Not the average ‘Matchmaker’

Courtesy Photo /
Kim Kanoza, Executive Director of Matchmaker Michigan

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Kim Kanoza, Executive Director of Matchmaker Michigan

Haley Otman

Kimberly Kanoza, the executive director of Matchmaker Michigan, has been matchmaking for 22 years. She brought her expertise to Grand Valley State University for the Work Life Connections program “Navigating the Single Life.”

“I think people need to explore and understand a little bit better the single life,” said Sue Sloop, worklife consultant for GVSU Health & Wellness. Sloop said the relationship-related programs are the highest attended of all the Work Life Connections events.

“I was truly honored to be asked to represent GVSU and to have met with such a wonderful group of people and staff,” Kanoza said.

Among the faculty and staff members in attendance was Katie Haynes, department secretary for biomedical sciences, who came to learn more about how not to be single.

“I wanted to get a different idea about how to put myself out there,” Haynes said.

Haynes came to the event with her friend Hannah Novak, a staff member in the University Bookstore who said she is in a relationship but wanted to get a new perspective on dating and relationships.

“I just wanted to see what my options were in the dating field,” Novak said.

However, Kanoza said, finding a long-term partner means finding yourself first.

“Sometimes we can get sidetracked because we’re so internally hurt,” Kanoza said during the lecture portion of her program.

She said that to try and confront this problem, her staff goes through an elimination process when screening new members so they can first find out if the potential members are even equipped emotionally to begin a relationship.

Though Kanoza’s mentor also trained matchmaker Patti Stanger, known from her BravoTV series “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” Kanoza said the two could not be more different in terms of industry beliefs and value systems.

“I am a matchmaker likewise, however unlike the reality show I offer realistic options and opportunities that are based on an individual’s experiences and needs,” Kanoza said.

She said she has had people come in every now and then thinking they will experience what Stanger’s clients experience weekly on national TV, but they find out right away that Matchmaker Michigan is not the same as Stanger’s “Millionaire Matchmaker.”

“My response to the client is, ‘Would you like me to sit down and call you names, belittle you and make you feel badly about yourself?’ and ‘Did you come here to be matched with a millionaire?’” Kanoza said. “Usually with the reality of my response, the question of comparison has been denied.”

Kanoza said the reason she initially began matchmaking was because she wanted to help people, and she now runs the largest matchmaker introduction service in the U.S.

“There is a lid to go with every pot, and I just have to find the right cupboard,” she said to the GVSU staff, and Kanoza has a lot of cupboards to sift through as Matchmaker Michigan currently has more than 30,000 in-state members.

One rule for joining Matchmaker Michigan? You must actually talk to the person you are going to go on a date with.

“People in the world these days, they hide behind a text,” Kanoza said, which is why she bans online talking or texting when she first matches a pair of members.

To learn more about Kanoza, visit

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