Budding entrepreneurs and new olim often ask me what I think of their business ideas. Often, they fall into the trap of using technology as a way to eliminate human contact from our lives. Great entrepreneurs recognize that technology is a tool to help people build more meaningful lives. This matters in any business, all the more so when someone is in the business of matchmaking.Daniella Rudoff is on a mission to connect singles and help couples deepen their relationships. She goes above and beyond the norm when connecting singles by implementing her impressive communication and interpersonal relationship skills. The successful entrepreneur uses those same talents to teach proactive marriage education.Daniella grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in a community with genuine Southern hospitality and in a home where her parents always hosted lots of guests. She is a real people person and enjoys helping them.Relationship building and technologyDaniella has a BA in Jewish Studies and an MS in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. She taught in the classroom for 10 years, in various Jewish day schools in New York and New Jersey. After making aliya, Daniella studied once again at Yeshiva University, but this time in Israel. As a result of the courses that she took, she developed a new marriage education course for couples to learn communication skills and relationship building skills as well as a comprehensive course for wives.Daniella explains, "So many of the couples have reported that my proactive education has helped them significantly to diffuse issues before they developed. They learned new skills and positive perspectives on marriage, family and life in general."An accomplished multi-tasker, Daniella is involved in more than one endeavor. A few years after Daniella made aliya, a friend approached her to consider purchasing a stake in and helping to grow a locally-based Virtual Assistant company. The original founder had identified Israel's vast pool of native English speakers with extensive business experience, and established a Virtual Assistant service connecting companies around the world with olim. "It's a win- win situation," Daniella notes. "Firms around the world are able to delegate to high level, educated, native English speaking assistants who have extensive business, marketing, social media management and administrative experience. Entrepreneurs in the US, Europe and Australia love the professionalism, flexibility, efficiency and reliability."One of the advantages, Daniella explains, is that “the time zone difference works to the client's benefit, as their tasks are completed by the time they wake up in the morning. Doesn't everybody want their work done in their sleep?" She adds, “Expanding Virtual Assistant Israel's client base taught me tremendous networking and social media marketing skills, which I then applied to matchmaking." Connecting to a higher callingDaniella saw that the need for her Marriage Architect services, which she was originally offering only in her spare time, was so great that she had to decide whether or not to make it her primary focus. She felt great empathy for "the population of individuals who tell me that they are so appreciative for my active involvement and my personal approach towards each individual and to the dating community in Israel and worldwide.""Others feel grateful for having someone to reach out to for dating and marriage advice or education," she says. "I saw that I could help hundreds of people turn their dating relationships into successful marriages."Driven by idealism and an ideological Zionist conviction, Daniella moved to Israel eight years ago. She lives in Beit Shemesh with her husband, Joshua, who is a data warehousing expert for IBM, and 7 children ranging in age from 3 to 17.
Daniella utilizes technology as a tool to connect singles. She understands the cool and tech-savvy generation. She sets up appointments, follows up, stays in touch, sets people up and “Networks for Singles” with people all around the world by email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.Human elementDaniella explains, "Each time someone meets with me in person, or on Google video chat, I am delighted to build a new connection. I genuinely care about each person and try to understand him/her. People sense this and they appreciate that I won't forget them when I meet someone who is a 'good idea' for them."New technologies can change the fabric of an industry almost overnight. Yet, there are some sectors in the new economy where human intuition is more valuable than ever before, and services like those Daniella offers are among those sectors.Management consultant and former Columbia University professor Scott Ventrella notes, "With the increase in the world's population, and the amount of people getting married later in life (and often remarried), dating services and online dating have become a very prevalent part of society and love relationships.” Citing J-date, “a popular online dating website servicing the Jewish community," Professor Ventrella notes that the job of J-date and other similar services “is to recruit and match exceptional, eligible single men and women with like-minded lifestyles and interests."Sidnee Peck is the director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Peck notes, "The new era of matchmaking should identify the most difficult, time-consuming and expensive aspects of the traditional model and consider whether or not there are technologies that can be utilized or developed to make it faster or cheaper -- essentially, to enable it to scale. When looking at technology, we see online dating as a technology-centric version of matchmaking, which may or may not be successful, but is not likely how these matchmakers want to identify themselves.”Daniella is resolving a problem in our community by spending her time getting to know each individual, in order to avoid “dating for the sake of it”, which develops negativity towards the idea of dating. It also creates a feel good network, a club, a sense that there is a person who is “looking out for you” and who is also a hub for dating opportunities for her Network and a person who understands people, and relationships that work in dating and marriage.In addition to setting people up in the traditional way, Daniella has run four events for young adults in their 20s and 30s since January 2013. In the one year that Daniella has moved into this realm, one successful match that she made got married a few weeks ago and a few couples are currently involved in serious relationships.Daniella believes in offering more options for people to meet. She works tirelessly and even at her own financial expense to create the singles events to offer healthy opportunities for singles to meet without the stigma of “going to a singles event”. After the first event (a catered meal at Beit Avi Chai), Esti Arfe offered to help Daniella and to get involved with the second event. Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman spoke at the third event and by the latest event, Bowl 'N Meet, Esti and a few others wanted to get involved in this wonderful initiative and they joined Team Marriage Architect to help create future fabulous and fun Marriage Architect Events.Beyond technologyFor Daniella, technology is a tool to help reach the person. People remain the core of her work. She explains, "I do proudly leverage technology in managing Marriage Architect. The technology offers convenience, speed and efficiency. I own my online personal database, I interact with my potential clients and existing clients via Facebook messages, email, LinkedIn messages, Twitter and SMS. In addition, I offer a "Networking for Singles" proactive service on Facebook and a personalized advanced service which can help to widen the opportunities for dates for the individual and for my whole network."Daniella prides herself on personally interacting with clients."Each new client is my new "friend" and I can set my clients up as they wish a friend would set them up. It makes me very happy when someone meets with me and tells me afterwards how much he or she enjoyed meeting with me and how it was so different than he/she imagined. People from all Jewish walks of life come to me, in Israel and from all around the world, all by “word of mouth” and Facebook. I am passionate about moving things forward for each individual in my network. My wish is to match each of my clients appropriately and with the right person soon.”Marriage Architect is not an automated system for setting people up, rather, people love the fact that Daniella Rudoff is a real human being. Singles love that Daniella is setting them up, giving dating advice and education to both the man and the woman, staying in touch with both sides, it is what they value. They love that she uses modern technology to communicate at their own convenience. It is a giant step above the old fashioned matchmaking system and more personal and upscale than the commercialized online dating websites which are either run by machines or by many different individuals who only know some of the members.Joseph J Sherman is a business adviser and professional speaker. He holds degrees from The KEDGE Business School in France and The University of California, San Diego. Contact [email protected]