The August issue of European CEO magazine just hit the stands and Kelleher International is the featured cover story!!!
We've had unbelievable growth internationally in the past twenty-four months, and on the heels of the "Leading Global Matchmaker" award we received from Overseas Living Magazine, European CEO magazine did a profile of our company. More than anything, this article is a tribute our great clients and spectacular matchmaking team that has translated our 24 years of elite service and gold-standard reputation in the U.S. into breathtaking success on a new continent. We are thrilled to be bringing our talents for finding "The One" to Europe and equally excited to be opening up so many international matching opportunities for our US clientele.
Here is the full text of the article, or you can just download it here. Congratulations to the European Kelleher International team and to everyone who has made this new expansion a roaring success!
UNITY IN VALUES
Founded in San Francisco 1986 by Jill Kelleher, Kelleher International acts as an executive search firm for CEOs, celebrities, top-level executives, and entrepreneurs. It is the largest privately owned matchmaking service in the US, with offices across 11 American states, as well as London and Stockholm.
“Our clients are mainly entrepreneurs, top level management and business owners, 92 percent of whom have advanced level degrees, many from Ivy League colleges and, by their very nature, are busy people,” says Amber Kelleher-Andrews, the current CEO of the company and daughter of the founder. “They are looking for a long term relationship and to settle down, but they don’t have the time themselves to look for the right person because they are out living their life, or they
may not really know how to go about it.
What we offer is not a dating service; right from the very outset we established ourselves as a niche matchmaking business, helping our customers to find someone with whom they can form a lasting relationship.” “Our clients are very picky, as we are, and I must say, we truly represent many of the world’s most beautiful and interesting women,” smiles Amber. Kelleher International is known for their high success rate in making relationships happen, all done with discretion and confidentiality.” If you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a celebrity for example, you can’t just put your photo and profile out there with a dating service or on-line. But you can select a Matchmaking company that works as a search firm who deals with this type of clientele and this Matchmaking firm in particular.
Kelleher has the experience to find the type of person you are searching for.” Kelleher International takes into account
the needs of the client and what they want from a match. “When my mother Jill started in the 1980s, she tended to match clients to other clients, which was a model that worked well when our company was only working in San Francisco. Now that we have a much broader base, we take a more search based approach, recruiting in the same way that headhunters work”, Amber explains. Using this business model, the company is able to find partners for their clients who may be more suitable, but are not necessarily clients themselves, “Many people who use our services are high fliers and, in some senses, overachievers -they have been very successful in their career and they are living a full life.
It’s exciting to think about sharing your life with someone really great.” More often than not, they are looking for someone who you might consider ‘ordinary”, Kelleher -Andrews says. “A top businessman might say to us that he doesn’t want to meet with a woman who runs a bank or is a famous actress, he wants to meet a girl next door type.
“Famous actresses don’t necessarily want to meet other celebrities, they want to meet just a normal person. One of our clients who retired at a young age didn’t want to be with someone who was tied to her career – he wanted someone athletic and able to keep up with his lifestyle. Once we established his needs, we were able to select the perfect match for him.”
While the company has an extremely broad range of clients from all ethnic and business backgrounds, certain locations can typify different locals. Clients in the Los Angeles area are largely from the film industry, including producers and academy award nominated actors. In Northern California, they are people who own and run large technology companies. Texas tends to be oil magnates, while in the New York and Boston area, the company attracts owners of sports franchises, performing arts and authors and in London there are a greater proportion of businessmen, CEOs and entrepreneurs.
These are the backgrounds of the paying clients, but Kelleher International’s database represents non-paying participating members from all walks of life. “We try to maintain a 50:50 ratio of male and female clients, however women are more proactive than men and aware of their biological clock,” explains Ms Kelleher-Andrews. “Consequently, we tend to attract more women than men. While we can’t always take these ladies on, we will always keep their details in our database so that if someone comes along as a client looking for a woman like them, we can get in contact. There are also women who cannot afford our service, but contact us just to let us know that they are out there and looking for their match too.”
The key to the matchmaking process is a unity in values and the highest possible potential for companionship to form, “Our customers are not looking for the clichéd ‘someone who completes them’ or who ‘makes them whole’, they are self assured and happy with themselves as they are. They want someone to share their life with as it is now, not someone who will try to change them or bring them down. They want an intellectual equal and someone who is interesting to be with, someone who they can marry.”
