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CrazyFruits » African/Caribbean/UK/GeneralDiscussions » My Kingston — Paul Carrick Brunson

My Kingston — Paul Carrick Brunson

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1OH My Kingston — Paul Carrick Brunson on Tue 12 Nov 2013 - 16:41


OWN TV Star, Author, Professional Matchmaker
Is this your first visit to Jamaica?
No I've been here several times alread

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I grew up in New York and then we moved to Northern Virginia. I was born in Jamaica, Queens and there were a lot of Jamaicans in New York. It wasn't an anomaly or exception. When I got to Northern Virginia it was a predominantly white and middle-class world and that time I wanted to, I think, methodically, to figure out how I could stand out. So I would run around, and instead of people say 'here is the black kid', I would say 'No, no, no. I am the Jamaican kid.' Right around that same time my grandfather started teaching me a lot about Jamaican culture Facebook page, it's me holding a Jamaican flag and, every of the 30 shows I've done.
What's your favourite Jamaican food?

Ackee and salt fish.
Where are your favourite spots in Jamaica?

So coming off the plane, it's interesting, every country has a different smell, but to me, Jamaica always has a warmth and feels like home. In terms of places, I always went to touristy places when I was younger. But I like going to Keith, near Discovery Bay, which is a super-small town, the roads aren't even paved, but I still have family living there. Definitely, because I have an interesting history with it, Dunn's River Falls, and it was because it was one of the last times that I have seen my entire family together, when I was eight, and so that has strong memories.
By career definition, you're a multi-hyphenate — TV host, author and relationship coach. What professional title do you prefer to be referred to?
I don't know. Even when I came over and had to fill out the immigration form, I never know what to write because of all of those things you mention I do, but I also run a business. Right now, I manage the fastest-growing matchmaking agency in the world — The Paul Carrick Brunson Agency — and among matchmaking and coaching, it's considered in the top three in the United States based on its growth, success and staff members. At any one time, we have between 40 and 45 clients. We also run workshops, and we do one-off coaching with hundreds of persons. We have clients all over the world -- from India, Istanbul and Jamaica -- so it's a hodgepodge.
So, how did you decide to become a matchmaker?

I was in investment banking and finance before, and this is where I joke about my Jamaican roots: I couldn't just do one thing. I had multiple jobs and also ran a non-profit organisation and in the evenings, with that organisation, I would provide academic prep for science, mathematics, technology, and engineering. In the summer of 2008, at a summer camp with low-income students, I was checking them in and not one out of 100 students had two parents in the household. It just blew me away and from there, my wife and I started hosting parties we called 'Brown Sugar Parties' for people who we knew, who were black, to connect. From there it led me to a matchmaking conference to talk to someone and I was blown away attending the conference. I was the only one under the age of 40, the only male, and the only black person in the room and a light bulb went off. There is a theologian, Howard Berman, who is my favourite, who once said: "Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that." I really felt that I came alive. I left the conference and literally left an incredible finance job, my wife liquidated half of her retirement savings; we took all of the money that we had and I spent a year just studying matchmaking through to 2009, and then started a business in 2010.
Three years later, what would you cite as your most significant accomplishment?

Sitting here being interviewed in Kingston, being brought in to speak before an audience, that's success! But what the last three years have taught me is the power of stepping out on faith. That is exactly what I did and that's the message that I deliver. A lot of people think my message is only about romantic relationships and that's why they are coming to see me here in Kingston. I use that as a carrot to entice people, but really, what I am taking about is self-development.
Do tell how the association with Oprah Winfrey came about.
Social media — it's wild. It was actually Facebook. In 2009 I was thinking, 'How do I enter this cluttered space of matchmaking and stand out?' There were many people who were self-professed love gurus, dating experts and I wanted to stand out. That's when I also started studying social media and how to leverage it and so, in 2010, I opened my first Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was slow to it. I posted first a series of videos on YouTube called 'The Modern Day Matchmaker' and nobody really watched it. I joked that it had 10 views and I know my mother watched it eight times. But one of those views came from the Oprah Winfrey Network and I actually didn't believe when they messaged me on Facebook and said 'Paul, we've been watching your videos.' I thought it was spam and deleted. They messaged me again and I said 'Spam, delete.' But finally I responded. I flew out to Los Angeles and they on the spot offered me a job. It changed my life.
What did the job entail?

