You’re curious, we like that…

About MEA

What is MEA and how did it begin?

The Modern Elder Academy (MEA) is the world’s first midlife wisdom school. MEA is dedicated to promoting ‘long life learning’ and inspiring people in midlife and beyond to create lives that are as deep and meaningful as they are long. The inspiration for MEA came to founder Chip Conley while writing his book, Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder. Based on his own career and life experiences, this powerful idea of becoming a “modern elder” led to the birth of MEA and the first MEA campus in Baja Mexico in 2018.

Click here to read about MEA’s origins in this Southwest Airlines cover story

Or click here to listen to Tim Ferriss interviewing Chip Conley on his podcast, The Tim Ferris Show.

How is MEAx different to MEA?

The Modern Elder Academy (or MEA) was set up in 2018 in Baja Mexico, by Chip Conley with his co-founders Christine Sperber and Jeff Hamaoui. With the support of the MEA founders, a group of MEA alumni from Australia, who are passionate about sharing the ethos and learnings of MEA with the world, are launching MEAx as the first extension of MEA outside North America. MEAx has been created in the spirit of MEA’s mission to “inspire and empower people in midlife and beyond.”

Who comes to the Modern Elder Academy? What’s the average age?

While the majority of MEA participants are aged between 45 and 65 years of age, MEA has attracted students ranging in age from 30 to 88. The average age of MEA workshop participants is 54. MEA participants hail from diverse backgrounds but are bound by a shared curiosity and a desire to consciously curate the remainder of their adult lives.

What do MEA graduates see as the greatest benefits of their MEA experience?

The key benefits described by MEA graduates are:

  • A profound mindset shift that creates more resilience and adaptability.
  • Pragmatic, usable tools that will change your daily life and relationships.
  • Deep learning that’s practical for careers and wise for the soul.
  • A sense of close-knit community (the connections you make at MEA may last a lifetime.)
  • Reflections from those going through similar explorations and sharing ideas and insights.
  • A nurturing, health-enhancing environment that provides rejuvenation.
  • An understanding of the skills you possess and how they can change your career and life.
  • An understanding of how you think about yourself, how it may hold you back, how to shift it.
  • Becoming a world-class “noticer”—yourself, your world, your attitudes as you age, your vision.
  • A place to relax, reflect, and look after yourself, sometimes for the first time in years (if ever).

I don’t aspire to be elderly. Why are you called the Modern Elder Academy?

We’re reclaiming the word “elder” because, frankly, elders are fantastic. Elders are people who’ve been around the block and have deep wells of wisdom to share with the world. What’s more, the word “elder” is a relative term. If you’re a 45-year-old surrounded by 25-year-olds, you’re an elder in that group. While “elderly” refers to years lived on the planet, “elder” refers to what we do with those years. “Modern elders” reflect on what they’ve learned and incorporate it into their relationships with younger generations. A modern elder is also curious, with a desire for learning, connection, understanding and relevance as both mentor and intern, sage and student, teacher and learner, all at the same time.

MEAx Connex

What is MEAx Connex?

MEAx Connex is a free, short (1 hour) online information session designed to provide information about MEAx to those who are curious to know more. Each MEAx Connex will offer an overview of MEA and give a taste of what to expect in an MEAx workshop. During the pilot phase, Connex sessions will be held in a selection of venues around metropolitan Sydney and also online. We plan to conduct Connex sessions in person and in other Australian cities in 2022.

The MEAx Workshop Experience

Where are MEAx workshops held?

During the pilot phase of MEAx in Australia, in-person workshops will be held at Dantosa Retreat in the Blue Mountains, a 90 minute drive from Sydney. Dantosa is a secluded sanctuary that sits on 9 acres of private land filled with serene parkland, walking paths, wildlife and a beautiful private lake. It is only a few minutes by car from Echo Point and the world heritage listed national park. For more information, please click to see the Dantosa website.

We are planning for MEAx in-person locations to expand to other locations in 2022, but in the meantime, those who can’t make it to Dantosa can join the MEA Online workshop.

How big is the workshop cohort?

During our MEAx pilot phase the in-person workshops will have between 6 and 16 participants.

How much is an MEAx workshop?

