Chip Conley Profile

  • Chip Conley formerly served as Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership at Airbnb.

  • He is the mentor to current Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, and has taught his award-winning methods to hundreds of thousands of Airbnb hosts across nearly 200 countries.

  • Chip is the author of multiple NY Times bestsellers, including Peak and Emotional Equations, which explain how to understand the motivations of employees, customers, bosses, and investors, and use that understanding to foster better relationships and build an enduring and profitable corporate culture.
  • Chip Conley’s incredible business success story has been based upon transformational leadership practices and an innovative design formula. Chip’s methodology has been featured in TIME, Fast Company, Fortune, People and the Wall Street Journal. His unique blend of psychology and business expertise has been distilled into a number of bestselling publications, the latest of which is Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success, which uses math to help readers comprehend and control their emotions. This book reflects Chip’s abiding interest in the role of emotion in the workplace; after twenty-six years as Chief Executive Officer of Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JDV)

    In 2013 he accepted an invitation from the founders of Airbnb to help transform a promising home sharing start-up into what is today the world’s largest hospitality brand. As Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Chip taught his award-winning methods to hundreds of thousands of Airbnb hosts in nearly 200 countries and created the Airbnb Open that brings thousands together in a global festival of belonging (he transitioned to a part-time role as Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership in January 2017).

    At the age of twenty-six, and with no industry experience, Chip Conley created The Phoenix, converting a rundown 1950s motel and transforming it into a world-renowned “rock ‘n’ roll hotel,” welcoming the likes of David Bowie and Nirvana. From these beginnings Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the company Chip founded, now has over forty different award-winning establishments across California, with over three thousand employees and revenues of almost a quarter of a billion dollars.

    Chip’s position as one of the foremost thinkers on psychology, business and emotional intelligence in the workplace has made him much in demand for keynote presentations and leadership seminars. He has been invited to speak to hundreds of companies, from Schwab to State Farm Insurance to Google.

    An MBA graduate of Stanford University and honorary Doctor of Psychology from Saybrook Graduate School & Research Centre (where he has been Scholar–Practitioner in residence), Chip is a committed philanthropist, having been a board member of Glide Memorial Church in the past and holding similar positions currently with the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Chip Conley joined the tiny tech start-up Airbnb nearly a decade ago after a successful career as a boutique hotel company founder and CEO. He was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee which earned him the title “Airbnb’s Modern Elder” who was as curious as he was wise.

      As the internal mentor to the young Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Chip got to see the value of intergenerational collaboration in a company that has now grown to be the most valuable hospitality company in the world. His bestselling book “Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder” is a testament to rethinking the value of having 5 generations in the workplace and why more companies are doing their best to encourage their older workers to stay in the workplace longer.

      Chip’s Modern Elder Academy has more than 2,000 alums who’ve come to the Mexican beachfront campus and MEA will be opening two campuses in Santa Fe, New Mexico soon.

    Chip Conley Speaking Videos

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    Chip Conley's Speech Descriptions

    Chip takes his audiences through the ways in which he has gone from ownership of a single motel to a company with a $250 million turnover and 3000 employees. He explains how companies need to rethink, as he has, how they measure worth, the intangible things such as company culture, employee engagement, customer loyalty and innovation – that doesn’t show up on the balance sheet.

    Much of Chip’s success is built on his deep understanding of emotional intelligence gained from both his experience as CEO of a very successful company and through studying psychology. Those who come to hear Chip speak will come away with a far better understanding of what motivates and engages people–employees, but also customers, vendors and investors. Chip firmly believes that whatever a leader’s natural aptitude, he or she can always increase their emotional intelligence.

    Disruptive Innovation: Learning How to See and Surf a Disruption

    Chip Conley has disrupted the hospitality industry twice, once as the founder and long-time CEO of Joie de Vivre Hotels (America's second largest boutique hotel company) and again when he joined the three founders of Airbnb to help grow and lead the company to become the most valuable hospitality company in the world. Chip has identified his three rules of disruptive innovation in any industry and how start-ups as well as established companies can see the foreshadowing of a new wave on the horizon and surf that wave to competitive advantage.

    Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

    In this conversation, Chip shares Joie de Vivre's remarkable transformation while providing real world examples from other companies and showing how attendees can bring about similar changes in their work and personal lives. He explains how to understand the motivations of employees, customers, bosses, and investors, and use that understanding to foster better relationships and build an enduring and profitable corporate culture.

    The Modern Elder: A New Framework for Sharing and Receiving Wisdom

    For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time. What would happen if we got more intentional about how we all work together? Age diversity makes companies stronger as wisdom can flow in both directions from old to young and vice versa based upon new practices that encourage mutual mentorship.

    In this conversation, Chip will disrupt how you think about teaching and learning, and share how to activate mutually-beneficial relationships between the generations of your workforce to inspire a growth mindset in your culture (not just for young hires).

