The Missionary of Midlife Wisdom
Chip Conley has always been a man on a mission. First, he revolutionized the boutique hotel scene by founding Joie de Vivre Hospitality when he was just 26. Decades later in 2013, he joined Airbnb as Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, working with the young startup to help lead a revolution in travel. Inspired by his experience of cross-generational mentoring as a “modern elder” at Airbnb, Chip wrote “Wisdom @ Work,” and co-founded the Modern Elder Academy, the world’s first “midlife wisdom school.” Dedicated to reframing the concept of aging, MEA is located in Baja, CA, and Santa Fe, NM, where thousands have made the pilgrimage to his thoughtfully curated retreats, emerging with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. A seven-time New York Times bestselling author, Conley’s next book “Learning to Love Midlife” is out in 2024, and chronicles what he’s learned from working with MEA students from nearly 50 countries.
Modern Elder Academy is designed to help its students look at midlife as an opportunity, not a crisis. With 4,000 alumni from 44 countries, plus 26 regional chapters globally, MEA has expanded into two campuses in North America. Core curriculum is based on elements in founder Chip Conley’s “Wisdom@Work,” and each workshop has its own set of topics, exercises, and discussions. One student called MEA “a lovely container for life-changing conversations.” Themed weeklong workshops are grounded in four pillars, based upon collaboration with institutions like Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, and Yale: Reframing Aging, Growth Mindset, Transitions, and A Life of Renewal.