Witty, wise, and eloquent. Author, entrepreneur, mentor, and podcaster.
Meet Neva Lee Recla, an 11-year-old student in Arizona.
Like many girls her age, she attends school virtually, is active in her church, and dreams of going to college. Then, there are the many ways she shines brilliantly, like a supernova traveling through the universe.
For the Recla family, podcasting is a family affair. They created the SuperPower Network in January 2016, and Neva’s mother, Tonya Dawn, was the first to host a show. Then, at the age of seven, Neva decided she wanted to follow her podcasting mother’s example and host her own show. She asked her mother if she could, and remembers her mom “looking at me like I was crazy. Like, ‘How is my seven-year-old daughter going to do a podcast?’” She was actually a little reluctant at first.
“My mom said, ‘I don’t want to coach kids.’ I explained to her that I was going to be the one who coaches them. We talked about it more, and she agreed. When I first started Super Power Kids, I had no clue what I was doing. I copied everything my mom said and memorized her exact intro.”
Super Power Kids was the second podcast on the SuperPower Network. Neva remembers her first interview:
“I was so nervous! My first guest was a free diver, which was so cool! I thought she was a mermaid! I remember I had listened to a couple of my mom’s episodes. And I did the exact same thing she did. And that made me even more nervous. But then, I started finding myself and it became really easy.”
Neva may have begun her podcast journey at seven, but she was already an accomplished author and entrepreneur, having been in business for five years!
Neva shares, “My parents had just gotten out of the military. They were doing background checks; they were spies. They are both awesome… pretty much superheroes.”
They were also regular attendees of the business conference, CEO Space.
“They weren’t too sure about bringing me to the conference with them, though. They did, and little me loved making friends with literally everybody,” Neva says.
Neva considers the attendees of this conference mentors and extended family—especially founder Berny Dorhmann. To date, Neva says that Berny was one of her biggest role models.
When Neva saw her parents’ business cards, she asked for her own. “I had no clue what they were or why they had them. They just looked fun. I had no clue what a business was, even. I just knew I wanted to do it.”
It was during the CEO Space expo that Neva launched her first business. She began selling Italian glass bracelets that someone had given to her for $10. Initially, she sold at her parents’ booth, but as she got older, she had her own! She realized “how much fun it was. When I was making money, I could buy whatever I wanted. And I was also having a lot of fun meeting new people. Then, I started selling Jam Berry with my sister—they’re nail stickers, instead of painting your nails. I realized how much fun it was to work with a business partner. And that’s when I really got into the business of selling, and it made me realize the impact I could have.”
During the conferences, parents approached Neva and would say things like, “My kid could never be like you” before walking away. This inspired Neva to write her first book, When Pigs Fly: The Parent’s Guide to Inspire Your Young Entrepreneur. The book took two years to write and is over 100 pages long. Neva recalls, “My parents were supportive. My mom was helping me write, and my dad was helping to get ideas out of me. I wrote the book to encourage parents to encourage their kids, ‘cuz we’re pretty smart if you let us be. And the book has snippets for kids to read, too, with tips on what to do and what not to do at a business conference. I think it gives a different perspective on what business can be, especially for kids.”
Neva has always had adult friends and numerous role models, but there is one person who is extra special to her. “My great grandma is going on 99 years old this year! She is the cutest person you’ll ever meet, and she’s sassy. During quarantine, she kicked all the family out. She said, ‘Don’t come to my house. I’m going to stay safe.’ She loves watching the news and baseball games. She feeds a bunch of squirrels and has a giant trashcan full of peanuts for them! She’s very self-reliant, and I want to live on my own if I make it to 99, too!”
Prior to COVID-19, Neva was homeschooled. “I’ve been completely homeschooled since I can remember. I did go to kindergarten, but it wasn’t for long. And I tried out two schools, but didn’t like them very much. It didn’t fit with our travel schedule, either, because we traveled a lot when I was younger. I was doing various online programs. I have a Spanish teacher, who is also one of the podcast hosts on our network, and I’m almost fluent in Spanish.”
