Meet Neal

Meet Neal Griebling

In one way or another, my focus has always been to serve others, helping them to find peace and fulfillment.  This journey has taken some interesting and unexpected turns along the way, as most do.  But in the end, it’s been the best journey I could have asked for.  Today, my fondest wish is that every person I am privileged to serve can eventually say the same.

My first (and longest) career was as a planner, program developer and fundraiser. It was a career I wandered into quite by accident.

I had intended to teach history at a university and found myself halfway through a Master’s Degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when I realized that the university teaching market would be glutted by the time I finished a doctoral program. This was the height of the Vietnam War and college undergrads were opting to extend their military deferments.

I dropped out of my master’s program and took a job at the university with the Instructional Media Laboratory (IML). The IML was the program development arm of the university and we developed new courses that featured programmed instruction, audio tape, radio and television. I was working with a dynamic young TV director at the time who had a wealth of exciting ideas. Working with him, I wrote a successful grant proposal funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities which featured a series of interviews with such luminaries as Aaron Copeland, Cassius Clay (as he was known then), Barbara Walters, and Dizzy Gillespie. The program went on to receive national recognition. From that point on, I was hooked on developing programs and securing the funds to underwrite them.

For the next 25 years, I raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Portland Oregon, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There was a great deal of discretionary federal dollars and although the grant-making process was very competitive, the agencies I worked for were very knowledgeable in knowing how to master the application process.

I came to Pittsburgh in 1980 and took a job with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (a regional education agency that provided special education and other services to each of the suburban school districts within Allegheny County). There I completed proposals to secure contracts for special education curricula and to create a school-to-work program for economically disadvantaged students in 12 school districts.

In 1990 I left the AIU to take a position as Director of Development with the St. Francis Health System. My focus shifted from federal dollars to foundation support and major gifts. I stayed nine years, but my heart wasn’t in my work anymore. When my boss took a position in Cleveland, I knew it was time – not only to leave – but to explore other options.

I had no idea of what career to pursue. Fundraising was the one niche I knew intimately. I was in my late fifties and I was very aware of the reality of age discrimination. Fortunately, it was my destiny to encounter not one, but three outstanding mentors who helped me identify and find work I love. I did not seek them out so much as they found me. I don’t believe in coincidences.

During a 24 month period I studied intensively with Fern Gorin who had developed a holistic approach to career development in the mid-1980s. I received certification as a career consultant and coach and later modified her model which I now call Life-Work Discovery.

I met and worked with Diane Martin, a Zen priest and Jungian analyst who offered an innovative chaplaincy program. I chose hospice as my area of focus and was subsequently asked to lead a nonprofit organization, Peaceful Dwelling Place, which trained volunteers to become compassionate companions to the dying and their families in the greater Pittsburgh region.

Finally, I discovered the ground-breaking work of David K. Reynolds who offered a synthesis of two Japanese psychotherapies that he called Constructive Living. I trained with Greg Krech, one of David’s foremost students and received certification as a trainer to present the Constructive Living lifeway.

So now I wear two hats. I continue to do hospice work, working directly with patients and their families and offering consultation services to area hospice programs.

My primary career, however, is as a career consultant and coach. In both capacities, my mission is to serve others, helping them to find peace and equanimity while accessing rich internal resources to achieve their life and career goals.