After disrupting the hospitality industry twice, first as the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the second-largest operator of boutique hotels in the U.S., and then as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, leading a worldwide revolution in travel, Chip Conley co-founded MEA (Modern Elder Academy) in January 2018.
Inspired by his experience of intergenerational mentoring as a ‘modern elder’ at Airbnb, where his guidance was instrumental to the company’s extraordinary transformation from a fast-growing start-up to the world’s most valuable hospitality brand, MEA is the world's first ‘midlife wisdom school.’ A New York Times bestselling author, Conley's 7th book “Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age” is about rebranding midlife to help people understand the upside of this often-misunderstood life stage.
Successful hospitality entrepreneur and bestselling author Chip Conley is on a mission to reframe our relationship with aging. As the founder of MEA, the world's first midlife wisdom school with regenerative communities, Conley is disrupting both the idea of higher education and senior living. He has both a BA and MBA from Stanford University and an Honorary PhD in Psychology from Saybrook University. He’s been a TED speaker at the prestigious annual conference multiple times.
Chip Conley had an epiphany while being the "modern elder" to the Airbnb's founders in their early days: the world needs midlife wisdom schools to help people reimagine and repurpose their lives in their 40s, 50s and 60s. And, hence, the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) opened in Baja (Mexico) and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The editor of Spirituality + Health magazine signed up for an MEA Baja workshop and had the time of his life. He wrote that it was “the most inspiring workshop of my career” and this man has been to a lot of workshops! He enjoyed it so much that he did a cover story and profile of Chip and MEA in the most recent issue of S + H.
California native Chip Conley grew up visiting the towering redwoods and indulging his curiosity about wise and aging things. But as an adult, he begins to feel the weight of middle age and loses the curiosity that once drove him to innovate and explore. "Chip’s story is for me, one of alchemy. Transforming his experience...into one where he is in touch with the miracles of humanity."
At age 52, after selling the company he founded and ran as CEO for 24 years, rebel boutique hotelier Chip Conley (@chipconley) was looking for a new chapter in life. Then he received a call from the young founders of Airbnb, asking him to help grow their disruptive start-up into a global hospitality giant. He became their head of global hospitality and strategy.
“Beginnings” is Southwest Airlines Magazine’s focus for January. And Chip Conley, one of the execs behind Airbnb’s rise, is on a quest to help people restart their careers—and end the office generation gap as we know it. Step one: Stop thinking in terms of “old people” and “young people.”
In our increasingly accelerated world that reveres the young, many midlife professionals sense that the ground is shifting beneath their feet, leaving them feeling invisible, undervalued and threatened by the digital natives nipping at their heels. But is experience and wisdom on the verge of a comeback?
From “boy wonder” of the boutique hotel world to “modern elder” at Airbnb to movement maker with the Modern Elder Academy, Chip's disruptions — and wisdom gleaned from experience — have been profiled far and wide…