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Bio

If you want the formal version of my biography, that a PR professional wrote, check out the section below titled “PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY.” If you prefer watching a video than reading, click here. OR, if you rather have the casual, we’re hanging out drinking Red Stripes version, here it goes…

I Never Thought I’d Be Doing What I’m Doing Now…NEVER.

I grew up always thinking I’d be a ‘businessman’ (funny thing is now I’m a business, man). My early interests were in entrepreneurship and business. My hobbies in high school included writing business plans and reading the Forbes 400 list (I know, crazy, but I was fascinated with creation). Of course, I did other stuff that normal red blooded teenage boys do like played sports (soccer, football, and tennis were my favorites), had girlfriends (too many to count. Not bragging, just saying), and got into trouble (basically flunked my senior year of high school).

The last two years of high school were particularly a low point in my life. I recall feeling everyone around me had lost hope. As a result, I started to lose hope in myself. A conversation with a counselor at the time was very telling. She sat me down and tried to convince me how “school is not the best thing for me and I would be better off learning a good trade like plumbing.” WOW, her message was basically, don’t aspire to college young man because you won’t make it.

A year later, by the grace of God and heavy support (i.e. yelling and slaps upside my head) from my parents, I entered college and what do you know, I continued right where I left off in high school: sports, girlfriends, and getting into trouble. As I believe we all have at some point, in my freshman year of college I experienced a “moment of clarity” and unlike “moments” in my past I hadn’t taken action on, I finally started doing things differently.

The Moment That Changed My Life

Strolling through the bookstore with my then girlfriend (and now wife, Jill), I was simply on a mission to accompany her before hitting the movies. Bookstores were completely foreign to me. As a matter of fact, prior to that point in my life, I had NEVER read a book cover to cover. Scouts honor! I got through all those former English class literature exams, book reports, and homework by skimming or visiting my boy Cliff. It all changed on that visit to the bookstore, though. While standing next to Jill as she perused for a book she intended on reading, I saw a book awkwardly positioned on the shelf. From a quick glimpse, I was captured by the title “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?” I laughed to myself and grabbed it, just to see what kind of author would title a book something like this. On the cover, confidently smirking, with a big cigar in his hand, was the book’s author – Reginald F. Lewis. Hmm, I thought. This is one bold dude, but who is he and how is he having all this fun? So, I walked over to a nearby couch, plopped down, and started digging in the first chapter. 20-minutes later (feeling like it was only seconds), Jill told me she was ready to go. I was on the 4th chapter. I thought, what the hell, I should buy it. At the age of 18, it was the first book I purchased for non-academic reasons.

Over the next 3 days, I would devour every word of the book. Reading it cover to cover, twice. I then committed to maintain several of the rituals Reginald articulated in the book (like developing life mantras, reading newspapers daily, and most importantly, training my belief system). That one book has had such a profound impact on my life, I still give it as a gift for birthdays (and I give it to my white friends, too. Don’t let the title fool you–it’s not a book about race, it’s about the quest for excellence).

As a result of the inspiration developed from the book, I shot off in a new life direction like a rocket. I changed every aspect of my life: recommitted spiritually, started eating healthier, exercised with purpose, became a mentor, aggressively pursued my studies, and most importantly, began believing in myself again.

After graduating from college with honors, I entered the professional world as an analyst at an investment bank. At the time, it was my “dream job.” I was making ‘real’ money, had the opportunity to learn from the top financial minds in the world, and did I say I was making money?? :-) From the outside, it looked like I was Charlie Sheen–winning! While most of my fellow college grads were taking “any old job” and struggling financially, I was ballin’ (ordered my shiny new BMW, copped a Presidential Rolex (well, it was fake but you couldn’t tell me otherwise), had an amazing apartment, and first fell in love with European tailored suits). I was living THE life…or so I thought.

Two distinct things happened that led me to exit the investment banking world:

1) I started getting terrible stomach aches every Sunday night as I prepared for the work week. At the time, I didn’t realize it was anxiety. Our bodies are conditioned to inform us when we might not realize what’s happening. I listened.

2) A co-worker was praised for not attending his child’s birth and instead coming to work for a big project. Yeah, sickening!

