Katie Burbank





California State University, Northridge

University of Michigan

This is the first in a two-part series about what it's like to work at Yelp. Make sure to check back tomorrow for part two of the series where we interview Brittany Bassett, Yelp's LA West community manager.

You've probably been encouraged more than once to try to make what you love your work. Well, for Katie Burbank, that love was her city — Los Angeles.

Katie is the LA East community manager for Yelp.com, the social networking, user review-based, online city guide. Yelp was Katie's go-to site for finding cool events around LA, when one day she noticed a job advertisement on the site. She loved her city, especially exploring new places and sharing LA with family, friends and visitors. Katie got the job and now spends her days working with business owners, planning or attending events, writing reviews and more. Her favorite part: Getting out of the "locals rut" of only frequenting the same places and experiencing all her home has to offer.

Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

How did you discover your current job?

Funny enough, I was poking around the site one day (it was my go-to site for finding cool events all over LA) and they just happened to have a job opening in LA. So I thought, you know what? I love exploring this fine city, I love people and I'm pretty passionate about helping friends, family, strangers make the most out of their LA experience. So I applied and luckily the company thought I was a good fit for the position, too!

What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?

The only thing typical about my day is the hunt to find a coffee shop with free wifi, free parking (or Metro adjacent) and available outlets! I like the environment of a coffee shop as opposed to working from home (there's no Yelp office here in LA), because it makes me feel more connected to my surroundings.

I do everything from educating business owners on the free tools available to them through the site to planning events for the Yelp Community all over LA -- from West Hollywood out to the San Gabriel Valley and everything in between. I pen the LA East Weekly Yelp Newsletter, attend events like festivals, beer tastings, gallery openings, etc. and partner with great organizations to help them connect with the Yelp Community. Oh, and I fit in time to write a review here and there!

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

I'm from LA so I think, like many, I had fallen into a routine of only frequenting the same establishments or types of events because it was most convenient, but this job has opened my eyes to all of the ridiculously amazing businesses, events and people that call LA home. There's something interesting to do at any given moment in this city. Conversely, the most challenging part of the job is keeping up with all the hustle and bustle. This town is susceptible to a great amount of turnover; however, that also means there's something new popping up quite often.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

As simple as it may seem, a handwritten thank you note is a lovely little touch that can really strengthen a relationship.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

Being assertive. While social media makes it easier for women to be heard, we're still cautioned to remain in a particularly feminine bubble.

What keeps you awake at night?

What do I have to do tomorrow?

Who are your role models?

I recently read an article in Los Angeles Magazine on Ann Philbin of The Hammer and I was immediately moved at her tenacity and passion for bringing a really infectious energy to LA. Her ability to transform something so traditional and stale into something magical that appeals to people of many different backgrounds is amazing. And of course, I wouldn't have the work ethic I have today if it weren't for my mom, Terri Burbank.

What are some of the rules you live by?

A shower can really help you start your day off right! Oh, and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Surround yourself with really creative people. They will not only inspire you to think outside of the box, but they're also a great network to lean on and learn from.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I've never really liked that question because life has a funny way of redirecting you when you least expect it.

What are three things you love aside from your job?

LA, craft beer, spontaneous dance parties and mock celebrity interviews on KROQ.