The company is also very careful to ensure that the clients who they are dealing with are genuine and share its ethics. “When a new client approaches us, we will check them out to ensure that they are who they say they are. We also ask for their CV, mobile, home and office telephone numbers. Some clients will have us pay a visit to their home to see what it reflects of them as a person. As a company, we also have the benefit of experience; together, my mother and I have interviewed over 45,000 people, so you get a pretty good feel for someone even on the first conversation.”
The company also does not take on ‘gold diggers’ or those who are looking for a meal ticket – “this type of woman normally gives herself away very quickly. When you hear a statement like ‘I only want to meet men worth $20m or more,’ we know that they are not the kind of person we cater to or want to have on our books.” Similarly, the business does not take on men who are looking for trophy wives or want to set themselves up as a sugar daddy. As Amber puts it, “the women we are in contact with or our female clients want to meet a great guy, not a rich weirdo!”
One of the most important services that Kelleher International provides to its clients, even before it begins to search for their match, is to ensure their expectations are within the bounds of reality, “Sometimes a customer will approach us and say ‘I want x, y, and z from my match because I’m paying you’ and we have to make them realise that we aren’t building them a car or a custom product, we are finding a person. People are complex and we can’t know someone’s every last idiosyncrasy, but we do our best to get as detailed a match as possible.” Additionally, the company does on occasion need to persuade a new client not to focus too heavily on a particular ‘type’ they think is right for them, as too narrow a focus may be what’s keeping them in the rut they have found themselves in up until now”.
“A great example of this kind of success story is a girl in San Francisco named Debra, who my mother wanted to match to a gentleman named Tim in New York. Debra only wanted to date men who lived in San Francisco because she could never see herself leaving her home town but Jill said this guy was worth the distance, so she trusted my mother’s judgement -as her matchmaker, and accepted the introduction.
As it turned out, after the first date her reasons for staying in the Bay area didn’t seem so important. Tim was a great guy. He had a fun personality, a sense of humour and was a great catch all around; for Tim, it was love at first sight, so they decided to pursue the relationship regardless of the distance. Then, within six months they were married. So this is what we mean when we talk about broadening horizons.”
When it comes to the “idea” of matchmaking services, there is a fairly large divide between the US and Europe. “I find it intriguing, you see there is still a bit of stigma attached to the idea of dating and matchmaking services in Europe, whereas in the US we have fully embraced it. Why leave your love life up to chance? That is how we see it in America. It is probably largely a case of familiarity too– this sector really took off in America in the 1980s, when Kelleher International was established, so being the best at what we do, comes from many years of experience and a lot of hard work.
“On the contrary, in Europe matchmaking is something that is only just starting to make an impression and there is some skepticism surrounding it,” affirms Kelleher-Andrews. Serving as the CEO, her strategy is to establish the Kelleher brand name with a solid reputation in Europe now, with hopes that by the time the market does take off here, they will be ahead of the competition in that people will already have been hearing about Kelleher International from friends or through adverts.
So what does Ms Kelleher-Andrews consider the most gratifying and rewarding part of her job? “It’s an incredible privilege to be able to meet all these well-known and interesting people through my work and, as a CEO myself, to be able to learn from them about the world and about business. Many of our clients are making substantial contributions to this planet that will help generations to come. It’s fascinating what we are capable of accomplishing when we set our minds to it. Of course, I also get to learn a lot about relationships! I have a one hour radio show on the top TALK radio station in Los Angeles where I counsel callers on relationships every week. I’ve also had the opportunity to write a book based on my experiences over the last two decades and reviewing 40,000 dates. But getting to understand human nature has been a huge reward for me – finding out what makes people tick, choosing one potential partner over another, what makes relationships work. It has also helped me in my own relationship, I have a greater awareness of how men think and a greater appreciation of my family. My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and what I’ve learned, working with people and relationships, keep us strong.”
Outside of the US, the business focus for Kelleher International is firmly on Europe, securing its position as it did in America, before matchmaking becomes popular, which it expects to happen within the next couple of years. After that, its plans include Canada and South East Asia, “We are getting increased general interest from across the border in Canada, so that is a market that is definitely ripening.”
With 24 years experience providing an exclusive, discreet executive relationship search service, Kelleher International is opening itself up to the European CEO who is looking to find their partner for life. Manoeuvring ahead of the competition, the company is able to offer local clients complete access to other people looking for their match, nationally and internationally. CEOs, entrepreneurs and executives are risk takers and early adopters by nature, so taking the plunge with this kind of service should come naturally, as Ms Kelleher -Andrews says, “Take a chance, because you never know what might happen, after all, the single most important investment of your life, is who you spend your life with”