CEO & Founder
One of Britain’s leading Dating Industry experts, Charly Lester set up the UK Dating Awards in April 2014 as a response to the emails she received from readers of her dating blog ’30 Dates’, asking for advice on which dating sites and apps to use.
Renowned for her honesty and first-hand experience, Charly’s dating advice has appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Mirror, Metro and Evening Standard. Charly is a regular guest on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour, and has appeared on The Apprentice and BBC Newsnight.
Charly was the first ever Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian’s Soulmates blog, and runs regular Guardian Masterclasses. In January 2015 Time Out media group created the role of Global Head of Dating specifically for Charly. Charly has worked in an advisory capacity for numerous major dating brands.
It’s so exciting to see the Awards finally hit American shores, especially in NYC – the unofficial dating centre of the world! I wanted to make sure I had the formula right with the UK Awards before launching The Dating Awards in America, and I just hope America embraces the celebrations in the same way Europe has.
Caroline is the founding matchmaker of Mutual Attraction, London’s leading award winning dating agency. Described as the ‘matchmaker of matchmakers’ by BBC Radio 4, Caroline is a leading authority in the matchmaking industry and is regularly called upon to give relationship advice in local and national press. You may have spotted her on Good Morning Britain, Channel 5 and in The Times, Telegraph and Glamour to name a few.
A finalist in the 2014 and 2015 Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Caroline has an eye for a good business as well as a good match and will be putting this to good use as head judge. Supporting and training the matchmakers of tomorrow through her training programme ‘Matchmaker Academy’ she takes an active and hands on approach to changing the face of matchmaking.
Caroline won Matchmaker of the Year at both iDate and the UK Dating Awards in 2014. She was Head Judge of the UK Dating Awards in 2015
I'm so thrilled to be part of the inaugural US dating awards. The dating industry in the US is big business and the awards will showcase the very best. These awards will celebrate the achievements of a diverse range of people and businesses from bloggers to apps to matchmakers to online dating sites and everything in between. The UK awards have been such a success and I'm sure the US awards will be no different.
US Managing Director
Charreah K. Jackson is an international coach and the Lifestyle and Relationships Editor for ESSENCE magazine, empowering the brand's audience of 13 million. She is the founder and president of Studio Social, a communications and connection agency. Charreah has developed a niche providing relationship and career insight for modern women. She is a featured expert on CNN, VH1 and NBC and was named a Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women.
After serving as the international judge for the UK Dating Awards last year, it is exciting to help launch the awards in America. We are going all out to celebrate the nation's leaders in the business of love.
You can follow Charreah on Twitter @Charreah
Dan Winchester has worked in the online dating industry since 2005, when he founded one of the UK's first free dating websites, FreeDating.co.uk. He is an active supporter of the dating industry, speaking at various dating conferences, and more recently helping to set up the UK's Online Dating Association, of which he is a Director. The Association promotes best practice and standards for companies running dating websites.
Dan is particularly passionate about eradicating scammers from dating sites, and to this end he co-founded Scamalytics which allows the dating industry to share intelligence about scammers abusing their services.
The US is home to the biggest players in our industry, and drives much of the innovation. Truly global services need to crack the US market to succeed. The US Dating Awards will champion those who put their users at the centre of everything they do in this highly competitive market.
James is one of the UK's leading Dating Experts and Dating Coaches. He has been working in the industry for over a decade and is involved in a wide variety of different areas, such as personal dating coaching, Online Dating, singles events, matchmaking and consulting for many dating companies.
He is a very experienced Relationship expert and has helped tens of thousands of men and women find love, build confidence and improve their relationships. He is a regularly featured expert in top UK and international media: such as the Independent, Cosmopolitan, OK Magazine, Men’s Health, Match.com, The Sun, Ann Summers and often appears on radio and television.
James is regularly hired as an expert for PR work for companies including Disney, Head and Shoulders, Lastminute.com, Icelolly and Blu E-cigarettes. He has clients all over the world and is the author of 6 best selling dating books, including the Amazon Number One best seller "I will Make You Click!"
I'm absolutely thrilled to be one of the judges for the US Dating Awards. I believe that the US leads the way for dating and there are so many wonderful professionals in the industry. After seeing the success of the UK Dating Awards, I know this will be an amazing event and a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved.
John Kershaw is the founder and CEO of M14 Industries, who allow anyone to create their own dating app. He's also the creator of Bristlr, one of the best new dating apps of recent years, tailored to the specific niche of beard havers and beard lovers.
John lives and works in Manchester, where M14 is based, and regularly gives talks on the topic of technology startups and entrepreneurship.
