jim neal

Founder & CEO, The Agema Group LLC
Chapel Hill, NC, United States

About jim


Jim Neal is a community leader and businessman from North Carolina. He serves as the Chairman of The Agema Group LLC, a consultancy that advises institutional investors in the valuation of certain portfolio assets and the analysis of public policy relevant to those institutions’ thematic investments. In 2007 he announced his candidacy for the US Senate as a first-time candidate. He was the Democratic challenger to Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), subsequently opposed in the primary by Kay Hagan who enjoyed substantial financial support from the Democratic Party leadership. Despite finishing second to Hagan, Jim garnered a quarter-of-a-million votes, the highest total received in NC history by a runner-up in a Senate primary. He received national acclaim as only the second openly gay person in US history to run for the Senate.

After graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Neal began his career as a financial analyst with Goldman Sachs. He entered graduate school at the University of Chicago two years later. While a full-time student he worked for private equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner to supplement his educational expenses. Thereafter he joined the investment banking department at Salomon Brothers and subsequently held senior investment banking positions with Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Piper Jaffray. He also has been the CEO of two start-up companies in the healthcare technology and information services sectors respectively, each of which employed approximately 100 team members.

Jim served as a member of the Board of Governors of The New School from 2002 until 2006. He has served on numerous corporate and civic boards including the Investment Association of New York, United Medical Industrial Group of China, The Alliance for the Arts, The Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, Project Open Hand, and the Michel Fund. He was formerly a lay minister for the Episcopal Diocese of New York and has served as an overnight monitor at homeless shelters, sponsor of a refugee family to the United States, mentor to an ESL middle school student, parent board member at an elementary school and volunteer at a facility for the mentally challenged. In the aftermath of 9/11, he served on an economic task force formed by The New York City Partnership-a highly regarded business and civic organization founded by David Rockefeller- where Jim oversaw a working group that made recommendations to Mayor Michael Bloomberg on tactics to grow New York’s economic base. In 2004 Jim was a member of the 2004 National Campaign Finance Committees for the Wes Clark and John Kerry presidential campaigns. Mr. Neal has been a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, DePaul University and The New School and a featured guest on CNBC, CBS, Fox, ABC and NPR. He is currently a member of the the Board of Advisors of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Leadership Council and a contributing writer to The Huffington Post.

Jim is a native of Greensboro, NC. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC and is the father of two adult sons. He is writing a book on contemporary American political dynamics.

Mr. Neal enjoys works on the lives of President Lyndon Johnson and Winston Churchill, political and biographical non-fiction, American literature and contemporary fiction. As a teen he was a North Carolina junior tennis champion and the starting center on his high school’s basketball team. He is a collegiate basketball fan, and enjoys tennis and hiking, visits to the coast, chatting with just about anyone and tracking grizzly bears in Montana and Wyoming.


English, French, Spanish

I'm passionate about

Uplifting people who live on the fringes of society. That would include all things delivering the equal right of every person to a quality education, opportunity for advancement and health care.

Talk to me about

Portable / best-of-breed models to redress poverty, socio-economic inequality, the achievement gap, chronic health illnesses and mental health treatment / awareness.

People don't know I'm good at

Consolidating redundant systems. Impersonate Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and evangelical TV preachers.

Comments & conversations

jim neal
Posted over 4 years ago
How will you help students find their voice?
If you haven't, see the Independent Project. That endeavor dovetails nicely with Salman Khan's peer-to-peer education tool. http://democraticeducation.org/index.php/library/resource/the_independent_project/