    Simple Truths for Creating a Culture (and Life) of Happiness, Balance, and Success

    Chip believes the most neglected fact in business is that we're all human and that business schools don't do enough to help us understand that creating peak experiences for stakeholders can create peak performance for a company. The PEAK model can be used to understand how a company can relate to relationships beyond those with employees and customers: investors, vendors, the community, and, even with yourself. As a practitioner who has used his own company (with over 3,000 employees) as a laboratory for understanding the human condition, Chip's philosophical but prescriptive approach to fulfillment and work-life balance will be very illuminating.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Chip Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Chip Conley′s presentation to Safeway′s corporate executives, managers and employees was simply outstanding. His message sparked lengthy and enthusiastic discussions about the PEAK model and how it could be implemented to achieve greater employee satisfaction and new levels of business success.”

    Marilyn Beardsley, Senior Counsel, Safeway Inc.

    “Chip truly engaged and inspired the audience, and provided a unique new lens with which to think about our business. I would highly recommend him as a speaker to any organization seeking to dramatically improve both client loyalty and employee engagement.”
    Troy Stevenson, Vice President, Client Loyalty, Charles Schwab & Company

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    Books by Chip Conley:

    Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success

    Using brilliantly simple math that illuminates universal emotional truths, Emotional Equations crystallizes some of life’s toughest challenges into manageable facets that readers can see clearly—and bits they can control. Popular motivational speaker and bestselling author Chip Conley has created an exciting, new, immediately accessible visual lexicon for mastering the age of uncertainty. Making mathematics out of emotions may seem a counterintuitive idea, but it’s an inspiring and incredibly effective one in Chip Conley’s hands. When Conley, dynamic author of the bestselling Peak, suffered a series of tragedies, he began using what he came to call “Emotional Equations” (like Joy = Love – Fear) to help him focus on the variables in life that he could deal with, rather than ruminating on the unchangeable constants he couldn’t, like the bad economy, death, and taxes. Now this award-winning entrepreneur shares his amazing new self-help paradigm with the rest of us.

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    Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age

    New York Times bestselling author and co-founder/CEO of The Modern Elder Academy “reminds us all to savor the wisdom, self-knowledge, and joy that accompanies [the middle decades] of our lives” (Father Richard Rohr) and “provides a clear blueprint for creating the lives we want” (Gretchen Rubin)

    The midlife crisis is the butt of so many jokes, but this long-derided life stage has an upside. What if we could reframe our thinking about the natural transition of midlife not as a crisis, but as a chrysalis—a time when something profound awakens in us, as we shed our skin, spread our wings, and pollinate our wisdom to the world?

    In Learning to Love Midlife, Chip Conley offers an alternative narrative to the way we commonly think of our 40s, 50s and 60s. Drawing on the latest social science research, inspiring stories, and timeless wisdom, he reveals 12 reasons why life gets better with age. They include:

    The relief of “my body doesn’t define me:” We finally grow comfortable in our own skin
    Stepping off the treadmill: We redefine what a successful life looks like
    The “Great Midlife Edit:” We let go of our emotional baggage, mindsets, and obligations that no longer serve us
    Growing whole: We begin to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves

    No matter where you are in your midlife journey, this perspective‑shifting guide will inspire you to find joy, purpose and success in the years that lie ahead—and how those years can be your best ones yet.

    Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder

    Experience is making a comeback. Learn how to repurpose your wisdom.

    At age 52, after selling the company he founded and ran as CEO for 24 years, rebel boutique hotelier Chip Conley was looking at an open horizon in midlife. 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 had the industry experience, but Conley was lacking in the digital fluency of his 20-something colleagues. He didn’t write code, or have an Uber or Lyft app on his phone, was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee, and would be reporting to a CEO young enough to be his son. Conley quickly discovered that while he’d been hired as a teacher and mentor, he was also in many ways a student and intern. What emerged is the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker: learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner’s mind, and a willingness to evolve, all hallmarks of the “Modern Elder.”

    In a world that venerates the new, bright, and shiny, many of us are left feeling invisible, undervalued, and threatened by the “digital natives” nipping at our heels. But Conley argues that experience is on the brink of a comeback. Because at a time when power is shifting younger, companies are finally waking up to the value of the humility, emotional intelligence, and wisdom that come with age. And while digital skills might have only the shelf life of the latest fad or gadget, the human skills that mid-career workers possess–like good judgment, specialized knowledge, and the ability to collaborate and coach – never expire.

    Part manifesto and part playbook, Wisdom@Work ignites an urgent conversation about ageism in the workplace, calling on us to treat age as we would other type of diversity. In the process, Conley liberates the term “elder” from the stigma of “elderly,” and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old. Whether you’ve been forced to make a mid-career change, are choosing to work past retirement age, or are struggling to keep up with the millennials rising up the ranks, Wisdom@Work will help you write your next chapter.

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