16 Nov 2010
Imagine you could take Cupid, equip him with a high-powered database of the globe’s most elite singles, give him a team of two dozen matchmakers with unrivaled local expertise, toss in nearly two and half decades of successful matches, and you are beginning to get a picture of Amber Kelleher-Andrews.
The creation of modern-day Kelleher International, and its growth from humble beginnings at the kitchen table of Jill Kelleher in the mid-1980s, has been a calling and a mission for Amber. “I grew up watching my mother Jill introduce wildly interesting people to each other and was amazed and inspired by the many wonderful marriages I saw her create. It infused me with the truth that ‘love has no boundaries’, and years later would call me back to work side by side with my mom.”
Today, Kelleher International is the largest US matchmaking firm with over thirteen global locations (and counting), but still hasn’t lost a single thread of the personal touch, commitment to excellence, and “passion for love” from its kitchen-table origins. “It couldn’t be more different,” says Kelleher-Andrews, “and it couldn’t be more ‘the same’. The complexity of leading a global service organisation with the calibre of our clientele and the intricacies of international matchmaking pushes my management skills seven days a week. But our relentless pursuit of ‘the One’ for every single one of our clients and our dedication to personal matchmaking is as core to our business today as it was twenty-five years ago.”
Kelleher International must be doing something right. They were just awarded the “2010 Top Global Matchmaker Award” on the floor of the London Stock Exchange, and less than a year following their launch in London and Stockholm, Kelleher International is already eyeing the next few cities for their expansion.
Ms. Kelleher-Andrews brings a seemingly disconnected, but in reality, integrally related background to bear in her leadership of Kelleher International. Studying Anthropology in the California State education program at Santa Barbara, Amber delved into not only the origins of man, but also the evolution of human behavior. “You would be surprised how much relationship behavior is thousands of years old”, shared Ms. Kelleher-Andrews. Following Santa Barbara Amber attended film school in San Francisco (ACT), then off to Hollywood to experience professional experience in front of- and behind the camera. Her credits include roles on hit TV shows, including Melrose Place, Bay Watch and Married with Children, and a handful of assignments on the camera teams of great directors with names like Tony Scott, Roland Joffé and Coppola. Being a great actor and the ability to capture great acting through the lens requires a deep understanding of core human motivations.
The lights of Hollywood and the electricity of the entertainment industry were intoxicating, but Ms. Kelleher-Andrews felt herself being drawn back to matchmaking and the great work she had experienced through her mother. Amber joined Jill as the CEO of Kelleher International and opened up the Los Angeles office – the first of many new locations that would open under her expansion. The love of matchmaking stole her heart sixteen years ago, and she has never looked back.
Kelleher International pioneered the concept of national matchmaking, and its pristine reputation for discrete, personal service, unparalleled clientele, and client discretion has fueled more than two-and-half decades of growth. In addition to her CEO duties, Ms. Kelleher-Andrews serves as an expert relationship consultant for several media outlets including CNN, Good Morning America, the Today Show, NBC News, GMTV and The BBC. Her weekly CBS radio show draws listeners from all over the world as she shares guidance and encouragement for finding “the One”.
In a recent interview, Ms. Kelleher-Andrews was asked to describe her role as CEO of Kelleher International and what was keeping her excited. She answered: “The first thing I would say is that the complexity of global matchmaking is as fun as it is challenging. We start the ripples in the fountain of love watching the outcome vicariously involved in this wonderful process of romance, love and marriage and children. Challenges can usually be overcome, and as an example; We have a beautiful female client who lives in Paris part time but also has a second home in Spain. She runs her successful business out of both homes, so she is flexible with her schedule and where she meets her match.
However, she wishes to keep both homes regardless of where her significant other resides. Her match will most likely be a man that speaks multiple languages, is intelligent, successful, loves to travel and is open to having more than one residence. That seems like a tall order, but I already have a few men in mind for her. Second, I am privileged to work with a spectacular group of matchmakers that love their work, are passionate about their clients, and bring the ‘Kelleher Way’ of matching elite singles to continue to build on a long track record of great partnerships and countless trips to the altar.
Third, I would say working with our clients reminds me every day of the power of love. We work with an elite clientele – well travelled, emotionally and physically fit, where over 90 percent have advanced degrees – and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of running a client-service business than you can imagine the expectations that we strive to deliver day in and day out. But there is something wonderful about engaging some of the most successful business, sport, academic and philanthropic singles on every continent and having them trust us with the most important decision of their life.”
Kelleher International is a business, and the near term growth opportunity is staggering. They have only scratched the surface of their European expansion and are already seeing what they thought was a nascent market start to really take off. “As a CEO, growth is a priority and we are more focused on how to manage the great opportunity while keeping the standards in place that have created our world-leading reputation, than on finding where the next opportunity lies.” So what’s for Kelleher International? “More love.”