Elite Connections International’s Sherri Murphy & Tammi Pickle
While walking into Santa Barbara’s Four Seasons Resort, I can’t help but hum the tune, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof. Today, I am meeting the CEO and vice president of the professional dating service, Elite Connections International, and, as ridiculous as it seems, images of Fiddler’s Tevye, his daughters and the decrepit Yente flash through my head.
Moments after I sit down at a table on the outdoor terrace of Ty Lounge, in walk two gorgeous blondes, a mother/daughter team, effervescent with charisma, energy and beauty. They introduce themselves as Sherri Murphy, CEO/Founder (the mom), and Tammi Pickle, Vice President and Matchmaker, hardly the decrepit matchmakers I had imagined only moments before.
Murphy begins by telling the story of founding her company. She was single and looking for her own match. “I said a prayer and asked God to give me a break and send me a nice guy. I couldn’t stand dating. So I hired a matchmaker. My very first date ended up being my husband four years later. That’s how I got into the business.”
After working with the matchmaker for several years, Murphy decided she could do better by starting her own company. She has successfully run Elite for 21 years.
Both Murphy and Pickle emphasize the personal attention they give to their clients. Murphy says, “We meet everyone in person…and really get to know them, to see what they’ve been through, where they see themselves in five years, what they’ve been doing to meet people, how busy they are and if they have children.”
Pickle says, “This is a pretty personal thing to do with someone.”
Because of the friendships they forge, Murphy and Pickle have been invited to and attended clients’ events and weddings all over the world, including Scotland. They giggle like two schoolgirls when they talk about their travels together. It’s clear that they are genuine friends.
Since both Murphy and Pickle have husbands, I can’t help but ask what the men think of their line of work. Pickle says, “My husband is fine with it. In fact, both of our husbands are used to it. They know it is part of our job to befriend successful men. Besides, we aren’t changing our work,” she laughs.
Why choose a matchmaking service over an online dating site? The answer is simple—privacy, personal attention and time savings, according to Murphy and Pickle.
Flight attendant Jingle Baldemor can attest to Elite’s matchmaking success. At 40, she was successfully paired with her now husband, Doug Cowden.
“I joined Elite because I was burned out on all of the other sites. I wasn’t meeting people who were on the same page as me. Elite really knows their stuff. …They have heard and seen it all…and they give you a lot of feedback after a date.”
Baldemor continues, “Elite is more than just a matchmaking service, it is love coaching.”
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.