A match made at NIRI
IR is all about setting up mutually beneficial, long-term relationships. It turns out a knack for IR can also be turned to matchmaking of a more romantic kind.
This story begins almost a decade ago. A woman from Miami and a man from Boston, two busy professionals, met by chance at a Times Square restaurant and started a conversation that turned into a long-distance relationship lasting a year.
But time, distance and work intruded. Even the occasional email exchange eventually stopped.
Seven years later, at a jammed NIRI conference with noise so loud you can’t hear, two strangers struck up a conversation.
One was George Baletsa, who was working the Ipreo booth, while the other was Felise Glantz Kissell, HSN’s vice president of IR.
‘Oh, I know someone who works at your company,’ said Baletsa.
‘Sure, there’s only 5,000 of us…’ replied Kissell.
‘Her name is Linda Frazier,’ said Baletsa.
As it happens, Kissell works closely with Frazier, who is HSN’s vice president and senior counsel. They are also friends.
Intuitively, Kissell knew there was more to the story, and pushed Baletsa for details. It turned out Baletsa and Frazier were the couple who met in the Times Square restaurant but later drifted apart.
‘Wow,’ said Kissell, who added jokingly: ‘How’d you let her get away?’
She emailed Frazier that evening, asking: ‘Who is George Baletsa?’. But, before Frazier could respond, her cell phone rang. It was Baletsa. They hadn’t spoken in six years.
The pair made arrangements to meet a few weeks later during a trip Frazier had planned to New Hampshire.
This time, they kept talking, and last Thanksgiving weekend, two years after the NIRI chance meeting, they were married in Miami. Kissell was at the wedding.
Lucky in love
Both Baletsa and Frazier recognize the serendipity in their reunion and credit Kissell – and luck – for bringing them back together.
A chance meeting of this kind, at a NIRI conference among a sea of 1,000 faces, was lucky enough.
But it was doubly unlikely because Baletsa only worked for Ipreo for two years and that was one of the few NIRI events he ever attended.
‘No doubt, we think about what would have happened without Felise drilling down on the relationship,’ Frazier says.
While acknowledging her role, Kissell takes little credit for the reunion, however. ‘Obviously, they were meant to be together,’ she asserts.
George Baletsa and Linda Frazier