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The Short Version: Tampa Bay MatchMakers started with Dr. Nancy Wall informally setting up dates and blossomed into a matchmaking service with a highly successful team of experts. The firm offers a range of services for singles, including life coaching and arranged dates with carefully vetted singles. Clients receive honest feedback after the first connection so they can learn to help themselves on the path to love. For its commitment to helping clients find compatible partners, Tampa Bay MatchMakers has earned our Editor’s Choice Award.
Many singles in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area may have already tried the usual local places to find love. They’ve been to bars and searched the crowds at live music venues. They’ve walked on the beaches, attended singles events, and even tried online dating.
Dr. Nancy Wall said she can relate to those who have yet to find love. That’s because she remembers when she started dating again after her divorce in 2001.
“I wanted to meet somebody, and there are not a lot of places in the area to go,” she said. “Online dating is a little scary because anyone can be online, including people who are trying to take advantage of you and others who aren’t really single.”
Singles often arrive at the realization that they have been making common mistakes that give their dates the wrong impression. That’s why many daters can benefit from consulting with a professional who has experience and training in matchmaking and life coaching.
The Tampa Bay MatchMakers team, led by Dr. Wall, works with clients to overcome the obstacles keeping them from finding the love of their life.
Singles ranging from their 20s to their 80s from the Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa Bay areas sign up to work with the service. And Tampa Bay MatchMakers has an extensive database and professional network that is locally focused but extends throughout the world. It includes people of all religions, ethnicities, and backgrounds, Dr. Wall said.
“There’s only so much that a computer algorithm behind a screen can do, but I really put in that personal touch,” Dr. Wall told us.
Dr. Wall was working as a certified life coach with clients in the area for years before combining with matchmaking. She said she loved helping people understand where they were and what they needed to do to accomplish their individual goals. Often, her coaching clients were single.
“A lot of what they were asking about was how to get into a relationship, build communication skills, where do I find people, and how to do the right things in a relationship,” she said. “I would hear that frequently and work with them on it until I got a deep, keen understanding of their personality.”
Because she had been in the area for so long, Dr. Wall had an extensive social network and knew plenty of other singles. Meanwhile, she had learned so much about who her life coaching clients were looking for that she started informally matching them with singles she knew.
“I joked that I was running out of single friends and family, so I started looking for more singles in the Tampa Bay community,” she said.
That’s when she decided to earn a certification from the Matchmaking Institute of New York, and, in 2007, she opened Tampa Bay MatchMakers. She thought back to the days when she was recently divorced — she is now happily married — to create a company that she wished she had had access to.
“I wanted to give back to the community and help those interested in a committed, monogamous relationship by introducing them to people they may not meet on their own,” she said.
Dr. Wall works with a team of certified life coaches, and she personally matches her clients with the right coach. The service also includes a group of client service professionals who will attend events and look for singles interested in committed, monogamous relationships to add to the database.
“I pre-screen and vet each client because I want to know the person and make sure I feel it is a good match,” she said. “I do all the matching behind the scene because I know our clients best.”
Singles can get started by visiting the website and filling out a confidential online profile that goes straight to Dr. Wall for review. Someone from the team then calls to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Wall in person at a nearby café or online.
Together, they review the profile and talk about what the client is looking for in a potential match — including age range, shared hobbies, views on children, and even pets. During the process, Dr. Wall said she gains a deeper understanding of the client’s personality and begins brainstorming programs to recommend.
Some people are looking for advice on how to improve their dating profiles, and they can work directly with Dr. Wall’s online dating specialist. Others may want to benefit from two-way matches set up by professionals.
All clients must sign agreements attesting that they are at least 18 years old, are not wanted on prior criminal convictions, and are not legally married.
Tampa Bay MatchMakers differentiates itself from online dating sites and other matchmaking services because it gathers in-depth feedback after dates and shares it honestly with clients. That way, no one is left guessing why the other person didn’t want a second date or why they do want a second date.
“Sometimes, people are doing something with their body language or verbiage that isn’t showing their true self. They can be better daters with us,” Dr. Wall said. “We give precise feedback for each person on how they were perceived, so they know what the other person thought of them. That helps them come across genuine and authentic in the future.”
Some clients also benefit from working with a certified life coach who may help them realize that what they’re looking for in a partner may not be realistic. Dr. Wall helps singles understand the values, traditions, and goals that are most important to them, and matches people who could create a lifetime of friendship and respect.
“It’s also quality over quantity. We don’t want to waste time just having clients meet people; it’s the matter of explaining why we think it’s a good match,” she said.
The team also organizes workshops and seminars online to help singles worldwide better understand what they can do to improve their chances of finding meaningful relationships.
Tampa Bay MatchMakers continues to expand the idea of virtual dating by adding creative options to online dates, including wine delivery, a virtual trip to a museum, and chic outfits to help clients present their best selves, even while at home.