Unboring, tenacious, authentic, you bet Dánica embodies the Yelp values to a tee. As the Creative Art Director here at Yelp, Danica leads some of the most innovative and passionate designers and writers. If you want to know more about Danica’s goals, passions, her love for Yelp and how we get creative… scroll on.
How did you get into the creative world? What shaped it?
I was always a super curious kid, loved reading books – I’d get completely lost in stories and pictures for hours. I thought I would grow up to become a book designer, instead I grew up telling stories in a different way.
I was born and raised in Bolivia, and when I was 17, moved to San Francisco to go to art school. I worked as a printmaking teacher, publication designer, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer before pursuing a career in art direction. I landed at Yelp after many years of working and freelancing for advertising agencies. My creativity is fueled by my insatiable appetite for discovery and my commitment to tell stories that relate to the human experience.
What keeps you coming back to work everyday here at Yelp?
I see unbelievable potential and opportunity for the Brand. In a world swarming with unyielding technology, creativity alone has limited value. I work with a group of talented designers and writers to produce creative content that connects people to businesses across America. We strive to create mission driven stories that have the potential to shape our culture, and that’s exciting to me.
How do you inspire a team of creatives to do their best work?
One of my goals this year is to push the boundaries of what is expected from the creative team, to think of how we can collaborate with other teams within the company to help unify our message. I always tell my designers, “You can’t put out what you don’t take in,” so I encourage them to find what makes them tick as creatives, to absorb as much as they can to keep their ideas flowing. Whether it’s a creative brainstorm, a trip to the MoMa, a book or magazine, or browsing Yelp for beautiful photos, you never know when your next stroke of genius might come from, so I like to encourage them to stay inspired.
What’s the team culture like?
I feel lucky to work with a talented group of wildly creative and hard-working individuals. We have quarterly off-sites which I’m always grateful for because it allows us to bring the team together and celebrate all of the the hard work they do. And speaking of gratitude, a few of the creatives recently took it upon themselves to start a “gratitude jar”. The team now practices gratitude on a daily basis by jotting down things that make them feel happy, grateful, or compassionate on post-its. Every week, during our weekly sync, we pick a few to read aloud. That’s just a testament to the kind of humans they are and I’m constantly inspired by them.
What are you up to when you’re not at work?
I’m adventure prone, so I’m always down for taking trips, big or small. When I stay local, I love to cook and host dinner parties at home. In the summer, I like to take advantage of all the great outdoor music festivals the city has to offer. Stern Grove, Hardly Strictly, Fillmore Jazz Fest, to name a few.
What are some of your favorite local businesses in your city?
- Saru Sushi is a tiny – Michelin guide recommended – Japanese restaurant in my neighborhood.
- The Saloon is one of the oldest bars in SF. They play live blues every single night.
- Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts is near and dear to my heart. Despite the gentrification of the Mission over the years, it remains an authentic hub of Latino expression and culture.