A Succession of Business Failures

So, I quit and started a business. Everyone said “Paul you’re crazy to quit such a great job.” But one of the mantras I had created for myself years earlier was to “always listen to your gut, first.” I took my little bit of savings, moved in with Jill’s parents (because they lived near the city) and started my first company. That business lasted about 8 months before it collapsed. I then went on to found, manage, and subsequently run into the ground three more businesses.

In just 5 years after working at the investment bank, financially the tables had completely turned. No new car, no new clothes, no business, I was broke. However, one thing I always had was Jill. She was my rock. Since my ‘moment of clarity’ in the bookstore at college through the ups and downs, she was by my side. While I had always envisioned being secure in a profession before getting married, I felt I didn’t…I couldn’t wait any longer. Jesse Powell can
better explain to you what I was thinking.

A few weeks after getting married, I landed a job at Kaplan Test Prep and became the director of one of their ‘super’ centers. I became the first African American and youngest director for a facility of that size. I loved the work. The team I had was amazing, my bosses were cool, and most importantly, I loved the service side of the job. In particular, I loved that I had full discretion over a tuition assistance program that allowed me to discount (down to a $1) the cost of our tutoring services. While my bosses had no idea, I had nearly all of DC taking courses for $1, especially the High School students I met. There was a certain affinity I had towards the students of public schools in DC. If you read any press about DC public schools, you can see how many of those kids are simply written off. I was so compelled to help them because while in high school I too, was written off.

A Community Organizer and Service Provider Is Born

Over several years of interacting with schools and volunteering my time after work and over the weekends with various community programs focused on youth, I realized many were missing strong academic resources (materials and instructors). Initially I leveraged my position at Kaplan, but after the demand outstripped my personal supply, I created an idea and wrote a business plan to form a non-profit group to be an “academic engine” for youth programs. I pitched the idea to my bosses for support and got denied. I pitched the idea for support to our competitors, and got denied. I even pitched the idea to local DC government and never got a no, but never got a yes either. Guess that’s politics.

The Turk & Me

Around this time of pitching my academic engine idea, I had a chance meeting with a Turkish businessman. The story of our first meeting is so amazing, it deserves it’s own post but bottom line, it is a perfect example of the power of stepping outside your box. Over casual conversation, with the Turk, he suggested I come to Turkey and pitch the academic engine idea to his team (it so happened that he was the CEO of a large educational holding company).

So not even knowing exactly where Turkey was on the map, I flew to Istanbul and pitched my idea. In what could be a scene out of a movie, seated at a long walnut brown table, with over 24 thick, rich leather chairs surrounding, I shook hands on a deal that would change my life more profoundly than Reginald Lewis’ book. Through my newly created deal, I would receive investment to develop my academic non-profit in barter for me working full-time to manage the U.S. academic investments of the firm.

With no contract, just a handshake, I flew back to the States, quit my job and started work in my new career as both the Director of my dream non-profit and the head of U.S. investments for this behemoth international firm…not a bad week!

Over the next several years, I stayed busy. I led the growth of both entities beyond my dreams. On the non-profit side, we served 1000s of low-income students, working with many of the equity holders in the community (schools, volunteer programs, churches, government, and businesses). On the investment firm side, we created one of the largest study abroad programs, a private university, and several dormitory investments (which is actually a very good business). I also had time to squeeze in going to business school at Georgetown and learn to speak Turkish.

A Matchmaker Is Born

By the summer of 2008, I was fully immersed in both of my growing projects and little did I know, 100 DC high school students in a summer camp would change my life, yet again. At the time, my non-profit was managing a program for low income high school students and to kickoff the summer long camp, I went down to work the registration table. As I greeted each student, I asked them basic intake info, with one question being “do your parents live in the household?” After slightly over 100 students enrolled, not one…NOT ONE of the students had two parents in their household. Slightly more than half lived with neither, making auntie, grandma, or big sister/ brother the more likely household ‘parent.’ I could not believe what I witnessed…NOT ONE. Knowing how impactful parents are in the development of a child and to think these 100 would not be blessed with it.

Driving home from camp that day, I couldn’t think of anything but those children and what, if anything, I could do. Over dinner that night I discussed what I discovered earlier that day with my wife. We pondered what could be done to help strengthen the nuclear family. Jill and I talked for hours, trading solutions back and forth. We ended the conversation jokingly saying, well maybe we could become matchmakers.

