Female Founders: Sandra Myers of Select Date Society On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
You need to become a juggler! I am constantly keeping many balls in the air, juggling between marketing, matching clients, coaching calls, team meetings, managing our team, PR, etc. There is a lot going on to keep a business running! As a woman and a wife, I also have to make my personal life a priority as well.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra Myers.
Sandra Myers is the Co-Founder & President of Select Date Society, a luxury matchmaking firm. Sandra has been a matchmaker and relationship expert for over 25 years. She is known as the “go to” matchmaker for celebrities, politicians, and executives throughout the United States. To learn more, please visit https://selectdatesociety.com/
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
When I was in my twenties, I was working for a telecom company. I was doing door to door business sales and I started to introduce some of the people I came across just to have fun. One of the women I set up ended up in a relationship with a man I introduced her to. She told me that she knew of a local company hiring matchmakers. It was the first time I was going to actually have a business card for what always came naturally to me! From setting up my own brother, to introducing clients that work in high level positions all over the country, I knew this was what I was meant to do.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting thing for me has been our immediate success! Our team has decades of experience, so I know that this has been years in the making, but I have been surprised in the best way at how much success we have experienced in our first 14 months of business. We have introduced so many happy couples and have received so many positive reviews from our clients.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I had just started my first matchmaking position over 25 years ago. I was so excited that I didn’t pay attention to the details. I ended up setting up a woman who was almost 6’ tall with a gentleman that was only 5’7’’. When they met they were perplexed to say the least, but they actually had a great time! So much so that she wound up falling down a flight of stairs and going to the hospital. What started off as an honest mistake, actually created an incredible friendship between the two of them. Not a love match, but a lifelong friendship match!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
In hindsight the person that I felt most challenged by actually allowed me to grow the most! Andrea McGinty was the original owner of It’s Just Lunch and she hired me with no industry experience. She forced me to become a manager, a radio host, a TV ready wing woman and a networking queen. I was overwhelmed and never thought this would work out well and yet my office was one of the top offices in the country it’s first year in business. I thank her for seeing in me the potential that I had and giving me a shot when she could have made a safer choice.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
I think that there are two things that hold some women back — lack of confidence and fear of taking risks. I’ve always had self-confidence, but I’m risk averse, which is why I spent over two decades working as a matchmaker for companies owned by other people. 2020 was a difficult year for a lot of people, but that’s the year that something shifted for me. I always knew that I was capable of getting better results for my clients than the larger matchmaking companies I had worked for. I partnered with a colleague who I had known for many years and we decided to take the risk together. We formed Select Date Society, not to be just another matchmaking company, but to be the example of what a luxury matchmaking firm should be!
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
I feel this is a personal responsibility thing. I could have decided years ago to set money aside and give myself the luxury of branching out on my own. I did not do this. I think most people get complacent when it comes to work and daily routines. In order to affect your life, you need to be effective and plan ahead in order to have a different outcome. Whether it be business, relationships, or becoming healthier, a goal takes commitment and desire. When you take the time to take stock of your life and you consider how you want your life to be, you will make strides and create a plan. I believe anyone that has the desire can move into entrepreneurship, especially when you are exceptionally talented in your field.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
The most important thing in life is to feel safe and confident in self sustainment. When you have the luxury of knowing you can be in a position to always make your own decisions and fulfill your dreams, life is exponentially gratifying. The most important thing to consider as a young person is this; do you want a career, or do you want to love what you do? These do not need to be mutually exclusive. When you are willing to take the risk of business ownership you are more likely to have the benefit of both.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
I think many times people feel when you are the boss, you have it easy. This is not even close to the reality of owning a business. Business ownership is serious. You are providing for the livelihoods of others, which is an honor, but also a responsibility.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
There is an easy answer for this… If you want it easy and want to leave the office every day and not think about the job, then business ownership will not be for you. If you are always working and have a passion for what you do all day everyday, then you are likely to thrive in this role. If you cannot multitask I also would not recommend working for yourself. Handling many things in different arenas is a must when supporting a successful business!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- You need to become a juggler! I am constantly keeping many balls in the air, juggling between marketing, matching clients, coaching calls, team meetings, managing our team, PR, etc. There is a lot going on to keep a business running! As a woman and a wife, I also have to make my personal life a priority as well.
- In order to succeed you need to have confidence to trust your own intuition and eliminate distractions. When we first launched Select Date Society, there were a lot of outside opinions about how we should do things. One marketing company came highly recommended to us, but something about them did not sit right with me. I trusted my intuition and decided not to move forward with them. I later heard that they had taken thousands of dollars from other matchmaking services without delivering the results they promised.
- You need to prioritize your own love life. As a matchmaker, I truly believe that having the right partner can make all the difference! My husband and I have been married for over a decade and we are still deeply in love. I know that making our relationship a priority has had a positive impact on my business!
- In order to achieve massive success, you need to have the right team in place! To achieve the results we get for our clients, no one person could do it alone. It truly is a team effort! When we first started, we had some growing pains as we put the right team in place. Some of our team members started in different roles than the roles they are in now. We realized that we had the right people, but they were not in the right seat. We made some adjustments to get to where we are now.
- Have the courage to do what is right. Sometimes you will need to have difficult conversations and make difficult decisions in order to grow. As our business grew, I hired a personal friend at one point. It turns out she wasn’t the right fit for the position, which meant having a really difficult conversation. At the end of the day, you will feel better and the other person will be better off, if you are not afraid to address challenges head on. I think a lot of women get uncomfortable with confrontation, but you can’t avoid it. You have to be courageous in all of your interactions if you want to achieve great things!
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
We’re passionate about supporting the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” campaign. My business partner miraculously survived a sudden cardiac arrest last year, so it’s a cause that hits close to home for me. We give a portion of our profits to the American Heart Association each quarter.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I truly believe that if more people were in great relationships, the world would be a better place! I would love for as many ordinary people as possible to play matchmaker for people they know! My dream would be for everyone to help make love happen for the great single people they know!
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I know that Oprah is probably one of the most common answers to this question, but I have to say that meeting Oprah would be amazing! I feel like she has so much wisdom when it comes to relationships and human behavior. She has been in a loving long-term relationship on her terms without giving in to societal pressures to get married and I really admire that!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.