Nicknamed by the press the "Cupid Academy" and "Love U". The Matchmaking Institute - The School of Matchmaking and Relationship Sciences. Is a new school where they not only train you to be a Matchmaker but offer a certification program.
The "Cupid Academy" has been featured on ABC's 20/20, newspapers and magazines across the country and as far away as Singapore, it seems everyone is buzzing about this unique Institute.
I caught their broadcast on 20/20 and was intrigued. What was a Matchmaking Institute? Could matchmaking even be taught? Who thought up this idea and why? And Lastly, Wow that sounds like fun and something I would be good at.
After a period of contemplation I approached my editor with the idea of doing our own story and finding out what this craze was all about. (Oh, and as a fringe benefit I decided I wanted to be a professional Matchmaker on the side.) My editor agreed and I called and enrolled into "Love U".
I found myself in a whirlwind trip off to New York City, ready to take a love bite out of the Big Apple. This all happened extremely last minute (the day before) so finding reservations was a bit of a headache and I want to thank our friends at Air Tran Airlines for finding me what must have been the last seat from L.A. to NYC all weekend long.
It was a holiday weekend and so finding a hotel reservation was proving to be nearly impossible. I actually left L.A. with nowhere to stay in Manhattan. During a plane layover I had a friends cousin promise their pullout sofa as a back up so a thank you is in order to Charles and Carol - Cheers and thanks for dinner and the wine lesson.
My last shameless plug and thank you is to Monroe Schwenk and The Edison Hotel who during another layover, pulled a rabbit out of their hat and found me a room. I love this hotel it is right in the center of Times Square. The bellboys are cute, the staff is friendly and efficient, the rooms are always clean and comfortable, the lobby is decorated in a beautiful art deco style and it couldn't be more convenient to everything you want to do in Manhattan. I've even written it up twice, you can read the stories atEdison Hotel Story 1 and Edison Hotel Story 2
Because of the large class size the Matchmaking Institute didn't have room in their home offices for classes and had to rent out space in the Empire State Building. We were informed because of increased security at the ESB to be arrive at least 15 min. ahead of time and have a picture I.D. handy. After making it through all the security checkpoints and finding the classroom. I sat down at an empty desk and began to learn what it takes to be a Matchmaker.
The classes were lead by Executive Director Lisa Clampitt and her business partner Jerome Chasques. They also had expert guest instructors who spoke on various specific topics.
One of the most impressive things that I encountered during my instruction, was the support and camaraderie demonstrated and fostered by every one of the instructors. Several were professional Matchmakers who gave generously to students who could turn out to be their competitors. They did so by sharing tips and techniques on topics like how to build a successful business and client database. Things they had to learn by trial and error, over all the years they'd been in business.
Lisa Clampitt stated several times throughout the course that one of the things that motivated her to form the Institute, along with a network of professional Matchmakers was to train, qualify and build a networking support system of and for professional Matchmakers. She pointed out that most professions had systems in place like associations, unions, clubs etc., and that she felt a lack of and a need for that professional support system in this field.
Clampitt was a social worker before becoming a Matchmaker and practiced several years as a Matchmaker in NYC she currently owns her own matchmaking business called VIP Life. It was during her work as a Matchmaker that she decided to share her love for the craft and created the Matchmaking Institute. Her co-founder Jerome Chasques also runs his own business called Cosmo Party - a surging company that plans social events in the US and Europe.
The expert instructors had a variety of different backgrounds ranging from Matchmakers to Dating Coaches, Life Coaches, Authors, Relationship Experts, and even a Psychotherapist. Topics covered included screening techniques, interviewing skills, sales techniques, dating techniques, human behavioral communications, business setup, marketing, networking and skills in matchmaking. It seems there is much more to the job than just connecting people together. You have to be skilled at reading people, communication, image consulting, assessing and handling clients, relationship and/or dating coaching, as well as having skills in networking, marketing, p.r. and an acute business savvy. You have to be a friend and confidant all the while maintaining professional boundaries. You have to know when you're crossing the line between coaching and playing therapist. And if the client needs a therapist how to gently recommend one. The course is 22 hours taught over three days and jam packed with useful information.
The students who were attracted to and signed up for the class I attended were diverse. They came from all over the U.S. several from Canada and even one from Asia. They were Event Coordinators, working Matchmakers, Massage Therapists, Journalists, Social Workers, Mothers, Entrepreneurs and my favorite, a couple of Divorce Attorneys (talk about a built in clientele! huh?). The atmosphere of the class was lighthearted, friendly and everyone seemed to have fun.
At the end of the course we all went up to pick up our certification amidst much enthusiasm and self-applause for sticking it out, through what proved to be a very informative, stimulating and worthwhile class. I am now a proud graduate of Cupid's Academy and a certified Matchmaker to boot. Visit my website at www.amusematchmaking.com .
A little information on the field of matchmaking. It is one of the oldest professions and along with the advent of Internet dating has made a resurgence in popularity. Not many years ago there was a lot of stigma in admitting that you were a member of a dating service. The idea was prevalent that only losers would need someone to find them a date. Heck if you wanted to be fixed up there was always that one friend, aunt or meddling mother only too happy to try to marry you off. The only thing is, it usually ended if not poorly, then in disaster.
As technology advanced and things sped up our spare time did just the opposite and lessened. It became difficult to find time to socialize with the intent of meeting someone. Then there was the problem of where do I go to met that special person. Some of those problems were solved with the advent of online dating sites like the now popular match.com. We found we could be exposed to a much wider social circle than ever before. Only different problems came creeping up; like people not being who they represented themselves to be i.e. short, tall, thin, fat, bald, hairy, married, and even psycho! Even when people were exactly who they claimed to be, there was the problem of having to spend all that time sifting through the thousands of millions of profiles which matched ours. Technology turned something, which should be fun and exciting, into something cold and impersonal.
This is where the Matchmaker stepped forward. Never completely eliminated, the profession has had a resurgence, as business techniques like executive headhunter type searches were utilized. The modern Matchmaker offers much more than a dating service. With personal matchmaking the human element is put back into the equation. You met with someone face to face; you build a relationship and tell them about your likes and dislikes. They get to know you, your wants and needs. They pre-qualify and screen candidates before introducing them to you. Discreet and confidential a Matchmaker does for your heart what a Personal Trainer does for your body.
For more information on Lisa Clampitt, Jerome Chasques and the Matchmaking Institute go to www.matchmakinginstitute.com . Or call 1.877.BE.CUPID.