During our pilot phase we are offering MEAx workshop participants a generous discount off the regular rate. The 3-day workshop will be available for $1,960 (regular price $3,600) and the 6-day workshop will be available for $4670 (regular price $7,400). All prices are in Australian dollars (AUD).

What is included in the workshop price?

The price of the MEAx workshops is all inclusive of the MEAx curriculum and faculty as well as all accommodation, meals, snacks, drinks and scheduled activities (such as star-gazing, bread baking). At the conclusion of the workshop you will automatically be eligible to join the MEA alumni community, which will link you to an active community of like-minded people worldwide.

What is the difference between the 6-day and 3-day workshops programs?

The 6-day residential workshop, Flourish in Midlife and Beyond, is based on MEA’s highly successful The Making of a Modern Elder program. The proven model, based on themes for each day (Evolve, Learn, Collaborate, Counsel, Rewire and Conclude) allows participants to design a roadmap for the remainder of their adult life, based on a deep understanding of their own narrative and skills. Questions around purpose and legacy are explored.

The 3-day residential workshop, The Big Reset, helps participants identify areas where they are stuck and find the right questions to ask themselves to get their lives back on track. This workshop suits people who are time poor but want to start the journey to becoming a modern elder.

Who is the faculty for the MEAx workshops?

Experienced facilitators who are also MEA alumni will be conducting the MEAx workshops. We will soon be able to announce some special guest faculty to supplement the MEAx experience and inject an Australian flavour to the curriculum.

What happens if we can't attend a workshop because of the Covid pandemic?

We understand that we are living in uncertain times. If you have booked to attend a workshop and are unable to attend because of lockdown or Covid restrictions, we will change your booking to another date.

MEA Online (MEAO)

What is MEA Online (MEAO)?

In addition to residential workshops, MEA offers a successful global online program. MEA Online (MEAO) is an 8-week program that features sophisticated insights into navigating midlife transitions and includes teachings from leading educators, scientists, researchers, speakers, authors, athletes and activists. When you register for MEAO on this MEAx website you will have full access to the global MEAO. You will be a part of an APAC MEAO cohort and join the MEA APAC alumni group at the end of the course. To date there have been 3 APAC cohorts to complete MEAO.

The next MEAO course starts on 3 October 2021 and runs for 8 consecutive weeks.

Read more about MEAO in this article from Forbes magazine.

How much time should I allow for MEAO?

The next MEAO course starts on 3 October 2021 and runs for 8 consecutive weeks. The weekly online content takes approximately 2 hours for you to complete in your own time. All live events are recorded so you can listen at another time and participants have lifetime access to re-listen to any session. Our recommendation is that in order to get the most out of MEAO, you should allow between 2 and 5 hours per week to review the course content and complete the suggested weekly activities.

How is MEAO different to the MEAx residential workshops?

MEAO delves deeply into one very popular aspect of the MEA residential workshop program, Navigating Midlife Transitions. Through experiential learning, this 8-week course offers tools and pathways to help navigate the convergence of transitions that overlap around midlife. It also connects you with a community of other ‘transitionists’ to support you on your journey towards a purpose driven second half of life.

Can I still come to an MEAx residential workshop if I do MEAO?

Absolutely. The content is different and the residential workshops allow you to take time out to both fully immerse yourself in the content and connect with other like minded people. There are many alumni who have completed MEAO and then book to attend an in-person workshop.

How do I know if this course is for me?

Is something shifting in your life? Do you want it to? Are you struggling to figure out “what’ next” in your career, relationships or health? Do new tools, resources, structure and accountability call to you as well as inspiration and connection with a supportive community? If so, then MEAO is for you. There are no age barriers to take this course. Most students are between ages 40 and 65 but we’ve had students as young as 30 and as old as 88.

What will I learn?

MEAO is the first course of its kind to offer expert leadership and guidance on midlife transitions and mindsets. Each week, the course analyses the 6 P’s of transition that often hit around midlife: Personal, Professional, Psychological, Physical, Pandemic and Purpose. You will develop new language and tools to understand where you are in your journey, and set micro commitments to make small changes over time that lead to big changes in positive directions.

MEAx Australia