Yelp’s Director of Business Outreach, Darnell Holloway, has been working with local business leaders, marketers, and managers for nearly a decade! Every day, his team works to help make businesses more successful. They’re out in full force hosting unique events, teaching workshops, and canvassing neighborhoods to reach the great local businesses on Yelp. Connecting those businesses with valuable education and networking opportunities is what leads to more success.
Keep reading to find out what’s next for this team.
Tell me about your background. How did you get into the business of wanting to help make businesses more successful? What shaped it?
My parents launched a family business in the early 2000’s. It was a limousine company and I got to see first hand the challenges you face as a small business entrepreneur. I also spent countless hours in college helping my dad polish limos so I got good perspective on the fact that small business owners really do it all. In a lot of cases they’re doing it all, but with limited resources.
After college, I went into the investment banking world and I came to realize it was pretty soul crushing. In 2009 I was looking for something more fulfilling, which would allow me to help people. I had a friend from college who worked at Yelp. She was so enthusiastic about the positive impact Yelp has on both the business and consumer communities that I was inspired to apply.
The experiences of supporting my family’s small business efforts along with my work at Yelp really shape my perspective today.
Tell me more about Business Outreach today and why people should be excited about it.
My team has educated over 100,000 business owners live in the past few years. Which is more than double the capacity of Yankee Stadium.
This matters because small business owners often wear many hats to run their business. So if we can teach them skills outside of their expertise, like online marketing, it can help make businesses more successful.
We also know that networking is incredibly important to business owners. So folks on my team act as a connector by hosting fun events to get people in the same room who may not otherwise meet. We keep hearing great stories about the connections business owners are making at our events so we’re excited to bring them to a bigger audience.
What keeps you coming back to work everyday at Yelp?
I love seeing the light bulb turn on above someone’s head when they learn something new, or have an inspiration. It could be someone who sits in an audience after one of my presentations or a business owner in another city raving about someone they met from my team. It’s so motivating to know we’re having a positive impact on small business entrepreneurs across the country.
Describe the team culture. Since a majority of your team is remote, what does the team try to do to bond with each other? Any fun offsites? Any fun projects?
The folks on my team are awesome. I feel fortunate to work with such a great group of talented people who want to help make businesses more successful. They wear a lot of hats, so there are some parallels to being a business owner in a way. To be successful in our world you have to be able to get up on stage and give a Ted style talk one day, host a party the next day, and do some blogging the day after that. It takes a special person to be able to do that and consistently make businesses more successful.
We all work in different cities across the country so we rely on technology to keep us connected. We do most of our meetings by video and we keep a group G chat going. Twice a year we all fly to one of our cities for Research + Development. We also LOVE a good GIF, the funnier the better.
What are you up to when you’re not at work?
I have a few side hustles. I recently moved from NYC to CHI but still split time between the two cities. In NYC I’m on the board of directors for Placeful.Org. Placeful is a non profit focused on revitalizing spaces in a sustainable way for local communities. The team there is currently working on revamping an area for local businesses and artists in East Harlem called La Marqueta.
I’m also a DJ and I’ve had a chance to play at some cool venues in both NYC and CHI.
What are some of your favorite spots in New York and Chicago?
I’m a big Chris Santos fan. So any time I’m in NYC I like to go by Stanton Social or Beauty and Essex. I’m still exploring CHI and the West Loop has a lot of great places. Aba is great and BLVD is solid too.
If you want to join Darnell’s team, take a look at the openings for Local Business Partner in LA + DC by clicking the button!