The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has announced its 2017 spring commencement speaker, heralded author, entrepreneur and current AirBnB executive Chip Conley.
After earning his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1982, Conley promptly followed up his efforts by earning his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1984. Often described as a “rebel hotelier,” Conley made his first profound mark on the hospitality industry in 1987 when he founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality in San Francisco. While Conley has a reputation for being an open, alternative kind of entrepreneur (often sending his Joie de Vivre Hospitality employees on extensive vacations), it’s difficult to overlook his astounding professionalism, which eventually landed him the strategic advisor of hospitality and leadership role with AirBnB.
Shortly after joining the company in 2013 as the head of global hospitality and strategy, Conley helped turned the curious startup into what is now the world’s largest hospitality company.
“I’m excited to come speak at the Ross School of Business,” said Conley in a press release from Ross. “This is such a celebratory time for students, parents, faculty and the entire Ross community. I hope that my address will inspire the graduates to be change agents not just in the business world, but in society.”
Beyond his work with Joie de Vivre Hospitality and AirBnB, Conley also created a name for himself through his celebrated 2010 TED Talk, “Measuring What Makes Life Worthwhile.” In his discussion, Conley recalls the temporary pitfalls of owning a French-titled company during the early 2000s (remember Freedom Fries?), as well as surviving the Dot Com bubble and how business leaders can succeed during low moments.