Why global professionals turn to tradition when it comes to dating Technology is being left out while modern matchmakers gain market share in the ever growing business of love, Kirsten Gray writes Transparency, values, and most importantly honesty was largely lost in the wave of dating apps in recent years. Besides these irksome realities, many, especially the elite, just don’t have the time to waste online. After matching people while working for Great Expectations in the 1980s, Jill Kelleher founded Kelleher International Matchmaking in San Francisco over 30 years ago. There was a real void for matchmaking, and she was good at it. “Kelleher launched in 86’, and many of my clients were high profile. They did not want to be seen by everyone. Today, the elevated professionals I work with do not want to be on Match or Tinder. They are picky, have busy schedules, and have to protect their assets,” says Jill. Today, with CEO and daughter Amber Kelleher-Andrews, Kelleher International has continued to grow which has made it one of the largest privately-owned matchmaking firms in the world. In the digital age, there is too much choice. Having someone narrow the choices to a pool of people you are more likely to be interested in is critical in finding ‘the one’. Algorithms, unlike their use with dating apps, are not part of the process in modern matchmaking services. “We do have a way of customizing the matchmaking, but it is not calculated by a computer. We start with the priorities, asking the most important questions first, and then work our way from there,” says Jill. The individuals that come on board with matchmaking services are serious. They have given a lot of thought on how they are going to find love; they have the right attitude, and also realistic expectations. With online dating, people are simply choosing from a few pictures, and their potential date’s perfected profile (if there is anything of value even in there). In matchmaking you are paired based on what’s beneath the facade. Many singles online are also only looking for entertainment. “Online dating has watered down courtship and the experience of dating. There’s an illusion of a bottomless pool of singles to choose from so swipe-happy singles don’t invest much effort - if any - in getting to know someone before they’re onto the next. Our matchmakers push back on those attitudes and make sure the clients are as thoughtful in the process as we are at making their matches,” Amber adds. So where are all of these serious, and eager to find lasting love singles coming from? “About 40% of our clients are referrals,” says Amber of Kelleher. “We love International referrals and are always excited to work with individuals overseas. With boots on the ground in several countries we are standing by and ready to search for specific matches no matter how picky someone is! Fortunate for us, our brand has been around for over 30 years and has been recognized both nationally and internationally as the top global matchmaking firm. People often know us best from television appearances and the airlines,” she adds. Kelleher’s exclusive introduction agency actively works with discerning and affluent clients in the UK and internationally and includes some of the world’s most jet-set men and women. And it’s not just male billionaires looking globally for a spouse using their services, successful women also turn to Kelleher International for confidential introductions. The way we work with these individuals is a specialized search based on their specific criteria. “Right now I am personally focused on finding an amazing man in his 40’s or 50’s for a beautiful female elite client who lives in London,” says Founder Jill Kelleher. Finding a perfect match could take as little as a month, to as long as a year, because it’s a lasting match that matters to modern matchmakers. Quite differing from the instant gratification of online dating apps. But sometimes you get lucky. Really lucky. “70% of our clients find a winning match on their first introduction,” says Kimberly Colgate Global Director of Memberships for Kelleher. This may sound hard to believe but think about it this way. “There may be someone in our network of singles for some time, but then a new client can walk in that is a fit for them. It is not necessarily the first match for both parties, but it would be a first and lasting match for the new client.” If that isn’t amazing enough, Kimberly goes on to tell me that Kelleher has two generations of marriages and even siblings who both found lasting love through Kelleher. Kelleher not only has high profile clients, but they also give back. “We have created an experience that goes beyond the match. We match people with their passions, and members align themselves with other philanthropists. We like to call it changing the world one match at a time,” says Amber Kelleher-Andrews, CEO of Kelleher. In the last five years, Kelleher’s introductions collectively have raised over forty million dollars for various philanthropic endeavours. Examples are raising funds during retreats on Necker Island for Richard Branson’s Foundation (Virgin Unite) helping to preserve the rainforest in Panama (Mamoní 100), aid to the Virgin Island for recent Hurricane relief, endangered Wildlife in Africa (WildAid), mindfulness in schools in America (Mission Be), and changing the way we fish in the Galápagos Islands to name a few. “One introduction alone has also led to a multi-billion dollar fund that is currently in the works,” says Amber. There are also times when singles contact Kelleher who are in transition and not quite ready for a committed relationship but looking for assistance to prepare them for the dating world. This is where the head of their Matching On Purpose Coaching Team, Chief Relationship Officer Sunya Andrews steps in. "We focus on meeting our clients where they’re at, we specialize in personalized program design. We know that there is no black and white in love-making, some are very interested in personal growth opportunities while being matched, while others need a strong sounding board as they dive deeper into a relationship. Most want honest constructive feedback and that’s where our Matching Coaches shine... Our Clients success is our success, we are all on the same team, with the same goal, our Matching On Purpose Coaching Division gives our Clients the winning edge.” says Sunya. In today’s world, there are endless means to find love. Today’s matchmakers may be taking a modern twist in their approach, but their values lay in tradition, which is something many professional singles long for. At the end of the day, it all comes down to time, and many of us prefer it well spent. And they lived happily ever after…

Amber and Richard Branson

Founders, Amber Kelleher-Andrews and Jill Kelleher

Amber Kelleher-Andrews