Our Purpose

To build a community of inspired and empowered midlifers.

Our 40s, 50s and 60s are rich with potential. We’ve grown enough wisdom to know what’s important and begun to get comfy in our own skin — just as it starts to sag. Yes, our sense of humor, humility, and emotional intelligence grows with age, too. MEA is here to turn your midlife crisis into a calling.

Modern Elder Academy's Timeline

Helping midlifers to live a life as deep as it is long.

January 2018

MEA Baja Campus Launches Beta Workshops

13 Beta cohorts — totalling 153 students — travel to Baja to test out MEA’s weeklong curriculum and the number one question they ask is, “Do you have an alumni program?”

Modern Elder Academy Baja Workshops Campus
September 2018

“Wisdom@Work” Book Launch and TED talk

MEA founder Chip Conley’s award-winning book about his transformational experiences at Airbnb is published and his TED talk on midlife is seen by nearly 3 million people.

Chip Conley TED Talk On-Stage
November 2018

MEA Baja Launches its Public Workshops

With a core curriculum to launch a movement, MEA holds its first two public workshops with a total of 26 students representing 6 countries — and a New York Times journalist.

Baja Workshops Alumni Group Photo
January 2019

Southwest Airlines Magazine Cover Story

Word spreads about MEA as the first midlife wisdom school dedicated to “long life” learning, followed by the paper, “The Emergence of Long-Life Learning” later this year.

Persons on a beach staring into the sunset
July 2019

MEA Baja Completes First Academic Year

Regional chapters are born. The alumni community gathers in San Francisco for a reunion with 200+, several from around the world. The modern elder movement has taken hold.

Group of people standing in a circle around the sun
October 2019

MEA Baja’s Second Academic Year Begins

Workshops continue based on MEA’s Net Promoter Customer Satisfaction Score (more than 95% of alums say they’d recommend our programs to friends, family and colleagues).

Modern Elder Academy Alumni Group Photo
March 2020

MEA Swerves with the Global Pandemic

MEA Baja campus closes with a shift to brainstorming new ways to sustain local staff and their families, and serve the alumni community by launching our Alumni membership program.

Baja Campus entry doors
October 2020

MEA Thrives with New Programs Launches

Lemons become lemonade via four new programs: Sabbatical Sessions, MEA Online, Activist in Residence (AIR), and the non-profit Association for Growth and Education (AGE).

Baja Campus Swimming Pool
January 2021

MEA’s First U.S. Location Established

Acquiring Santa Fe, New Mexico’s 2,566-acre Saddleback Ranch, MEA begins the vision and design process for its new campus and Regenerative Community slated to open 2023.

Santa Fe windmill in dessert
Winter 2021-22

Second Santa Fe Location is Established

A complementary location to the rural ranch campus is acquired within the city limits of Santa Fe where the focus will be on intergenerational collaboration (launch TBD).

Santa Fe entry doors
Dacher Keltner
Dacher Keltner

"MEA’s wisdom, kindness, sense of community, and purpose will stay with you for years."

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, where he directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab. He is also the founder and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center, the host of the podcast The Science of Happiness, and an MEA faculty member.

Modern Elder Academy's Story

Midlife isn’t a crisis. It’s a calling.

Chip Conley is on a mission. He lost five friends to suicide between 2008-2010, all men in midlife, at exactly the time he was going through his own dark night of the soul. Soon, he was asked by the young founders of Airbnb to help guide their fast-growing start-up into the world’s most valuable hospitality brand. At 52, he was twice the age of the average employee and he’d never worked in a tech company before. It was during this time that he earned the title “modern elder,” someone who is as curious as he is wise. The intergenerational mentoring that defined this time became the inspiration for Chip’s book, Wisdom@Work, which became the inspiration for the world’s first midlife wisdom school.

Chip founded MEA as a social enterprise dedicated to offering people a place and the tools to navigate midlife and emerge refreshed, inspired, and better-equipped to flourish in their next chapter. Chip also read the Yale study that showed how shifting one's mindset about aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person’s life, but there didn't seem to be a school that specialized in this kind of midlife transformation. The Academy was born in 2018, and has been growing steadily ever since. The associated non-profit AGE (Association for Growth and Education) helps MEA serve a socio-economically diverse community with more than 50% of its Baja workshop students receiving some form of scholarship.

Our Programs in Numbers

Satisfied Alumni

Our alums love us. So much so that 95% surveyed give us a 9 or a 10 (on a scale of 1-10) and say they’d recommend us to family and friends.

Mindful Graduates

After experiencing an MEA program, our incredible alums agree (97%), saying that they’ve become more mindful and present in their lives.

Purposeful Pathway

Our alums report that the #1 skill they’ve deepened at MEA is “Exploring Your Purpose,” with over 80% surveyed feeling the same.

Connected Community

98% again...this time, when asked about connection, our surveyed alumni stay connected to each other online and in real life.

Transformational Travel

Our Baja alums love visiting the campus so much that many alumni come to our Baja campus twice a year and have bought homes nearby.

So Many Choices!

More than 3,000 alums have experienced MEA in multiple ways: workshops, SabSesh, and Online and some will be living in our Regenerative Communities.

*Alumni survey conducted in April 2020 with a 45% response rate. Survey results represent a 95% confidence level with +/-4% margin of error.

Schedule a Call

With more than one program offering, we know you may have questions and invite you to schedule a call to explore your options with our admissions team.

3,000+ Alumni

What Our Students Love

We can tell you about us, but no one can better express the MEA experience than our alumni.