More on my @CityMatchLdn @BizLondon cover story #LdnOnt

            I’ve never been wooed. Professionally, that is. So I can only imagine the kinds of discussions that occur when a company desperately wants someone to pack up his or her family and come to London to fill a key role.

            (One thing we know from the magnificent new Pixar creation, Inside Out, is the kids will struggle mightily with their emotions when the family relocates, but that’s a topic for another blog entry. Suffice to say: Inside Out is terrific. Your kids should see it. You should see it. It will be nominated by the Oscar folks not just for best animated film, but for best film, period.)

            Back to being wooed. And again, I mean professionally.

            One of the challenges London companies face when bringing talent here is that no one outside shouting distance of Andy Oudman knows very much about London. What those companies need is someone connected to all parts of the city -- an unofficial ambassador of sorts, a community concierge if you will -- to introduce London to the Wooed and the Wooed to London.

            That’s where Jodi Simpson comes in. As you can read about in this month’s Business London magazine, Simpson recently launched CityMatch, a service designed to help the Wooed and their families integrate smoothly with the city and everything it has to offer, even if those offerings aren’t obvious or widely understood.

            For a flat rate of $4,800, paid by the recruiting company, she takes the incoming family under her wing, meeting them at the airport if appropriate, and introduces them to the city, in much the same way the best teachers you ever had opened your eyes to a new subject.

            Our own love or hatred of a given subject – history or Shakespeare perhaps – often can be traced directly to the first high school teacher who introduced us to the topic. That teacher either lit or doused our nascent interest, depending on her level of enthusiasm and creativity.

            In a similar way, Simpson will be the teacher who introduces professionals and their families to their new home of London, Ont. Her enthusiasm for the city is unparalleled. In fact, part of the reason she started the business was to contribute something to the city.

            Before she was director of marketing at Harrison Pensa, she was director of programs at TechAlliance. There she saw how difficult it can be for technology companies to attract and retain talent. It’s not just tech companies either. Lots of companies struggle to fill specific posts and lament the loss of key people whose abilities inevitably draw attention from companies around the world.

            If CityMatch pans out the way she hopes, Simpson will be a valuable resource for those companies in their ongoing struggle to find and retain the very best employees -- those who know what it’s like to be wooed. Professionally, that is.