a tourist in my own city. What makes LA so unique and beautiful is the fact that it is so diverse. There are so many amazing neighborhoods within short distances from each other. Quite literally speaking, you can go to the beach and soak up the sun and drive out east to the San Gabriel mountains to hit the slopes. Even beyond that, LA is a beautiful melting pot. You will find cuisines from every culture here.
With that being said, I’d probably start with taking them to breakfast at a food hall like Grand Central Market in DTLA. For one, I think the Grand Central Market is a great example of the LA culture, with foods from different cultures, there’s food for every person’s palette. Secondly, Grand Central Market is not as packed in the mornings, so it’s a win-win! Other cool spots would include taking a drive up PCH to hit the either the Malibu or Venice Beach piers. Stopping by a local brewery to sample some beer, take a hike through Runyon Canyon or Eaton Canyon for some nature, grab some tacos from some local street taco vendors, paddle boat in Long Beach, go on a little shopping spree at a local farmer’s market – sky’s the limit. LA has so much to offer, I feel like one week would barely scratch the surface of LA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I grew up in a first generation Filipinx-American household. I was told by my family that I was to be a nurse or work in some type of medical field when I got older, instead I chose to be in marketing. I was completely afraid of what challenges were ahead of me as I really knew nobody in the industry, but I knew the medical industry wasn’t for me.
I’ve been very fortunate to always be surrounded by talented individuals at all of my jobs, including at Yelp. One specific person, Cassandra Michler, really struck me as a young, hard-working individual who was driven to reach her goals. We both worked at an event production company which handled multi-million dollar events. Her goal was to eventually build her own event production company one day, and before she turned 30, she did just that. Her passion and eagerness drove me to want more out of my life and find a career that I was proud to work for and not just a 9-5, clock-in to clock-out job. I decided to find a career that was more in line with my goals which lead me to where I’m at today at Yelp.
Cass, if you’re reading this, you’re a rockstar and an inspiration!