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Meet Laurel McFarlane of McFarlane Promotions in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurel McFarlane.

Laurel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I finished college and was having a hard time finding a job. I started an internship with the Gaslamp Quarter Association and realize how much I loved events. There were three people who were on the board at that time and they encouraged me to open my own company. Without their encouragement, I would never have had the courage to take this huge risk to go on my own and build a company from the ground up. I worked on the very first Taste of Gaslamp, which is the very first and now the longest running tasting event in San Diego that I am still a part of today.

After that first stride, I went and pitched the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation a St. Patrick’s Day Block Party. I had no idea what I was doing but they said yes and used that event to go out on my own. I have always thought that if I put my mind to something and worked hard enough, it could happen and for the most part that has always been true!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Simply put, no. You will have challenges with clients, events and sponsors but you always find a way to do the right thing and work through it. Personally, it is not the easiest job owning an event company and having four kids. It can be hard to strike a good balance, but my kids and husband support me and come to help at events. Even though we might be working, we still get to spend time together and they also learn what it is to work hard and see your dreams come true and your vision.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the McFarlane Promotions story. Tell us more about the business.
One of the things that I am most proud about is that 70 percent of our business is non-profit and we have helped these non-profits over the years to raise millions of dollars to do good all over San Diego. We are known for large-scale production events and signature events for cities and clients. We are also super creative and think of new innovative ideas that keep events fresh. We are always re-inventing.

We coordinate SD Pride, La Mesa Oktoberfest, The Chargers 50th Anniversary Party, Chula Vista Centennial Celebration, Opening of the Petco Park, Stone Anniversary Celebration and Invitational, the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance and many others.

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business?  If so –who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.
I have always had really amazing people cheering me on. My husband has been out there with me at 3:00 AM doing overnights or listening to my struggles and knows exactly how to keep encouraging and inspiring me to do what I love.

I have also had some wonderful employees that ended up being some of the greatest people that I know. I have never advertised my business, so my clients have always been what has lead me to the next event or project. I feel like if you do an excellent job for your clients then the things you are capable of will speak for itself.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 619-233-5008
  • Email:

Image Credit:
Gaslamp District Media

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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