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THE TURNING POINT

When I was 34 and living in Milan, Italy, a friend said something shocking. Her friend saw some photos of us playing miniature golf and asked if I was always so sad. As embarrassing as it was to hear that it was obvious to a stranger, I knew the answer to her questions was, 

"Yes. I am always sad."

At the time, I was an unhappily married fashion photographer, and I wasn’t just sad. I was stuck and lost. For 13 years, I had chosen to stay married to a man who I later realized was a pathological liar. Even though I knew our relationship was dysfunctional and I told myself I could do better, I was too afraid to leave because I thought I’d be alone for the rest of my life. 

But then, something extraordinary happened.

A little book, The Laws of Success by Paramahansa Yogananda, fell into my hands. I would read a few pages each day and retreat to the darkroom to print pictures for my portfolio. As I rocked trays of chemicals and watched images emerge, Yogananda’s simple spiritual truths permeated my mind.  

I felt that, for the first time, I was looking at my life through a new lens and I asked myself, “Lisa, why ARE you so sad?”

Another voice in my head immediately replied, "You're sad because, when you were a child and watched your mother dying from breast cancer, you told yourself you would always be sad."

It was true. At 15, when other kids were worried about what to wear to prom, I watched my mother lose her hair, waste away, and die. I told myself I’d been cheated out of a childhood and I would always be sad.

“Lisa, you made up the story that you would always be sad,” the voice said.

This stunning insight seemed to come out of nowhere.

I HAD created this story and it worked. Nineteen years later, I was still sad.

“But I don’t want to continue feeling this way,” I thought.

“So, make up another story,” the voice replied again.

“What if I were to say that my mother’s death made me wiser? I’d rather be wise than sad.”

“You just made up that story, too,” the voice said again. 

And then the epiphany.

Oh my God! We make it up! We make it ALL up!

And the stories we tell ourselves dictate who we become.

As I emerged from the darkroom and into the lighted hallway, I decided right then and there that I’d start creating a more positive life story. After all, if I was making it up, I might as well make it good.

After that, I began to look at my deeply rooted issues from the past. My mother was a rageaholic and codependent; my father was an alcoholic and a womanizer. They hated each other. I had work to do, but now I knew I had the power to change my story. 

At 34, I left my marriage and returned to the United States. My deepest desire was to find true love and I didn't want to waste any more time in the wrong relationships.

So, I worked with the best mentors and teachers I could find. I received my Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology. I did Dream Work with Don Miguel Ruiz and 12-Step for compulsive eating. Deep digging. Self-acceptance. I looked at some ugly truths about myself. Sometimes I wondered if there was a finish line to the inner work and if I’d ever find my guy.

I had moved back to Los Angeles and, one day, I found my worst nightmare coming true. I was turning 40 and I was still single. I had no illusions. I was attractive but there was no way I could compete with all the young, pretty, sexy, slim women in LA.

But then I took a step back and saw my situation clearly. Despite their youth and beauty, few of these women were in loving, lasting relationships and that’s what I was longing to find.

Internet dating was relatively new, and I saw it as the answer to all my prayers. For the first time, I no longer had to wait for men to ask me out on dates and I had limitless opportunities.

In two years, I went on 96 first dates. I was putting everything I’d learned into practice. 

Ninety-five dates didn’t result in a second, but the 96th first date introduced me to Benjamin, the Guardian of My Soul, and my husband for over two decades.

On our first date, he asked, “What are you looking for?” 

“Since I left my ex-husband, I’ve been working so hard on myself, and I’m done working hard. All I want to do is meet a great guy and have fun!” I answered.

Benjamin later told me this was the most beautiful thing he’d ever heard a woman say. That same night, he took down his profile.

After our first date, I left for a three-and-a-half-week business trip to Vietnam. Benjamin marked my return on his calendar and wrote to ask me out again that same day. On the first anniversary of our first date, he asked me to marry him, and a year after that, we were married.

In 2003, just three months after we’d met, Benjamin said I should be a therapist or a coach. When I asked why he said that personal transformation was my passion and all I talked about. 

For the first time, I truly felt seen by the man I loved. Shortly after that I sold my importing business to an ex-boyfriend, and became one of the world's first 'Love Coaches.'

Symbolically, though, I am still a photographer. A photographer magically turns a blank piece of paper into a beautiful, timeless piece of art in a darkroom. I did this with my life and have helped thousands of women do this with theirs. 

