James Neal

Creative Entrepreneur in New York

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My life has been filled with unique experiences and fascinating people. I was the second gay person in history to run for the US Senate. I've dined with Desmond Tutu and Dr. James Watson. Lauren Bacall screamed at me during a conversation. Brooke Astor at the Knickerbocker Club and Philip Johnson at the Four Seasons Grill Room flirted with me over lunch. I smoked a cigar with Monica Lewinsky. Civil rights icon The Rev. Joseph Lowery prayed for me and fashion icon Nan Kempner introduced me as the most handsome man in New York. I've been jailed twice for civil disobedience. Lord Jacob Rothschild and Edmond Safra are amongst the banking clients for whom I have worked. I was a state tennis champion at age thirteen. Social equality is innate to my essence.

Grizzly bears fascinate me. Mom grew up dirt poor in a mill village. My home is the ground beneath my feet. Je suis au coeur de Paris. I've never met a stranger. I have a tattoo. I am a romantic.

Three start-ups under my belt so far. I am advising private equity investors, writing a "non-fiction novel", and producing a TV mini-series. I give back- whether it's a buck in a bucket, a night in a homeless shelter or membership on a board of directors. I received my M.S. from the University of North Carolina and MBA from the University of Chicago. I contribute occasionally to The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post.

Deconstructing a wacky idea and turning it into a jewel challenges me. I'm a jock who is also drawn to contemporary art, vintage strike lighters, sand between my toes, and travel. Life is fleeting and I strive to to enjoy every step of the way, every day.

  • Education
    • The University of Chicago
    • The University of North Carolina