The next morning, I woke up, and with that “matchmaker” comment still on my brain, I started googling everything matchmaker related. Over the next few days, my research continued and I eventually ended up jotting down a list of matchmakers I’d like to call to get further information about the profession. I blocked out a few hours about a week later and started dialing. Out of 10+ calls, not one matchmaker took my call or called me back. I recall one getting back to me via email, offering to schedule a call if I first paid them. WOW! The limited response drove my curiosity even further. I discovered there was a Matchmaking conference taking place in New York in just a few weeks so I jumped on a train and headed north. My goal at the conference was just to check things out and see what I could learn. What I saw was shocking. There I was in a room with 100+ of the world’s top matchmakers and not one of the full-time matchmakers was african-american. Not one of the matchmaker’s was under the age of about 40. And I counted only one male matchmaker. Looking around the room is when I had my lightbulb moment–there is a seat for me in this industry. I need to become a matchmaker.

How Do You Train To Become A Matchmaker…Head To Denver!

So, just like when I returned from Turkey years earlier, I came back home from my New York excursion and scheduled a meeting with my Turkish employers to leave my position. And just like leaving the investment bank, just like leaving Kaplan, most of my friends and family said I was crazy to leave such a good job. But this time, they thought I was certifiable. Think about this for a second, I had just graduated from business school, was managing two successful organizations, building an amazing professional network, traveling around the world, and making more money than I ever had…and I wanted to become a matchmaker :-)

When my mind is committed to something, I’m locked in. So I parted ways with the Turks, converted my non-profit to an all volunteer organization (no longer having the financial support from my friends from across the pond), and dipped into my family’s savings. I structured a full year ‘matchmaking training program’ that would help me best understand the profession. My self-training included studying over 213 books, attending conferences and coaching certifications, pro-bono client practicing, and my capstone was flying to Denver to train under someone I consider to be the best Matchmaker on the planet, Rachel Greenwald.

After 60-70 hours per week of training for a full year, in the winter of 2009, I launched my matchmaking firm! At that moment, I realized I was no longer jumping around my purpose. Becoming a matchmaker and lifestyle coach allowed me for the first time in life to “connect my dots” (as Steve Jobs famously said) and be fully immersed in my purpose from head to toe.

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

In the last four years, Paul Carrick Brunson (also known as The Modern Day Hitch) has become internationally recognized as one of the most successful matchmakers and relationship coaches. As a pioneering matchmaker, Paul has served over 600 clients directly and collectively through live events and social media, matched over 4,000 people on dates.  In 2013, he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his first book entitled: It’s Complicated: But It Doesn’t Have to Be.  He is a Dell Inspire 100 honoree and his book became a bestseller in four months.  Paul was recognized as iDate best matchmaker and best relationship coach of year nominee in 2012 and 2013.  Oprah Winfrey notes that, “Paul is much more than a matchmaker, he’s a life coach.” He has appeared on two shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network: Lovetown, USA and SoulPancake.  Paul is happily married to his wife, Jill, and they live in the District of Columbia with their two year old son, Kingston.

Paul’s unparalleled ability for successful matchmaking and coaching comes from really knowing and understanding his clients and their needs. Like his clients, he is cultured, well-traveled, well-educated and trained – he holds a graduate degree from a top business school, as well as additional certifications. His professional career started as an investment banker and most recently included a senior position with a top international firm. He is also a philanthropist who co-founded and chairs a foundation that focuses on school rehabilitations in the U.S. and Jamaica.

Understanding that a matchmaker is truly a guide to help clients achieve self actualization, Paul received his life coaching certification. Next, Paul further immersed himself in the art and science of matchmaking by training with Harvard Business school graduate, New York Times bestselling author, and matchmaker, Rachel Greenwald. Lastly, to ensure he was as knowledgeable as possible about the dynamics of human relationships and love, Paul
undertook a literary review of hundreds of books and academic journals on psychology, sociology and behavioral science. Paul then put his acquired learning to the test by practicing pro-bono throughout 2009.

