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The Short Version: Matchmaker Leslie Wardman has over 20 years of experience working with singles. She founded her own matchmaking company to provide busy professionals with a personalized solution to their dating woes. Today, Ambiance Matchmaking supports a national network of singles looking for a soul mate. The company has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and other major cities in the US. If you’re looking to upgrade your love life, you may benefit from the personalized introduction and coaching services provided by the professionals at Ambiance Matchmaking.
A few years ago, a Realtor in California wasn’t sure she wanted to renew her membership with Ambiance Matchmaking, a boutique dating service. She had spent months going on dates, but she still hadn’t fallen in love.
The company’s Founder and CEO, Leslie Wardman, sat down with the client and helped her get to the bottom of what was holding her back. It turned out the Realtor had been going through medical issues during her membership, and that had affected her energy levels on dates. Leslie convinced her it was worth trying again as a healthy and optimistic dater.
The matchmaker also pointed out that the single woman had sold three houses to her dates, so she was getting a return on her investment — albeit, not the one she expected. The Realtor laughed and signed a renewal contract that day. Four arranged dates later, she met the man of her dreams.
Leslie had spent 20 years working in ESPN production and advertising before she found her true calling in the dating industry. It came to her while thumbing through a magazine. A colorful two-page article about matchmaking caught her eye.
She had no idea that was a career, but she felt intrigued enough to call up the company and apply for a position as a Director of statewide operations. She was up against 250 applicants, but her networking experience, personable manner, and commanding leadership skills won the day. She got the job and began working with educated single professionals looking for love.
“You know how you hear about how the universe just drew someone into a certain direction? That’s exactly what happened to me,” she told us.
A year later, a corporate takeover left Leslie without a job, but she saw this as an opportunity to start fresh and put her contacts to good use. Leslie founded Ambiance Matchmaking in 2002 to make her dream of personalized and compassionate matchmaking a reality. She joined forces with a trusted friend and colleague, and they never looked back.
Today, Ambiance Matchmaking has offices in San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tulsa, Chicago, and Oklahoma City, and the team hopes to expand internationally in the coming years.
“My mission is to continue raising the bar on our expertise,” Leslie said. “I feel like I started out doing Dating 101 and have now earned a Ph.D., if there were such a thing, and I wish there were.”
Ambiance Matchmaking doesn’t take on just anyone as a client. The team thoroughly vets applicants and selects singles who are successful, well-educated, and commitment-oriented. Leslie told us 99% of clients have at least a college degree, and 70% have earned their advanced degrees.
The clientele includes CEOs, attorneys, engineers, nurses, physicians, and other professionals. These high-powered individuals often want a more discreet and targeted way to date than posting a profile on a dating site or approaching strangers at a bar. They hire matchmakers to save themselves time, energy, and stress in the modern dating scene.
“Our clients have everything going for them,” Leslie said, “with the exception of a significant other.”
The matchmaking company typically accepts 10 new clients each month. By limiting the number of people they work with, the matchmakers give themselves the time to really focus on the client’s individual needs and preferences. Leslie said that something that sets her company apart is the effort they put into understanding the singles they work with and the dating culture of the region. Theirs isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach — it adapts to the individual and the setting.
“Some matchmakers throw the net and pretend like they’re experts in all regions,” she said, “and I believe that can be a detriment to clients.”
While the matchmakers use a national database to arrange matches, they take into consideration the different needs, lifestyles, and expectations of singles living in California versus Illinois. Their job is to up the odds of their clients falling in love, and that’s something the Ambiance Matchmaking team takes seriously.
When Leslie was preparing to start her matchmaking company, she knew she wanted Taylor Wade working by her side. The two met in the 1990s and have become a force to be reckoned with in the dating industry. As Company Manager, Taylor is in charge of the company’s branding as well as other instrumental tasks. She’s the one who came up with the name Ambiance Matchmaking, and she writes a majority of the advice articles on the blog. Leslie said Taylor is “an irreplaceable piece to the puzzle.”
Another key team member joined the company after her brother-in-law recommended her. Leslie had been at her wit’s end after going through the applications of unqualified people, so she took a walk to clear her head. While on the elevator, she happened to mention to one of the employees in the same building that she was looking to hire someone. He said his sister-in-law Janet Jackson could be the perfect fit, so they set up an interview.
“I immediately felt like I’d made a good decision in hiring her,” Leslie said. “Her skill set lined up perfectly — plus she is caring and also loyal. More like a family member than an employee. Besides, who could say no to her name?”
Ambiance Matchmaking also employs notable dating coaches Hunt Ethridge and Ben Ritter to offer clients practical dating advice as needed. The matchmakers also draw from the expertise of a licensed psychologist — Chad Johnson is an associate professor of human relations with a passion for helping people understand love and relationships.
Throughout her matchmaking career, Leslie has made a difference in the lives of countless individuals. She builds a relationship with her clients and puts effort into ensuring they have a great experience in the dating scene. When she first started her business, all her clients came through referrals, and Ambiance Matchmaking still relies on good reviews from happy couples to attract new clients. The team posts their favorite testimonials on the site, and Leslie also shared some of her favorite success stories with us.
One client was adamant that he didn’t want to travel more than 30 minutes to meet a date — even though he had offices all around the world. Leslie knew she had an ideal match for him, but the problem was the single woman lived 90 miles away. It took a year of coaxing before the man agreed to the introduction, and he was glad he did. Today, he and the woman are in a long-term relationship and frequently travel the world together.
“A big part of a matchmaker’s job is to get people to open up to possibilities that are out of their comfort zone,” Leslie said. “As the world gets smaller, I foresee more and more opportunity to match people on an international level and look forward to bringing the world together one match at a time.”
“Ambiance Matchmaking is absolutely one of the best investments that I have ever made in my life!” — Marla S. in a five-star Yelp review
Ambiance Matchmaking’s team is reliable throughout the dating process. They don’t simply throw singles into introductions; they prepare them to have a great time and make a fruitful connection. Sometimes facilitating a client’s success means identifying where they’re going wrong and make appropriate adjustments. For instance, one widow couldn’t help but talk about her deceased partner on all her first dates. Leslie said that was a consistent turn-off for the woman’s matches.
So the matchmaker decided to prepare men to have that conversation. She warned the next match that his date would probably want to talk about her loss, but that she was a great person and would make a devoted partner. The couple hit it of and got married a few months later.
“It’s these kinds of stories that make it all worthwhile,” Leslie told us. “I feel like I’m walking on air for a few days after we get feedback from couples where you hear the exhilaration in their voice. A good feeling, for sure.”
Ambiance Matchmaking has helped countless individuals improve their interpersonal skills and become more successful in all aspects of life. Many singles have enjoyed the matchmaking process and have grown into more confident and optimistic daters as a result. Every time an introduction leads to a long-term relationship, Leslie is reminded why she got into the matchmaking business in the first place.
Leslie is currently designing an educational online program to teach daters the skills they need to grow and be successful on the first date and beyond. Her goal is to empower singles to make the right choices and get in fulfilling relationships. Whether she’s arranging dates or giving advice, the matchmaker’s expertise is an invaluable resource for singles across the US.
“We’ll continue to grow our knowledge so that we can pass it on to the people who come to us and encourage them to make good decisions,” she said. “We got to where we are by going with the flow and making sure that we keep the good energy going in that direction.”