I'm really excited to be one of the judges; to be able to celebrate the great successes within the industry and highlight those who've really pushed the bar.
Mike is a founding Partner of Turn Partners, a startup studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround and creation interesting businesses. The company has developed a small diverse business portfolio including a paintball company, a dating business and several small technology projects. Along with partner James, Mike led the turn around of the niche-dating agency Toyboy Warehouse, achieving over a 2000% revenue growth in 18 months. Turn Partners is also behind Hopper, the Instagram scheduling tool. Turn Partners are proud to hold the UKDA ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ award for the last two continuous years.
Mike is a graduate from Aston Business School and has owned and operated businesses since the age of 15. His background is mainly within sales, marketing and startup enterprise with experience ranging from the position of Head of New Business at a global advertising agency to independent management consultancy for clients such as PETRONAS oil.
Mike has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Aston University for his contribution to Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, making him one of the youngest ever recipients of a DSc. His main focus is now within Turn Partners as well as providing startup training workshops across the UK.
The world of dating is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Innovation is global however the US dating industry continues to lead in many areas. After working within the UK & European dating industry I'm thrilled to understand and judge the movers and shakers of the US industry.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeBandar
Paul Carrick Brunson
Entrepreneur, author and television host, Paul Carrick Brunson is recognized internationally as a leading matchmaker and lifestyle coach. Paul is the founder and chairman of the award-winning matchmaking firm, PCBA. and received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his first book entitled: It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern-Day Guide to Finding and Keeping Love.
Paul founded and chairs the professional organization BLIP – Black Love Industry Professionals and also sits on the Board of Advisors for The Matchmaking Institute. Appearing as the co-host on Oprah Winfrey Network’s Lovetown, USA, Oprah Winfrey notes, “Paul is much more than a matchmaker!” He has two new television shows in production. Paul resides in Washington DC with his wife Jill and their sons Kingston and Liam.
I'm excited to join the U.S. Dating Awards as a Judge! I've worked hard over the last 7 years to not only grow my matchmaking business but also bolster innovation, education, and community building within the industry. I consider the U.S. Dating Awards as the ideal opportunity to spotlight my colleagues who are leading these areas I feel so passionate about.
Rachel DeAlto is a relationship expert and part of the expert panel on A&E/FYI’s Married at First Sight. She is also a coach, hypnotherapist, author and speaker.
Rachel believes in the art of communication, and its inherent value in all aspects of your life. Rachel developed her communications expertise through her undergraduate degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and later as a practicing trial attorney after receiving her Juris Doctorate at Seton Hall University School of Law.
Rachel has also received professional training as a certified coach through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) and is a certified hypnotherapist via the International Association Of Counselors & Therapists (IACT).
Rachel has been featured on a multitude of media outlets including: GMA, The TODAY Show, CNN/HLN, Access Hollywood, The Steve Harvey Show, Fox News, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour. Rachel is also a frequent TEDx speaker.
I am so excited to be a part of the US Dating Awards. To be able to recognize those that go above and beyond in an industry built on love makes my heart happy
Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the multi award-winning and internationally acclaimed Hey Saturday, the UK’s coolest dating and matchmaking photography business. Hey Saturday specialises in creating gorgeous, show-stopping dating profile photos that help single people stand out online and attract tonnes more dates.
Saskia’s been credited by Time magazine for kickstarting the genre of ‘dating photography’ and is recognised as the leading industry expert in the UK on all things dating profile photo related and often speaks at events and appears regularly in the press. She has trained up a team of hotshot, portrait photographers who work with hundreds of single people across London, Brighton and Edinburgh. Saskia is also the co-founder of Irresistible Dating and truly believes everyone can find love online.
She won ‘Best Dating Newcomer of they Year, 2014 in the inaugural UK Dating Awards and then went on to be named ‘Highly Commended’ Dating Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 in the European Dating Awards and won Best Dating Marketing Campaign 2016 at those same awards. She has also made finalist three times in the Global iDate Awards for Most Innovative Company and Best Product Design.
It’s a privilege to be part of the US Dating Awards and have the opportunity to connect with and find out more about some of the world’s renowned industry experts who I hold in high regard. I’m passionate about the dating industry and am delighted these awards are going to shine a light on those who are leading the way in the US and beyond.
Supports the US Dating Awards
The Online Dating Association is delighted to see the Dating Awards launch in the US. The Awards celebrate innovation and enterprise but also the ways in which the best services work to keep users safe alongside delivering a great dating experience.
Our work on information-sharing, user advice and guidance our partnerships with the regulators, law enforcement, carriers and social networks and search firms is designed to build trust in confidence in the sector and the ODA badge as a genuine market of assurance for UK users.
Online Dating Association