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The Importance of Community: Gianelli & Associates 

They say it takes a village to raise a child—but perhaps a village can do so much more than that. David Gianelli, the Managing Attorney at Gianelli & Associates, puts a considerable amount of faith in the community and how getting involved can affect a person and a business.

“I think I really learned the most from the American Leadership Forum,” Gianelli said. “That was life-changing for me. I went through that in 2010 and wish I had done that earlier. It probably would have saved me from putting my foot in my mouth a few times. It helped me realize how little I was listening.”

In addition to being involved in the American Leadership Forum, Gianelli’s nonprofits and community efforts include the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, The Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, the Boys and Girls Club of Stanislaus County, the Downtown Modesto Partnership, along with many more. And, of course, he’s been a part of the Modesto Rotary Club.

“Rotary has also taught me a lot,” said Gianelli. “You are surrounded by many people who are involved and care about the community–and you learn from observation. Mostly, I’ve learned that there are many people who care about the community and I am one of them.”

Gianelli joined the Chamber of Commerce board when the economy was in its 2007-2008 downturn. Clients were going bankrupt, and there were a number of discussions about what the community needed to get out of their economic turbulence.

“There are many, many cogs in the wheel of making a successful community,” said Gianelli. “A good educational system. Children and families who are engaged with each other. A vibrant downtown. A strong business community. A safe community.”

On top of everything, the Chamber was perceived as being only about land use at that time—which Gianelli is quick to state is not a “correct perspective,” and it’s one he’s been working to change.

“We get so obsessed with the negatives, but there are many, many positives that come out of the Chamber,” said Gianelli. “The Downtown Modesto Partnership is a good example. Many have come together, in part because of the efforts of the Chamber, to improve downtown. This is a critical piece of the puzzle to making Modesto a more vibrant and successful community.”

An improvement in the neighborhoods could impact the entire community, lead more businesses to enter and stay in the community, and create opportunities for children—“our future talent,” and the root of the long term solution. He’s worked for the Education Foundation, an organization that puts children in team situations to build positive connections and encourage feelings of self-worth.

This act of studying the bigger picture has carried over to his business, where Gianelli places an emphasis on connecting with and understanding clients to better serve them. The firm is run so well and tightly that they’ve won a coveted Business Hall of Fame award from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

“We have a great crew here at the office that care about our clients and that allow me to do the stuff I do for the community,” Gianelli said. “It’s a very busy and successful office. I feel that we have more knowledge here around business and estate issues than any office in the central valley.”

Understanding and interacting with people is integral not only for the community, but for businesses, too—and it’s something that Gianelli recommends.

“It’s actually pretty simple,” said Gianelli. “Listen—listen carefully—with curiosity and with a desire to help.”

By Noel Daniel

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