MEET Lisa

Lisa Shield is a love, dating, and relationship coach with over two decades experience. She has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and is a certified coach through The Coaches Training Institute. She has studied extensively with Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. She has been a featured expert in The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, LA Times, and Cosmopolitan. She was also a guest on ABC News and The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Last year, 12 of Lisa’s clients were married, and she was asked to officiate four of those weddings. Her most successful year yet was during the pandemic: where many more of her clients found the partner of their dreams, got engaged, and married—proving again, no matter the hurdle, true love really is unstoppable. She and her husband, Benjamin, are passionately in love for over two decades. They live in Santa Fe, NM with their two adorable dogs, Oliver and JAX. 

Benjamin’s BIO

Benjamin Shield

Benjamin Shield fell in love with bodywork in 1971 while attending New College in Sarasota, Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Health Sciences, and his teaching focuses on craniosacral therapy, pediatrics, spinal mobilization, visceral manipulation, and courses on brain anatomy and function.

Benjamin wrote four books exploring both healing and spirituality, including Healers on Healing, Handbook for the Soul, Handbook for the Spirit, and Handbook for the Heart.

In addition to his thriving practice, Benjamin works with Lisa, giving her clients a welcomed male perspective. Benjamin joins Lisa on weekly Q&A calls, interviews, and he graciously writes the dating profiles for her clients.

Cassie SchroEder

Operations Manager and Mindset Coach

Cassie Schroeder, my trusted Operations Manager and Love Coach, was previously a middle school teacher and teacher leader for twenty years. With a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, she was also a Magnet Lead Teacher, and language arts department head. She brings much of this knowledge of learning and metacognition (knowing how one learns best) to the table when coaching Lisa’s clients. Ten years ago, Cassie began her personal growth journey. She is a yogi, a minimalist, and can’t seem to kick her self-help reading addiction. After trying therapy, self-help books, podcasts and YouTube videos to solve her dating dilemmas, she finally found Lisa. Last year, Cassie left her teaching career to pursue her dream of becoming one of Lisa’s love coaches

Cassie Schroeder is Lisa’s trusted Operations Manager and one of her incredible love coaches. She was previously a middle school teacher and teacher leader for twenty years, and with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, she was a Magnet Lead Teacher and Language Arts Department Head. She brings much of this knowledge of learning and metacognition (knowing how one learns best) to the table when coaching Lisa’s clients. Cassie’s own personal growth journey began 10 years ago and she remains just as curious as ever. She is a yogi, a minimalist, and can’t seem to kick her self-help reading addiction. After trying to solve her dating dilemmas with therapy, podcasts, YouTube videos, and those addictive self-help books, she finally found Lisa. Last year, Cassie left her teaching career to pursue her dream of becoming one of Lisa’s love coaches. 

Deborah Hartnett

Enrollment Coordinator and Executive Assistant

Deborah Hartnett joins the Lisa Shield team as Enrollment Coordinator and Executive Assistant. With 15 years of experience as an executive coach and corporate trainer specializing in human performance, she has trained and facilitated executive teams, non-profit boards, and individuals in causing breakthrough performance.

Before venturing into the training arena, Deborah began her career in music, theater and media arts including performing with the Canadian Opera Company, The National Arts Center Symphony Orchestra and she performed for the Canadian Prime Minster and Chinese Premier. As an actor, she appeared on local and nationally syndicated television programs and countless theater productions. She later shifted her focus to production and distribution and co-produced an award-winning feature length documentary “Beauty Bites Beast”. The film was endorsed by Gloria Steinem and shown for members of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Deborah has been advocating for young people, the arts and women in leadership for many years and has contributed in various ways to organizations and is a Board Member for The Extraordinary Lives Foundations. A non-profit that focuses on Mental Health awareness for children. She has contributed in various ways to Girls Inc., the Boys and Girls Club, Working Wardrobe and the Coast-to-Coast Foundation, among others. Deborah’s previous Board experience includes the Orange County Women’s Chorus, The Large Format Cinema Association and The Ottawa-Hull Film and Television Association. She was also a founding member and Co-Chair of the Women’s Impact Council for the Center Club in Costa Mesa, CA.

A native of Canada, Deborah now makes her home in sunny Orange County, California with her son and her two fur babies, Thelma and Louise.

Rebecca Garnet

Head Mindset Coach

Rebecca participated in Lisa’s 12-week END program and year-long Mastermind group and is now engaged to the love of her life and Guardian of Her Soul, Sam. After seeing so many women in the course asking Rebeca for advice, Lisa asked Rebecca to become one of her coaches. Rebecca has many gifts that make her a natural coach. She worked for over 20 years at the bedside as an ER nurse, a nursing instructor, and in management where she developed tremendous patience, compassion, and insight. Her wicked sense of humor and zest for life give her a special talent for writing playful text messages to men. Rebecca finds balance in her life through her passions for cooking, scuba diving, working with a dog rescue, and most of all, spending time with Sam and their two sweet rescue dogs. 

