AS TOLD TO RACHEL STURTZ BY SUSAN MERCANDETTI|January 17, 2012 |
“H.P. Goldfield is like my brother. We worked together as interns at the White House under Ford. When he called me to ask if I knew of anyone to set him up with, I immediately thought of Kristin Mannion. I didn’t know Kristin that well, but she had dated a friend of mine and I liked her instantly: She was smart, fun—a girl’s girl. Kristin and H.P. are from the same world of politics and ideas, both cut from the same cloth—but he is a Republican and she is a Democrat. This was no grand scheme on my part; it was purely selfish motivation. I had been through enough of H.P.’s girlfriends to know that I wanted him to be with someone I liked. I knew regardless of what happened, they would come out of it as friends. But I also figured he would adore her.
For their blind date, he confessed beforehand that he planned to invite her to France with him and his family. I told him it was (1) an awful idea, (2) completely unacceptable, and (3) in no way appropriate. Then I asked him if he was out of his mind. Kristin was a professional. I told him to take her out for a drink like a normal person. I gave him explicit instructions because she was a great catch and I did not want him to screw it up.
When she rebuffed his first invite, he did what any good lawyer would do and contacted their mutual friends, like Betsy Blumenthal, and had them call her with their referrals. When he arrived in France, he left her voicemails every day, indirectly referencing things he had gleaned from her friends. He described the beautiful view of the Mediterranean from the hotel window; then he brought up that his older brother was counsel to the Liberal Party. By the fifth call, she let him know she would grab dinner with him when he returned. He reiterated his desire for her to come to France, but she politely declined, saying she had to work. He hung up, called right back, and told her he had reserved her a ticket departing that Friday.
After H.P. returned from France, he called, and I asked him about the trip. He answered, “We had a great time. We did this, we did that...” I stopped him and asked, “We who?” “Kristin and I.” I told him he was full of it. And then Kristin got on the phone and said hello. I was shocked. Kristin has worked since she was 12 years old; her world up to that point had been work, work, and more work. But after living in New York for 18 years, working on Wall Street for the government relations and public affairs department of a financial services firm, she was tired of not exploring the other parts of her life. And so, she went.
However, I was not the least bit shocked that they had had a great time together. H.P.’s favorite thing in life is meeting new people, and he never lets go of anyone he likes. He loved Kristin instantly. Fifteen years later, they have 12-year-old twins, a world of interesting dinner parties, and an ever growing group of friends. They hit the jackpot.” H.P. Goldfield is vice chair of the DC-based Albright Stonebridge Group and senior advisor at Hogan Lovells, and Kristin Mannion is a senior client partner at Korn/Ferry International. Susan Mercandetti is ABC’s vice president of business development and partnerships.