Ask an Academy Grad...


A business executive learns that short isn’t always sweet when it comes to personal letters!

For our ASK AN ACADEMY GRAD Series, we chat with past clients of Smart Dating Academy to get the up-close-and-personal scoop on their story – what led them to cross paths with Bela, what it was like working with the SDA Team, and how they’re doing after parting ways with the Academy. Whether you’re looking to sign up with SDA or just plain curious about what others have learned from the experience, this series has all the intriguing stories and veteran tips you’ll want to know!



They call me: Amy – may or may not be my real name! 
I’ve been alive for: 62 years 
You’ll find me in: DC 
I work as: A business executive

How did your story lead you to Bela and SDA? 

I met my ex-husband as a freshman in college, got divorced at the age of 59, and had to start over!

What was that like? Having built your life up this point and then suddenly having to re-enter the dating world? 

My kids are grown – I have a son, 29, and a daughter, 27. At this point, it’s just about yourself and learning new skills. Either you’re in the game or you’re not. I knew I could use help, having been married to the same person for a long time. 

So you sought out Bela on your own? What made you trust her with this part of your life adventure? 

I got referred by a friend, and I appreciated that Bela was not a matchmaker. Part of it is going to come from online platforms, and part of it is going to come from you just actively flirting. She helps you with the approach, but you still have to put in the work.

The first time we ever met, she and Lindsay had me write down what kind of people generally made me feel happy to be around. When she unfolded the piece of paper, she told me, “You need to be looking for the same fundamental qualities in a significant other.” Dates weren’t just being handed to me; I was learning about myself.

Sounds like you’re not afraid of work! 

Not at all, but there’s a lot they do for you too. I had a stylist Hannah to help me with outfits, a professional photographer AJ, someone to help me write my profile, and a coach available 24/7 to assist me on how to engage with people – the whole package. I hadn’t thought about any of this before. Or if I did, it was when I was 17!

So did all of this lead to any success stories or funny stories that you can share with us? 

I have both of those in one! 

I was at a function, where my sister-in-law introduced me to the person being honored at the event. I pulled out all the tips Bela had given me, and we had a great evening! At the end of the night, he asked for my contact information, and I said, “I’m not giving you my business card, but you can figure it out – you’re smart.”

He puts in the effort, reaches out to my sister for my contact info, and emails me saying he can’t remember the last time he had so much fun. I was glad to see the follow-up and emailed back, “Likewise and ditto.” A whole day goes by with no response. 

I told Lindsay, and she wrote back to me straight-up, “We’ll have to talk about this at some point so it might as well be now. In person, you are very warm. You get a little frosty in your emails.”

That is hilarious! I was going to say that, but didn’t want to offend! You said there’s a happy ending though, right?

Yes! Lindsay helped me draft a response that was longer, more engaging, and much warmer. John* replied immediately, and the rest is history. We laugh about it now – all my friends think it’s funny too, that I can be so business-like!

*Name changed for privacy

Glad to hear things turned out well for you both. Do you have any wisdom to pass on to those who come after you? 

So many women my age are turned off to dating. They say they are giving up, and I want to say don’t! Even if you’ve had a couple years of crappy experiences, go for it – you’ve got nothing to lose!

I think it’s incredibly valuable to be able to acknowledge that you don’t have the skill set for something. If someone can you help you build that up, then why not go for it? It’s like getting ready in sports – makes no sense to turn down resources, a coach, someone that can help you navigate the current game and learn new methods.

In school, we get grades from our teachers. Here, we’re going to flip the script and ask you to give a grade to Bela and the SDA Team! 

I had fun! Even when a date didn’t work out, I l always learned something. I give everyone an A+!

"Amy is amazing. She’s positive, whip-smart, hard-working, has an amazing sense of humor, and is successful at all that she touches!"

Josh Neimark