Laurie F. Berzack, MSW
Owner, Chai Expectations
Laurie has operated Chai Expectations for more than a decade and takes pride in the boutique service she has built. With countless marriages and babies resulting from her matchmaking, coaching, and expert advice, Laurie’s life passion to help others find love is a dream come true. In 2016, Laurie decided to incorporate another important part of her life and career experience in philanthropy into matchmaking. She trademarked the term Philanthrodating™ and set out to help singles meet like-minded do-gooders through events where people can connect. Her Philanthrodating™ events have raised thousands of dollars for charity.
She’s internationally recognized as one of the top five matchmakers in the world by industry experts and clients, despite keeping her business small and intimate. Laurie only works with a handful of clients at a time to ensure white glove care and attention.
Laurie’s clientele share the common goal of finding their soul mate—a true partner in life, not just a Saturday night date. “When I make a match, I’m looking far beyond a first date,” says Laurie. “I’m looking 10, 20, 50 years down the road.” Laurie and her clients have enjoyed stunning success, with 4 out of 5 finding lasting love within the first year or two of becoming a client. And while nothing speaks louder than a proven track record, discerning singles know the importance of finding chemistry with a matchmaker. Laurie’s clients are drawn to her warmth, her sincerity, and her ability to put a person at ease. But it’s her dedication, determination, and straightforward approach to her clients’ personal goals that make her such an invaluable resource.
Laurie has been interviewed for her expertise by several national lifestyle and corporate blogs, The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Magazine, Today’s Charlotte Woman, SouthPark Magazine, South Charlotte Weekly, Ballantyne Magazine, Creative Loafing, and a lengthy list of newscasts, including Charlotte’s FOX, CBS and NBC affiliates. In fact, Laurie has become a regular relationship expert on Charlotte Today, a local morning news show that runs in conjunction with NBC’s nationally-televised Today Show. She recently made a guest appearance on the Triangle’s equivalent, Carolina Today, and has been a two-time guest on NPR’s Charlotte Talks.
Laurie attended Wurzweiler School of Social Work, a division of Yeshiva University in New York, NY, where she earned a master’s degree with a concentration in Community Organization. Prior to Wurzweiler she studied at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and received a BA in English and Psychology. She grew up in Bryn Mawr on the Main Line of Philadelphia but has lived in New York and Atlanta and made her home in North Carolina since 1994. Though extremely passionate about helping singles find lasting love, the most important thing in Laurie’s life is her family. She has been married more than 20 years and has two sons.
Client Services Specialist
Ilana is an integral part of the Chai Expectations team and has been since 2013. She works as the Client Services Specialist focusing on helping clients succeed in every way possible from personalized styling and recruitment, to date and relationship coaching.
Her strengths in programming and event planning benefit our clients greatly as Ilana oversees the coordination of our singles events which we strive to make fun and engaging.
Ilana has a real eye for fashion and truly transforms our clients when she takes them shopping for wardrobe overhaul services. She is proud to help clients find age appropriate and flattering clothing that will give them an instant self-confidence boost. She is also highly skilled at interior design, and even works with clients to make their homes warm, inviting, and conducive to a long-term relationship.
Ilana was born and raised in London, and attended the University of Manchester. She then went on to complete her higher education in Jerusalem. She’s been married since 1985 and has three grown children.
Joanna Lee is the date coordinator for Chai Expectations, assisting with one of the most important aspects of matchmaking: coordinating that very first introduction. Joanna talks to both parties before carefully selecting a venue that is both intimate and comfortable. To ensure the utmost care during that first date, Joanna is on call for clients in case someone is running late or lost. This special attention to detail is appreciated by our clients and has eased a lot of worried minds. She also handles all client background checks and takes her role seriously, as safety is our utmost priority. After the first date is just as important and Joanna is the one who finds out what each person thinks so there’s no awkward conversation for the clients. She coordinates the date surveys and helps with date feedback Laurie uses in her relationship coaching sessions.
Originally from a small town in Ohio, Joanna moved to Charlotte in 2006 and enjoys exploring the city for new and interesting things to do. She has worked with Chai Expectations for more than a decade and shares Laurie’s joy in helping people find happiness. “One of the most exciting aspects of my job is coordinating that first introduction, and then seeing where it goes. It is so uplifting to hear Laurie’s numerous success stories, and I feel so lucky to be part of that process.” Joanna has a degree in psychology from The College of Wooster, as well as, a master’s degree in teaching from Kent State University.
Special Projects Communicator
Jennifer joined Chai Expectations in 2012 and is constantly building connections, growing the database and spreading the word about Laurie’s work. Jennifer handles many special projects for Chai Expectations from client services to company communications.
With an undergraduate psychology degree from The University of Georgia and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Jennifer has a fundamental understanding of human behavior and relationships. Professionally, she has been both a counselor and a successful sales representative in the insurance industry. Jennifer has spent recent years raising her two daughters and is heavily involved in her community through several volunteer efforts, including her daughters’ school, church and various non-profit entities. Jennifer has lived in Charlotte for more than 25 years and shares her life with her husband and two daughters.