Management Today

Management Today Profile of Matchmaker Mary Balfour

Mary Balfour Director, Drawing Down The Moon

When did you become a manager?

Officially, in 1986 when I bought Drawing Down the Moon, the original dating agency.

What does management mean to you?

It’s about realising the mission of my business, which is to create as many happy endings as possible. Our purpose in life is to bring people together. To do that, I manage my team of 16 matchmakers.

I take on people who are right for the job, people who are curious, who are interested in what makes relationships tick (like me), optimists who have an infectious enthusiasm that can get two people on a date together. I also have to manage the ‘cornflakes’ – serial daters. I catch them at the initial interview.

I can’t help someone who isn’t willing to explore relationships.

A big problem for us is the myth of love at first sight: that if you’re not instantly captivated, it’s not worth it. That’s so wrong. Of course a certain chemistry needs to happen, but of friendship, of being fellow travellers. People get addicted to falling in love; it’s a physical high, but there is a big letdown if you can’t keep it up.

What do you love/hate about your job?

I love getting holiday photos of the couples we have got together. It makes me feel all gooey.

I hate not being able to see all my happy couples, through, after they leave the office. I’m always wondering what has happened to them.

August 2005, With thanks to Management Today, +Haymarket publishing

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