Paul’s expertise and unique understandings of love and relationship have made him a sought after expert on dating, self-actualization and relationships. Paul’s understanding and insights into romantic and lasting relationships have been featured on Dr. Drew’s LifeChangers, ANDERSON, the Washington Post, Essence, Extra, The Root, The Grio, AOL Black Voices, ABC news and Hot 97. In addition to participating in numerous relationship and community-focused panels, Paul also served as the first male speaker for the 2011 Black Enterprise Women of Power Conference and was the keynote speaker for the 2011 iDate Matchmaking Conference, the largest internet dating conferences in the US.

Posted on: Jul 17, 2012

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40 comments
JanwinZ
JanwinZ

You are so abundantly blessed and God's favor surely rests on you. You are an inspiration and I am thankful to be able to know of you, especially at this point in my life. Thank you for all you do!

MarcenaMiller
MarcenaMiller

EVERYTIME I READ YOUR STORY.I'M LEFT WITH MY MOUTH OPEN..WOW ..YOU ARE TRULY BLESSED BY GOD. I  PRAY THAT GOD CONTINUES TO GUIDE YOU AND BLESS U..I LOVE READING YOUR MATERIAL...

Jenice Stallings
Jenice Stallings

Wow!!! Your story is so inspirational to me. In July 2013 I left my job as a financial aid officer to work full time in my business as an event planner and decorator. I am so proud of myself for having the courage to become who i was designed to be. Your story is amazing. Thank you for sharing your life with the world.

Zauditu
Zauditu

Your life story worth reading and reading again

Nell
Nell

Your life story is amazing, I just ordered Reginald F Lewis book on Amazon. And it just confirmed a lot of things for me. Thanks Paul Brunson.

AlanMotley
AlanMotley

Wow..... I needed to read this at this moment. Thank you

Sish
Sish

Applaud you my brother! At first ill admit i was a little skeptical when i saw a few of your twitter post, not even sure how we linked up on twitter. But I dig what you're doing, and the story that lead up to it! Im a firm believer that God have predestined all of us for GREATNESS, we just gotta catch up with His thoughts toward us! Keep goin bro, and keep giving him the Glory along the ride... Peace!

Iridescent
Iridescent

Absolutely love the heart strings bio! I would also like to mention that in addition to your continuation to push forward, I would say bravo to your wife who stood by your side through all your trials and risk taking endeavors! That deserves a great applause! I am happy for your union and your children :)) I can not wait for the man who will appreciate all that I have to give as well. Thanks for sharing your story.

Ms. Ke~Ke Parker
Ms. Ke~Ke Parker

This was an inspirational read! It motivates me to continue and keep searching on life's journey. I know eventually my one thought that will catapult me into the life I aspire and would love to have is attainable. After reading your story I actually believe it! Taking so many risks but continuing to get up and to keep running if not faster than the last time. I look forward to meeting you one day. I am speaking it into existence and claiming it!

Gladys Carrick Pankey
Gladys Carrick Pankey

I wondering about your name. My maiden name was Carrick. How did you come about to have Carrick in your name. Thank you.

Teacia
Teacia

I'm always inspired by your posts, this one is no different! Btw, it appears I could use a matchmaker these days. Where would someone find out more about your services?

SB
SB

Great story, Paul! I'm inspired...

Joe Ampah
Joe Ampah

Just finish reading your biography. It's very inspiring first of all, and courageous; going through the ups and down as well as staying focus on your dreams. Congrats . . .!

MPRRKTG4GHPD
MPRRKTG4GHPD

Great Paul .I HAVE REACHED SELF ACTUALIZATION FUNNY.THE FIRST HALF IM GOAL ORIENTED AGAIN. ITS LIKE BEING 18 AGAIN. MEZA MPR/MEZA RKT

Cedric Long
Cedric Long

Wow Paul! Hadn't heard of you before last week or so. Only dug a little deeper because of the cancelled OAACC event in Oakland. Grateful that "Spirit" had me go in the direction of getting more of the "411" about you! Mucho thanks for the "Red Stripe version" bio, very inspiring and thank you for what you're providing for the planet.

Harold Deane
Harold Deane

Excellent! I love the story & history leading to where u r today! Congrats to you & Jill (My High School Classmate & Matoaca High Class of 92 Friend)! Well wishes & continued success to the both of you! Harold

Ella
Ella

Hopefully you have some idea how powerful your testimony is. Follow your gut, first. Got it. Thanks.

