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Careers – July 19, 2012

My Job: Professional Cupid

Photo: David Croxford

Misconceptions: With TV shows like “The Millionnaire Matchmaker” creating false impressions, it’s easy to misunderstand what professional matchmakers do. At Matchmaking Introductions Hawaii, owner and president Reiko Keifert says singles don’t come to her because they can’t find partners on their own.

“Most people who come to our company are people who are proactive about life and have the attitude, ‘My happiness is there for me to grasp,’ ” Keifert says. “They are not waiting idly to meet someone important by chance.”

Start: Keifert moved to Hawaii from Japan in 1987. After her first marriage ended, she wondered how professionals met like-minded people also looking for a long-term relationship. With a background in business and an ability to read people, Keifert started her company in 1994. It is still the only matchmaking company based in Hawaii.

How it works: MIH services more than 2,000 clients, with a success rate exceeding 83 percent, she says. Between five and 25 dates are arranged by the company every day.

“As a woman who’s been through many experiences, I am able to give guidance to our members with great confidence and give people all kinds of advice,” says Keifert, who has since remarried. “I want to open doors for those, regardless of age, who want to meet their soul mate, but just aren’t able to meet new people.”

Hard day on the job: Finding love isn’t an easy process. Many times, Keifert has to counsel or provide emotional support for clients. One morning, she received a call from a female client who was in a relationship heading toward marriage. She was crying uncontrollably, saying she and her partner had broken up, and she didn’t know what to do. In the meantime, the man showed up at Keifert’s office, desperate to talk with her, too.

“That day’s schedule was extraordinarily hectic, to say the least,” Keifert says. After a few days of counseling, the two reconciled and were married several months later.

Pay: Keifert didn’t disclose how much she makes, but successful matchmakers can make six-figure annual salaries. Fees for members can range from $500 to $2,000 a year and more, depending on how aggressive the client wants to be.

Rewards: “That’s easy! It’s when a person who found love through MIH says, ‘Thank you,’ ” Keifert says, smiling. “To be invited to weddings is the best feeling in the world for a cupid.”

50 years on the Job at First Hawaiian Bank

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