Neva laughingly shares, “Now, I’m actually going to school, even though it’s virtual. I went backwards. I would say that I am doing life backwards; I mastered the adult space when I was two years old. And now, I’m mastering the kids’ mind space, which is a lot different.”
Neva recognizes that she is unique among her peers. “I was usually the odd one out, and honestly, I still am. Let’s talk about religion for a second—I’m Christian, yet also very spiritual. I also follow Buddhist teachings, and some others, so I’m here with all my crystals and running around like a hippie child as a baby. So yes, I’m a lot different than most kids my age, and I also have business experience. Most of the time, when I tried to make friends with people my age, I couldn’t relate fully, because there was nothing to relate to. I had many adult friends. I didn’t enjoy socializing anymore.”
The turning point came when Neva’s family began attending church in 2018. “I started making friends I could relate to, and I could also talk to them about my business, and they actually listened and supported me. And honestly, they’re some of my best friends. I realized I had to put myself into other people’s shoes for a second to see what they were going through. And then once I started school, I started making a lot of friends! I was honestly okay, playing on my own. My siblings are older, so I was used to being on my own.”
Now that Neva is making friends both at school and at church, she is becoming more comfortable with herself and sharing herself more fully on her podcast and with her friends. “My parents always supported me on my spiritual journey. I could talk about superpowers and abilities all day. I’ve had full conversations with the Universal God, or the Divine. I’ve seen things, and I’ve heard things. But I always thought that it had to be one or the other. And internally, I didn’t put together that I could be everything. A part of the reason I never really made friends was because I could only show them one side of me. It was either my business side, my Christian side, my spiritual side, or my regular kid side; it was never all of me. I was that kid who stayed up at night looking at the stars and trying to put the constellations together. I was also the kid who looked up fairy sightings to connect to magic.”
The concept of magic is a topic that Neva is passionate about. “I see people my age losing their magic, and at my church, there are kids who are five or six years old who’ve lost the magic of Christmas, because their parents have told them that Santa isn’t real. I always thought that I would be judged for what I thought, because I was judged most of the time. I realized that the magic isn’t from what others think of you. It’s from the connections you build. And no matter what you believe, if you’re Buddhist or Muslim, Christian or spiritual, if you consider yourself a hippie, or if you’re atheist and you don’t believe in anything at all, it doesn’t matter. Anybody can see that magic. A lot of kids I know are forgetting it.”
In 2020, Neva’s podcast generated over two million downloads, and although Neva is currently taking a break from it, she continues to manage the team that supports the SuperPower Network and enjoys her work behind the scenes. And while Oprah is her dream guest, Neva animatedly shares that this past November, she was invited to co-host an event with Stedman Graham!
“I worked with him on a business conference, and I got to talk to him. Oh my god! I did a business event with him for a community called CAYS, which is Community Alliance For Youth Success. He and I were co-hosting this event with Wendy Darling and Steve Farber. I got to do private phone calls with him. And then I spoke after him. I was freaking out—I was almost squealing during it!”
For now, Neva is focused on earning her first million dollars, so she can buy her dream pet—a Goldendoodle. She also serves at her church and is truly enjoying learning about the “real world of her peers”…
“Now that I’m in the ‘real world,’ I see what kids are going through. And I’m not even experiencing half of it. I’m seeing why magic goes away. But it gives me even more reasons to fight for it. I’m so committed to serving, because it breaks my heart to hear kids talking about how they are laughed at for the color of their skin or for what they believe. People have forgotten what that love looks like, and people are scared. I discovered that many kids my age are struggling. I’m speaking from experience that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I got to be a kid, and I love my life. We have such magic in our lives. I talk a lot about reigniting the magic, and not forgetting who you are. I believe that when you find that connection, even if the whole world turns their back on you, you can still stay strong. That’s my deepest passion—no matter if it’s in business or life—to help kids and others see that magic is real. If we open our heart to it, we can see so much light. There’s so much good in the world in every little thing. It brings me so much joy to share the opportunities I’ve had, and I love serving.”
Did I mention that Neva is 11 going on 12 this year?
The future is indeed very bright with young leaders like Neva creating a global impact with her message of hope and magic for children of all ages.