Lisa Amador with a view of Santa Barbara from Stearns Wharf
Paul Wellman

“I teach people to communicate and to listen,” says Lisa Amador, owner of Santa Barbara Matchmaking. “If more people did that, they’d be meeting people.”

Lisa walks into a room with a wide smile and obvious self-assuredness. Trained by the The Matchmaking Institute in New York City, she now helps singles navigate the Santa Barbara scene, which is surprisingly limited in venues for people to meet up in a meaningful way.

Lisa subjects her clients to an initial interview to learn about expectations and who they are as individuals. She finds out what kind of things make your heart happy, what things that are missing in your life, what you are looking for in a partner, and what are the deal breakers, such as gaps in age or education.

“If you’re willing to be honest and open, I’m very successful at matching,” she explains. “But some people aren’t realistic about what they’re bringing to the table.” Lisa loves “being able to listen to somebody, to find out what they desire and understand the whole person.”

Once you’ve been interviewed, she suggests similarly screened potential partners, explaining why she feels this is a good person for you to meet. If you wish to move forward with an introduction, she arranges a date on your behalf. The whole process takes about six months. “I just matched a 68-year-old man with a 60-year-old woman,” she beams in telling me. “He wanted someone who he could talk to.”

Lisa, who started her matchmaking business five years ago, was born in Florida and worked as an accountant for Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young) for more than 20 years. It was her roommate at George Washington University, also a matchmaker, who encouraged her into this career. “Why aren’t you doing this?” her friend asked.

Most of all, Lisa coaches clients on how best to present yourself. “I work with people to own it: to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘You’re worth it,’” she explains. “I teach people how to love themselves.” Maybe it’s not a coincidence that her last name in Spanish means “lover.”

Lisa Amador puts down Cupid’s arrow to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

Who makes you laugh the most?

My husband, Michael. I love his wit and he’s always kind. He also has the best belly laugh that makes my heart happy and never fails to make me laugh right along with him.

What is your most treasured possession?

My engagement and wedding rings. Each day I look at these rings that remind me of the men I love: my husband, who thoughtfully chose an engagement ring he knew was perfect for me; and my father, who proudly wore a ring embellished with diamonds that now adorn my wedding band.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Hosting our friends and family in our home, enjoying a potluck dinner each guest has thoughtfully prepared along with something delicious my husband has created, drinking Central Coast wines (many made by people we know and admire), sharing laughter and conversation, and then turning up the tunes and dancing the night away. It makes me happy just thinking about it.

What do you like most about your job?

I make love every day. What’s not to like! I say this in jest, but with full sincerity. I get to know my clients’ deepest desires, hopes, and dreams. They share their fears and challenges, but each has a deep desire to love someone and be loved. They trust me to find the one thing they want most, someone to share and build a loving relationship. Wow, I get to do this every day, that’s what I like most.

What is your greatest fear?

I’d say I have the concerns of most people, preserving the health of our planet, the fair and ethical treatment of people/animals, and protection of our freedom and rights. But overall, when fearful thoughts enter my mind, I acknowledge the fear, but don’t allow it to take hold of me. I choose to deny my fears the energy they need to grow and instead I think of all the things I’m grateful for. Fear has no room in my life.

Who do you most admire?

I most admire my friend, Mindy Denson. She lives a complete and balanced life with zest and spunk. She’s a loyal and loving wife who never takes her husband for granted. The playfulness and mutual admiration between the two inspires me. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and if you needed a bone, she’d give you hers! And give she does. To numerous boards or charities, she’ll be there with a smile.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Because I believe you should practice what you preach, my greatest extravagance is the time and money I spend to keep fit, looking good, and good looking.

What is your current state of mind?

Grateful and filled with love.Every day I get to wake up with the man I love, in a city I love, and get to do what I love. I have family and friends who love me and I love them, for this I am so very grateful.

What is the quality you most like in people?

Unpretentiousness mixed with kindness and a dash of sassiness. I’m drawn to those who live their life with integrity, abundance, and intensity and you can’t help but feel alive when you’re around them.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

“Mean people suck.” Whoever coined that phrase nailed it. I choose to surround myself with “glass-half-full-type” people, who add to my already full cup, not drain it.

What do you most value in friends?

We’ve got each other’s back. My true friends are there for me no matter what is going on in their lives. They are supportive and honest, even when the message may hurt. They communicate with love and compassion and desire nothing but the best for me. My true friends know I will do the same for them.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My adaptability and sense of adventure. No matter where I’ve chosen to live, I’ve had a happy fulfilling life. From living in an RV during fire seasons, a 47-foot catamaran sailboat cruising from Canada to Mexico, living in Annecy, France, to Bend, Oregon. Each journey was unique and fulfilling. Now, in Santa Barbara I’m thriving and co-creating another adventure and know there are more to come.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“What are your ‘must-haves’?” “What are your ‘deal-breakers’?” “We make love everyday!”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could sing. I envy people like my friend Rachel Thurston, who is the lead singer for King Bee. She really knows how to rock, her happiness fills the room, and everyone has a blast. I wish it were me up there on the stage.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I enjoyed writing more. I would love to blog each week, helping people date smarter, live happier, and create meaningful relationships. I envy those who have the discipline to make writing a part of their schedule. It’s one of my goals; maybe this will be my year to achieve it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Raising three happy, wonderfully adjusted adult children. Nothing fills me with more pride than to watch them pursue their goals, take responsibility for their actions and create meaningful relationships with their friends and co-workers. And they still like to come home to visit. That’s a great reward!

Where would you most like to live?

If money wasn’t a concern, I’d like to live on a sailboat and cruise around the world, but still have my home in Santa Barbara to come home to.

What is your motto?

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” –Abraham Lincoln

On what occasion do you lie?

When I was young, I lied often and was often caught. I’m a terrible liar and have learned that life is much easier when you’re honest. Plus, my kids no longer live at home so I can’t blame them when the ice cream is gone!


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