Commencement Speaker

Chip Conley

Chip Conley
Strategic Advisor for Hospitality & Leadership, Airbnb

Bestselling author, hospitality entrepreneur, disruptive business rebel, and social change agent, Chip Conley is a leader at the forefront of the sharing economy. At age 26, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality took an inner city motel and turned it into the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in the world. Inspired by psychologists Maslow and Frankl, Chip’s books, PEAK and the New York Times bestseller EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS, share his own theories on transformation and meaning in business and life.

Chip was CEO of his innovative company for 24 years. 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). Chip founded Fest300 in 2013 to share his passion for travel and the world’s best festivals (the company merged with Everfest in 2016 where he is part-time Chief Strategy Officer).

Chip has received hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, joining industry icons Marriott, Kimpton and Wynn. He is the founder of the Celebrity Pool Toss, which has raised millions for the Tenderloin neighborhood where he opened his first hotel, and San Francisco’s Hotel Hero Awards that shine a light on the unsung heroes serving hotel guests every day. Chip holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute

Student Speakers

BBA, MAcc, & MM Student Speaker

Julia came to the University of Michigan to explore her interests in business, healthcare, and information technology. At Ross, she held leadership positions in multiple organizations, worked as a teaching assistant for four BBA courses, and served as a Career Services Peer Coach. She also interned at Audax Group Private Equity, The MathWorks, Imprivata, and most recently Salesforce. Julia credits much of her personal and professional growth to Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. Throughout her experiences at Michigan, she has built relationships with peers and professors that she knows will last a lifetime. After graduation, she will be backpacking through Southeast Asia. Julia thanks her family and friends for their relentless optimism, unwavering support, and unconditional love. 

Brianna Brazell

MBA & PhD Student Speaker

Originally from Utah, Brianna completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics at Vassar College. After graduating, she worked in financial planning and analysis at Willing Group Holdings in New York City. Brianna came to the University of Michigan to explore the possibilities of business as an agent of positive change and to complete a dual degree through the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. During her three years at Michigan Ross and the School of Natural Resources, she has focused on social entrepreneurship and economic development. She is grateful to her friends, family, and classmates for helping to shape an experience here that has forever changed her.