After 3+ years leading the charge for Yelp Fresno as Yelp’s Community Ambassador, we’re shining the spotlight on Nicola B. Whether penning an issue of The Local Yelp featuring some of the most Yelper-beloved businesses in Fresno or throwing parties to connect the Yelp Community with amazing local businesses, Nicola B definitely knows her way ‘round town. Read on to learn more about the life of a Community Ambassador and a bit more about Fresno from this local expert to boot!
How did you land this position?
Sheer good fortune! Back in 2010, I worked for Yelp in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, when the company was first launching in Europe. Once the Community Manager role was set up there, a colleague of mine got the job, and I attended a few of his events. Fast-forward to 2016 and I was moving to my husband’s hometown of Fresno, CA (where I’d been a frequent visitor for many years). It was blind luck that when I was job searching, I decided to check whether Yelp Fresno had a similar role and found the Fresno CA job listing.
What‘s your ideal Fresno day?
Ideal is ideal, right, so it’d have to be Spring. I’d have a wee walk around Woodward Park, maybe at the Shinzen Friendship Garden. Food-wise, though, the first stop simply has to be at Red Apple Cafe, which serves a dynamite corn beef hash. Then I’d probably head down to the Tower District to read with a cup of coffee for a bit, either at Hi-Top or The Revue.
In the evening, nothing beats hitting up a 99 Golden Ale and some of the amazing taco trucks at Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden, before heading to Chukchansi Park for a Grizzlies baseball game. (Did you know our MLB parent teams have won the World Series 5 out of the last 10 years?!) If it’s a soccer night, the Fresno Zorros also put on a great evening with the help of their supporters’ clubs, too.
What’s something about Fresno that outsiders might get wrong?
Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California, but if it were in almost any other state it would be a second or third city. I think people overlook Fresno’s size and diversity. Fresno County is also the number one agricultural area in the United States! Next time you eat an almond, pistachio, or grape, it’s likely it was grown in this region. (In fact, the first local brand I recognized the first time I landed in Fresno was Sun Maid!)
Outside of ag, though, Fresno has grown and changed a lot, even in the past three years. Not only is a great deal of the nation’s food grown here, folks around here really know how to cook, too. The food is fantastic here. There’s a thriving art scene in the Cultural Arts District downtown, there are more wineries than you can shake a stick at, and we also have new breweries and locally-owned coffee shops popping up all over town.
What’s your biggest learning from your experience as Community Ambassador?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that connecting people with great local businesses is really fun and rewarding! The locals here love making the most of their city, and there are tons of amazing businesses here that have a lot to offer. I love seeing my community’s surprise and delight in new experiences, whether it’s watching the process of bean to bar chocolate being made or their first taste of curry pizza.
How has the CA program changed during your 3+ years as Community Ambassador?
There was a lot of change around the time I joined the team and I think it was a time of renewed focus. Now that those fundamentals are firmly in place, I think we CAs have been given license to lead our communities in the ways we see fit: whether that’s focusing on gratitude for the businesses we work with, or always being adventurous, or fostering community giving. Yelp has always trusted us to know our own markets, and I think that sense of ownership has allowed us all to serve our communities in really special ways.
Why is the Community Ambassador role important in your local community?
It brings people together! Fresno is pretty spread out and it can be hard to break out of your neighborhood. It’s easy to hear whispers on the wind about that new sushi place in Woodward Park or the amazing new bar downtown and never find a solid reason to get your ass over there. Hosting events around town gives people a great reason to go that extra mile (literally) and check out a new place, and I always see them making new friends in the process.
Just can’t get enough of Nicola? Check out all of her reviews on Yelp! If you still want more, follow along on Instagram as she continues to explore Fresno. Want to learn more about the Community Ambassador program and available positions? Check out yelp.com/careers.