Joan Bunney
Joan Bunney

'Matchmaking' requires our inner work (difficult at times but well worth the rewards) to manifest. After that miracles happen. Unconditional Love of Self is mandatory. From that comes Love of the collective; our truest state of Being. Bravo. Love your work, humility, gratefulness and your passion. www.sexyinyour60s.com

Steve
Steve

I. Like. Paul.

Patricia Fuqua
Patricia Fuqua

Your story expresses the idea that your matchmaking profession called you. I too believe that better matches for African-Americans will bring more fulfilled lives for adults and their children.

Michael
Michael

Wow what a great story Paul! Hard work and dedication really pays off. I'm happy to see a African American male in this industry. I come from a broken home and seeing what you are doing to change the quality of people relationships speak volumes for you in a monumental way. God Bless You and your family forever more. Namaste

Ms. C. Pride
Ms. C. Pride

Your biography above is simply amazing and I am grateful for your sharing the excellent, the good, the bad, and the ugly with complete strangers. I'm involved with INROADS (www.INROADS.org) working with minority college students across North America and I will definitely encourage them to read about you and pick up your book!

Tahani Tompkins
Tahani Tompkins

The best part of this was ". Jesse Powell can better explain to you what I was thinking. ..." no seriously. interesting story. We share a lot of similarities, and I guess that why I was drawn to this event/your mission. I left corporate america to teach in the ghetto. Left that stable job to now pursue my passion for service and all things media related. Now if I could just find a real boo I'd be all good!HOW MUCH YOU CHARGE BROTHA?!?

Amy G
Amy G

I love your story! I am intrigued with matchmaking, can't seem to match up with someone at this moment lol but still have hope. If you have a desire to do more in life you have that "pull" that tug. I have been in medical, real estate,still wondering to go ahead with real estate. There is a purpose in this life for all of us we just have to listen and follow our gut! Inspired by your story! Much success and blessings to you!

KarlAnthony
KarlAnthony

Wow!, now I am totally convinced that you are the real deal. No pretense there. I respect your road traveled. Much more success to you and your vision come true....

Marielle Legair
Marielle Legair

I enjoyed reading your informal biog Paul. Thanks for your openness and honesty, very refreshing. Moral of the story: follow your gut and all will be well. I'm also going to look into that Reginald F. Lewis book!

Ashaki O. Charles
Ashaki O. Charles

Winning! Great story Paul. Thanks for sharing for for being such a wonderful source of inspiration.

Thomas
Thomas

Awesome Bio! I loved reading it.. :)

Terri N. Rose
Terri N. Rose

Loved your bio and your pure honesty, it was truly inspiring - definately going to get that book!!

Hyacinth Michelle Clarke
Hyacinth Michelle Clarke

The casual bio was very inspirational to know that God has a way of getting us to connect the dots. Look forward to the book in the Fall.

Tita Palmer
Tita Palmer

Great Bio!! Very inspiring and I am going to have to check out that book.

NYC Matchmaker
NYC Matchmaker

Yes, love the raw and honest bio. I also received a needed boost of inspiration when I read the book by Reginald F. Lewis. I'll be picking up your book later this year. Congrats.

Chasity Davis
Chasity Davis

As Oprah said, "God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself". Praise God for your gift!

Josia Taylor
Josia Taylor

Great read! I wish that more people would take the time to hear ( read) your story. It's very profound and enlightening. Your story has a purpose filed with goals and aspirations. Taking risks and not being afraid of failures. I would love for our young black kids to become inspired you be more than a rapper or a professional athlete, not frowning on that but having a back up plan in case... Thank you for sharing, I know it will touch those who are ready to explore their endless possibilities!

Alice Giraud
Alice Giraud

I appreciate the "casual" biography much better. Your story is very compelling and inspiring!! Your biography should be the next book you write. Entrepreneurship rocks and so do you Paul!

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  1. [...] reaping the rewards of his hard work.  If you want to learn more about Paul, be sure to visit his website. I’ve met Paul before, even received some one on one advice, and was a featured Bachelorette [...]