New York Times bestselling author and hospitality entrepreneur, Chip Conley is a disruptive leader at the forefront of the sharing economy. At age 26, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality turned one inner city motel into the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in the world. Equal parts student and sage, Chip writes about transformation and meaning in business and in life.
Board of Trustees
William Donius facilitates Ideation sessions based on the unique methodology described in his New York Times best-selling book, Thought Revolution. The book is about breaking through complacent, conventional thinking to think differently about the problems faced in life.
Bill James is a recognized leader in financial counseling for high net worth clients including investment management, estate planning and charitable tax planning. His driving vision is to see Esalen thrive for future generations, update its buildings, and become self-sustaining, while preserving its special culture.
Mary Ellen Klee
Mary Ellen Klee has been involved with Esalen Institute since 1965 and has served as a trustee since the mid-80s. Her particular interests have been with the Citizen Diplomacy work of Esalen's Center for Theory and Research as done through Esalen's former Soviet-American Exchange Program, now the Russian American Partnership, and the International Abrahamic Network.
Jeffrey Kripal, chairman of the Board of Trustees, is a historian of religions by training, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1993. He currently holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, where he also chairs the department.
Nancy Lunney-Wheeler, M.A., is known around the world as a pioneering leader in lifelong and integral education for personal and social transformation. From 1981-2010 she served as the director of programming at Esalen, where she continues to serve as a senior advisor.
Anisa Mehdi has served on the board of the Esalen Institute since 2005 and is actively engaged in its International Abrahamic Network. She is an Emmy Award-winning reporter, producer, and filmmaker who has covered religion, the arts, and global affairs in mainstream American media. An Arab-American Muslim, she has helped broaden the scope of reporting on the Middle East and its religious communities for programs such as 60 Minutes, Nightline, and Frontline.
Michael Murphy is a graduate of Stanford University, co-founder of Esalen Institute, founder of Esalen's Center for Theory and Research, and author of numerous novels and non-fiction books.
Ben Tauber is an executive coach, entrepreneur and engineer. Most recently, he served as a product manager at Google, with responsibility for expanding and improving Google Hangouts and other social products. Ben also serves as advisor to Zesty, a service to deliver healthy food to companies, and Coach.me a service that provides instant coaching for any goal.
Gordon Wheeler is president of Esalen. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in his field along with a history of teaching and consulting with nonprofits on such topics as mission development and strategic planning.