It was to host a television show Lovetown, USA but it wasn't just a TV show, it was a baby project of Oprah's and it was actually the first show on OWN that she co-starred on. She only stars on her show, she doesn't make appearances on someone else's show. It was such an important project. Not only did I get a chance to host the show, but I got a chance to work with her.
What was that like?

I would be completely lying if I said that I wasn't awestruck. But I also love to listen and observe and just watch her operate. Just observing her in that work environment and when the show was complete and we had to market the show. I did another show with her, Soul Pancake, which she co-hosted. I was a correspondent on the show and so observing her, it was amazing to me. Not to equate money with success, but in the framework of business, money is success and she's a billionaire and incredibly successful. My previous boss in the finance world was a Turkish billionaire and I had an opportunity to work with him for a number of years. Here I was to work with this Turkish guy and this American woman and they are completely different. From different countries, different religions, different sexes, different ethnicities, but they did the same thing: they worked their asses off.
What was the biggest takeaway — personally and professionally — working with Oprah?

Live your truth. She always talks about living your truth, and first you have to identify what that is. You have to identify what that is. A lot of people spend a lifetime figuring out what it is. The second thing is to be bold and brave enough to act and live on it. Most people don't get to that part. But you cannot become as great as your potential unless you can identify your truth. That's what I took away.
What is your philosophy?

I was recently introduced to something called the 100-Year Plan, which asks you to figure out what that plan is. I'm in my 30s, and I'm not going to live 100 years, so what that means is that my plan is not just the duration of my life but what will be the plan for my kids? I have one son and my wife is expecting our other son shortly, so what is my plan for them? The 100-Year Plan is about the importance of legacy, and ultimately that is all we really leave; assets dry up, our experiences go away with whoever we had them with, so what we have is our legacy, what we are passing on and teaching.
What is your beverage of choice?

Not because I am here in Jamaica, but Red Stripe.
What cologne are you splashing?

I was on tour with Bloomingdales and I got this ridiculous basket of colognes and so everyday I wear different ones, but today I'm wearing an Armani scent.
Share the title of the last book you read.
Youtility by Jay Baer.
What music did you last listen to that most impressed you?

I love all music, but quite honestly, the last thing I was listening to on Spotify was Drake's new album Nothing Was The Same.
What was your last major splurge?

Probably a custom suit.
Share some favourite places in your black book.
In Istanbul, which is my second favourite city in the world, I like an area called The Deck. In Hong Kong, I love eating on the junks in the harbour, I feel like I'm in yesteryear. In Paris, the Louvre is definitely number one for me. In London, where I was recently, there is a jerk restaurant called Jerk City. In New York where I'm from, my fave place is Times Square; I am in amazement at how vibrant everything is.
Who is your professional idol?

Reginald Lewis, who was a leverage finance guy and the wealthiest African-American at the time of his death in the 1990s. He had a significant impact on me. He is most known as the first man admitted to Harvard Law without taking the exam. Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War, he helped me get in the hardcore business mode, but it applied to my mindset then in my days in the financial world. Diddy -- watching his rise, he has an incredible marketing mind. Every business school should have a case study around him; he's probably one of the best marketers on the planet. As of late, I have gotten into niche guys like Jay Baer and Wayne Sutton, who is under the radar. My favourite thing to do is read biographies and autobiographies. I read them all the time.
What do you hope will be the legacy of your autobiography?

I think most importantly that I walk my talk. That's the heritage I would want to leave. So when you hear me talk at a forum, that's just not me talking and I go do the opposite, but that I actually live that. That consistency is important and that's tied in to the whole Oprah talking about 'living your truth'. I want to be a great husband and father who added value to people's lives. When someone sends me a message saying, 'Paul, because of what you said or because of what you wrote, because of what you did, I now do something differently and am proud of the fact that I do it differently.' If I can do that for as many people as possible, that would be great.

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