Dawn Neufeld

The litigating, philanthropic TV host and supermom on living in the moment

TV host and philanthropic supermom Dawn Neufeld lives in the moment

dawn neufeld, the influentials
Dawn Neufeld, taking a break from her new hosting gig on The Broadcast. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon

You can never have too much of a good thing, and Dawn Neufeld proves it. A business litigation attorney by day and philanthropist by night, this mother of two and wife of former NFL’er Ryan Neufeld is even taking a stab at television show hosting over at The Broadcast.

Neufeld has worked tirelessly with the Junior League of Dallas in placements such as Booker T. Washington and Habitat for Humanity. Other volunteer ventures include serving as a board member for the Dallas Theater Center, working with the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, and contributing to various charities involving autism.

Whether it’s being an advocate for Autism Speaks or using her platform as a competitor in Mrs. Texas America to increase autism awareness, she is a true hero in that community. And she is squarely in it, as a mother of child with autism.

Neufeld is relentless in her efforts to better the world around her, and she is a shining example of walking the talk. She enjoyed her Junior League placement at Habitat for Humanity so much that she did it again. Last week, she could be found passing out Thanksgiving meals for Minnie’s Food Pantry. And she went to Oklahoma after the devastating tornados to help with relief efforts.

“We’re all just an adversity away from needing a hand up,” Neufeld says. “Volunteering reminds me to count my blessings and not take anything for granted.”

This charming, beautiful community leader is a woman of many talents, so we had to find out what makes her tick.

What is your chief characteristic?

My ability to overcome adversity. My dad died from a heart attack when I was 9, and my mom had to raise three young daughters on her own. It was tough. At a young age, I had to learn how to persevere through tragedy. What I learned is that regardless of how bad something is, it will get better, and in the end I'll be okay. As long as I maintain that perspective, I can get through just about anything.  

Your idea of happiness?

Happiness is all about living in the moment. Regardless of the chaos going on around you, there is so much to be grateful for right here, right now. Finding contentment in my circumstances is my happy place.

Your idea of misery?

Sitting in Tollway traffic at 8 on a Monday morning.

Your favorite food and drink?

My favorite food is bacon. It's a gift from God. It makes everything better. 

At a bar you'll catch me drinking a Cosmo or one of the specialty drinks on the menu. I had a cucumber martini at Jasper's recently that was to die for. But this girl also likes to drink beer when kicking back. A good Hefeweizen makes me giddy.

Your favorite motto?

This too shall pass.

Your favorite heroes in real life?

Families dealing with autism. My son Will was diagnosed when he was 3. Until you've had to live with autism 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, it's hard to explain how traumatic it can be for families. My son is the greatest gift in my life, and he makes me smile every day, but his autism has literally brought me to tears at times. I truly admire families who are trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together.     

If not yourself, who would you be?

Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model.  

Your favorite pastime?

Riding roller coasters! The bigger, the better.

What do you love most about Dallas?

I love the intimacy of this city. Everyone and everything is so connected. I grew up in Los Angeles and never felt the sense of community that I feel here. It's intoxicating. It makes you want to get involved and be a part of something big.  

What would you change about the city?

The people who don't dare go north of 635.  

What makes a true Dallasite?

Looking good in the middle of summer without sweating.