Rebecca participated in Lisa’s 12-week END program and year-long Mastermind group and is now engaged to the love of her life and Guardian of Her Soul, Sam. After seeing so many women in the course asking Rebecca for advice, Lisa asked her to become one of her coaches. Rebecca has many gifts that make her a natural coach. She worked for over 20 years at the bedside as an ER nurse, a nursing instructor, and in management where she developed tremendous patience, compassion, and insight. Her wicked sense of humor and zest for life give her a special talent for writing playful text messages to men. Rebecca finds balance in her life through her passions for cooking, scuba diving, working with a dog rescue, and most of all, spending time with Sam and their two sweet rescue dogs. 

Diane Pekmezian

Enrollment Coach

Diane Pekmezian, Enrollment Coach, is in her dream job! After more than 2 decades as a top-performing account executive on Wall Street, she left the city to follow her heart and family. She adopted two infants from Armenia and took care of three loved ones in home hospice. For most of her adult life, Diane has been on a personal growth journey and feels blessed to have found Lisa Shield in 2021, when she enrolled in Lisa’s Emotionally Naked Dating course. “Doing Lisa’s program helped me silence the doubting voice in my head and feel confident in myself. She’s also helped make dating fun, something I thought I’d never say!” Diane is looking forward to meeting every successful, intelligent woman who is searching for love and wants to transform her life. When Diane is not dating or talking about love, she is playing tennis, pickleball, ping pong, or billiards!

Diane Pekmezian, Enrollment Coach, is in her dream job! After more than 2 decades as a top-performing account executive on Wall Street, she left the city to follow her heart and family. She adopted two infants from Armenia and took care of three loved ones in home hospice. For most of her adult life, Diane has been on a personal growth journey and feels blessed to have found Lisa Shield. In 2021, after enrolling in Lisa’s Emotionally Naked Dating. Doing Lisa’s program helped me silence the doubting voice in my head and feel confident in myself. She’s also helped make dating fun, something I thought I’d never say!” Diane is looking forward to meeting every successful, intelligent woman who is searching for love and wants to transform her life. When Diane is not dating or talking about love, she is playing tennis, pickle ball, ping pong, or Billards!

Kari Lee Cartwright

Creative Producer

Kari Lee Cartwright, Creative Producer, worked as Lisa’s husband, Benjamin Shield’s, trusted assistant for four years before the pandemic. But her true passion is as an actor, director, writer and sketch comedy performer appearing in numerous national commercials and on such recent TV shows as The Dropout, American Horror Stories, and Insecure. Kari Lee is currently producing Lisa’s twice-weekly podcast, Dating Without Drama. 

Kelly Scott

Virtual Operations Assistant

Kelly Scott, our Virtual Operations Assistant, helps with various behind-the-scenes tasks that keep Lisa’s business running smoothly. Previously, she was an educator who loved opening young minds, being a team player, and making the world a better place one child at a time. Now, she chooses to be at home enjoying her new role as a domestic goddess and having the privilege of raising her beautiful three-year-old daughter. Kelly’s primary love languages include quality time and acts of service which make her a big fan of conscious conversations and meaningful interactions. In her free time, you can find her at the gym crushing Crossfit workouts, listening to self-help books on Audible, driving ” upta camp” to roast marshmallows around the campfire, or living up to her ‘foodie’ reputation by cooking, baking, and eating her way through life. Kelly hails from the Pine Tree State of Maine and lives with the love of her life and their beautiful daughter. 

Rita Rivera

Rita Rivera-Fox began her own process of “waking up” in her late teens. She spent years under the tutelage of Native American shamans, Mesoamerican healers and Hindu Masters. In 1991, she met don Miguel Ruiz, M.D., bestselling author of The Four Agreements, and began co-teaching with don Miguel all over the world including Mexico, Peru, and Egypt, as well as the renowned Omega Institute in New York. Rita soon became an acknowledged Master in her own right. She co-created the Choice Process, an experiential method that helps people clear the emotional body and opens them to new states of consciousness. She also founded Life Mastery Dreaming, a five-year, intensive course of introspection that frees people from their limiting beliefs so they can live a happier life. Rita lives in Los Angeles with her husband Ed Fox, has two grown daughters, four grandchildren, and two incredibly conscious cats. Rita is one of Lisa’s two brilliant love coaches.