Women in Business Q&A: Lisa Ronis, Founder, Lisa Ronis Personal Matchmaking
Lisa Ronis is a New York City matchmaker who specializes in introducing upscale singles who are too busy to meet the right partner on their own. Lisa has always been a natural born matchmaker. She remembers fixing friends up in High School and organizing fundraising events bringing singles together. She’s had many success stories even before she got into the business. Lisa has managed to incorporate her matchmaking business into her charity work by organizing fundraising events for singles. She is currently planning more events for The Ronald McDonald House of New York along with other charities that she supports. She reaches out to the single community over the UJC website by giving dating advice through “Ask The Matchmaker” and holds workshops for singles at The Learning Annex.
Ronis received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Hunter College, with additional courses from Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology. She then entered the fashion industry where she held many executive positions, her last being Vice President of Design for Fashion Accessories at Liz Claiborne. Focusing on what she does best, meeting and matching the right people, she left the fashion industry and founded Lisa Ronis Matchmaking.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
During my previous career as a fashion executive I have traveled the world and met so many amazing people. It has helped me understand many different cultures, work with so many different personalities, and study relationships and different dynamics depending on the culture. I have always been a people person, I ask lots of questions and want to know so all about a person. In my current job, I start with a phone interview followed by a few in person meetings. The interviewing process came so naturally to me when I launched my company….and I try to get in to the head of the person I am talking with to try to find out who they are, who they are looking for and the qualities in the potential partner that are very important to them. I attribute professional success to my comfort around people, my ability to put them at ease and help them trust me and my love for people. The fact that I have been dealing with people my entire life has been priceless.
How has your previous employment experience aided your business?
Prior to becoming President of Lisa Ronis Personal Matchmaking Inc, I was VP of Design for Accessories at Liz Claiborne and I managed a team of 40+ people. That required strong management skills, being an excellent listener, having a lot of patience, providing constructive criticism and a constant reality check. I have also been a visionary in the fashion world and that has been very helpful in being a matchmaker.
What have the highlights and challenges been as a businesswoman?
My job is being a life changer. When clients get in to a serious relationship, often times that results in marriage and depending on age of the client, parenthood. Nothing is more rewarding than that! When I see a person who is frustrated and lonely and a minute away from giving up hope of finding love, it is so rewarding helping them. On the flip side, I have encountered clients who keep making the same mistakes in the world of dating, and tough love comes in to place. It’s challenging to be brutally honest because it can be hurtful but honesty is necessary. I love that I have the arena to give my clients feedback after their dates as well as get feedback from them. I am goal oriented and if a client needs to change or alter the way they date, it is my responsibility to guide them.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
It is a challenging job, one entering in to the world of matchmaking must have broad shoulders and it can be very emotional, but when it works it is so fabulous. I also feel that in order to become a matchmaker, one has to be social, needs to love people and really care about helping others.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Sometimes a client is opposed to meeting someone based on their photo, but quite a few times I pushed them to just have one drink and they married that person! I advise my clients to be open…..you never know!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am a huge proponent of a balanced life. I love to work, but my personal and family life is very important to me. It is something that comes very naturally to me. I think there are times when I will work on the weekend or take calls from clients after hours because this is not a 9-5 job. But most of the time I am balanced which makes me a quality matchmaker and a good partner.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I urge my successful driven female clients to leave the aggressive, highly motivated and competitive personality at the office. After hours, I like a woman to be a woman…feminine, let the guy lead the way, hail the taxi, choose the restaurant….. it’s wonderful to talk about your career, but many times the tough corporate woman comes to dinner. Men complain about this a lot.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have been a professional matchmaker for over 16 years, but matching people has been a hobby since I was a teenager. I read people really well and I give great advice….often times it is common sense and understanding human nature and relationships. I have coached many clients to marriage. When their friends interfere and give bad advice that can ruin something good, I make new rules and client can only take my advice. I am probably better giving advice to others than giving it to myself….but I am getting better at taking my own advice in to consideration.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I admire women who have balanced lives, who place importance on family as well as their careers and accomplishments, who are philanthropic and who can and do make a difference.
What do you want your business to accomplish in the next year?
I am hoping Lisa Ronis Matchmaking, Inc can be successful with some of the new concepts we are working on. They are not open for public knowledge at this time, but what we are developing can help people not only finding a partner but in other ways to make for a happier and more fulfilling life.