I’m honored to share this special Father’s Day Episode featuring my very own father-in-law, David Neale. I started dating my husband Chris when I was only 19, so I realize David has been a source of inspiration and guidance in my life for over 30 years. How lucky I am to have had his example of leadership, impact, and joy for life to light my way for my entire adulthood! 

The inspiration for this episode was sparked several months ago at a big milestone birthday celebration David organized to honor his 80th year. That celebration was also the launch of a new fund he initiated through the San Jose Rotary, inspired by his experience as a grandparent to my two boys, Ryan who is autistic, and Jacob who navigates dyslexia, ADHD and dysgraphia. 

In this episode, we explore the stories and wisdom of David’s life, including his childhood in England, his move to Montreal and then San Jose, CA, his impactful work as the founder and CEO of The Core Companies, and all the thoughtful ways he shows up as a grandfather. We also talk about the Youth Empowerment Neurodiversity Fund, which Ryan and I have had the honor of helping to shape, alongside David and other Rotary committee members. 

One of David’s most significant contributions in leadership has come through his innovative thinking and outside-the-box solutions for redevelopment housing, including the creation of Art Ark, an innovative housing community for artists in San Jose, Willow Housing, a Veteran’s housing project in Menlo Park, CA that includes access to critical support services, and most recently the Agrihood in Santa Clara, CA, a unique affordable housing project that includes retail and has an Urban Farm at its center.  

His achievements are many, but as David says, his success did not happen in a straight line. His life journey was filled with plot twists, pivots, and even a few failures. Through it all, with my mother-in-law Anne by his side, he continued to believe in himself and his dreams.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did and leave inspired as I am to keep persevering through challenges, opening ourselves to new perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking, and knowing that each setback may bring us closer to all we’ve ever wanted.  

About David Neale:

David Neale is a leader and visionary in real estate development, known for his commitment to community building and for his innovative approaches to affordable housing and redevelopment. A career that began in 1978 in Montreal brought David to San Jose, CA in the 1980s and led him to found The Core Companies in 1989. As CEO of The Core Companies, David has built a vibrant company and spearheaded transformative projects that have left a lasting imprint on the communities they serve.

Notable projects Core has completed with David at the helm include Art Ark, an innovative housing community for artists in San Jose, Willow Housing, a Veteran’s housing project in Menlo Park, CA that includes access to critical support services, and most recently the Agrihood in Santa Clara, CA, a unique affordable housing project that includes retail and has an Urban Farm at its center.  

His leadership also extends into community engagement and education. David spent 16 years on the board of directors for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and served as a founding member of the non-profit First Community Housing. His almost two decades of service on the San Jose Rotary recently led David to initiate a new Youth Empowerment Neurodiversity Fund, inspired by David’s experience with two of his grandchildren who are neurodivergent.

Throughout his career, David exemplified a commitment to building projects that not only enhance the physical landscape but also uplift the lives of individuals and communities. His greatest accomplishment however is the family he has built with his wife of over 60 years, including his two children, and his four grandchildren. 

Connect with David:

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • David’s childhood experiences in England and his mother’s transition from a stay-at-home mom to small retail store business partner.
  • The influence of David’s father’s ambition on his pursuit of independence and his adventures around the world.
  • The political upheaval in Montreal during the 1970s that led David to pursue his fate and a life and career near San Jose, CA. 
  • David’s reflections on spending time with his grandchildren and mentoring them on life skills and overcoming challenges
  • David’s individual toasts at a recent family dinner, celebrating each grandchild’s unique qualities and stages in life, one example of how he mindfully engages with them.
  • David’s efforts to understand and champion his neurodivergent grandsons, Ryan and Jacob, and his leadership in starting the Youth Neurodiversity Empowerment Fund through the San Jose Rotary.
  • David’s impactful career in building communities, particularly in affordable housing, including the creation of the artist housing project, Art Ark. Also why building housing communities requires more than just the physical structures. 
  • Reflections on personal lessons learned, through many pivots and failures, and his advice for us about how to more fully live our E.P.I.C. lives. 

This Episode’s Challenge: 

David invites us to embrace the understanding that life is not a straight line. He encourages us to adapt and pivot to new circumstances, recognizing that daily adjustments may be necessary. Despite the obstacles that may arise, David urges us to never give up on pursuing our goals and to engage in activities that we truly love. By cultivating a passion for what you do, he believes that success will naturally follow. David also emphasizes the importance of asking questions and maintaining an inquisitive mindset, as continuous learning is a fundamental aspect of personal growth. As we move through our own epic life journey, David’s invitation is to embrace failures as valuable lessons and to persevere with unwavering determination, knowing that each setback brings you closer to your ultimate destination.

This Episode is dedicated by: 

Jacob Neale, David’s youngest grandchild.

Jacob can also be heard in the recording for last year’s Father’s Day episode with Normal Sucks author and fellow dyslexic ADHDer Jonathan Mooney.

Listen to the episode here: https://mothersquest.com/different-is-not-deficient-with-normal-sucks-author-jonathan-mooney/

You Might Also Be Interested In These Father’s Day Special Episodes

Here Comes the Sun: A Solocast on Death, Grief, and Love

Ep 75: A Call for Kinetic Partnership with While Black’s Darius Hicks

Ep 44: A Family Legacy of Service and Leadership with California Assemblymember Rob Bonta

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