What brings a Grammy-nominated musician, a college grad soon-to-be venture capitalist, and a biogeochemistry post-doc together to a fraternity house in Boulder, Colorado?
Nope, this is not the start of a raunchy joke. These are the “Bolders” of The Bold Academy — a four-week life accelerator designed to help young leaders and entrepreneurs unleash their potential and develop the strength and skills to build change in themselves and the world.
Eight quit their jobs to be here. Others raised their tuition from scratch. And all left their old lives behind to learn how to fearlessly give their gifts to the world.
Alex Salwach, a twenty-three-year-old Bolder and Grammy-nominated musician, lost the use of his dominant hand several months ago when he slept on it and found it paralyzed in the morning. Since this jarring freak accident, Alex has had to think about how he will reinvent his musical career while living with nerve damage.
In his first week at The Bold Academy, Alex figured out how he will pursue his musical passion: “Musically, I transformed to an electronic music composer and performer this week. I have enjoyed composing electronic music for the past few months and for the first time ever, I had the opportunity to perform a banging DJ set here with only a day’s notice. I’ve now decided to produce an album with contributions from The Bold Academy community by the end of the month.”
He’s not the only one. In the first week of The Bold Academy, real growth has happened — through events, workshops, speakers, activities, and conversations. In the evenings, clusters of people swing dance through the Bold Manor, led by Bolder Joshua Bagley. Bolders exchange tips and skills ranging from search engine optimization to meditation and breathing. Entrepreneur-in-Residence Bear Kittay with Bolders Tony Amoyal and Phil Taylor play music and sing into the night. The Bold Academy operates on the premise that self actualization is the vehicle of change — and the solutions to our world’s problems lie in unleashing our human potential.
“Coming to The Bold Academy has been the best decision of my entire life,” says Sharon Tan, a twenty-year-old Bolder and college student at Stanford who grew up in Singapore.
The first week’s program ranged from smashing fear with Moneythink co-founder Ted Gonder to creating habits and practicing change with Buster Benson to catapulting the rate of our learning through real-time feedback with Terri Simon, the senior vice president of talent and culture at Ignited.
• Andrew Hewitt founded the startup GameChangers 500 in order to redefine success. He profiles the world’s 500 most globally impactful companies through employee well-being, environmental sustainability, and purposeful change. He believes The Bold Academy is guiding an entire generation toward meaningful work.
“Andrew Hewitt’s concept of redefining success really stuck with me. His talk allowed me to redefine where I want to go in my life. And he helped me build a new framework for my future goals.” – Richard Pichardo, Bolder class of 2012
• Buster Benson, the founder of multiple health-improvement initiatives, led a workshop on habit and behavior change. By evaluating our behaviors at the micro level, even down to wasting our time on Facebook in bed, we can identify and eliminate our self-destructive habits and replace them with healthy ones.
“Buster Benson provided us with the inspiration and tools we need to make meaningful changes in our lives.” – Phil Drolet, Bolder class of 2012
• Antonio Neves, The Bold Academy’s experience director, emphasized that when we think we hold more than three priorities, we have no priorities. What is it that truly matters to us? He helped the Bolders hone in on their core priorities by making the analogy to closing inactive open apps on our smartphones.
• Terri Simon, known among the community as the lady who keeps it real, brought the community to a new level of communication through real time feedback.
“Terri’s direct feedback workshop really helped me communicate my sentiments to others. I haven’t been very assertive in the past, and I need to be for the work that I do. Terri taught me to speak up in a really good way.” – Weezie Yancey-Siegel, Bolder class of 2012
• The Bold Academy curriculum goes beyond the brain work — a large focus of the program is on holistic health. The food is fresh and mostly local, prepared three times a day by Chef Matt Bercovitch. John Pierre, a nutrition and fitness consultant who works with Ellen DeGeneres, left us with a lot of food knowledge to chew on. He also left behind samples of vegetable proteins and supplements to add to our morning smoothies. Sylvia Ferrero, our personal trainer and wellness coach, leads intensive “boot camp” workouts in the mornings. Julia Winston, our holistic health specialist, teaches yoga workshops multiple times a week, specifically scheduled during mind-heavy components of the curriculum.
“For me, the most impactful part of the first week has been yoga. I’ve learned a lot about my body and mind. Yoga has made me way more self-aware and has exposed me to a lot of my issues that I wasn’t conscious of.” – Max Fram-Schwartz, Bolder class of 2012
• On Saturday, a group of Bolders spent the day at The Unreasonable Scrimmage, creating prototypes for The Unreasonable Institute’s Fellows’ projects. The event was structured such that each Unreasonable Fellow presented his or her business needs for one minute, after which the attendees self-organized into brainstorming groups to help the Unreasonable Fellows design, build, and create their prototypes.
“I seriously wish I could be participating in The Unreasonable Scrimmage all the time. I absolutely loved creating prototypes for these companies all day.” – Satya Kamdar, Bolder class of 2012
• On the fourth of July, The Bold Academy hosted a party at the Bold Manor. Chef Matt Bercovitch barbecued outside, people danced to Alex Salwach’s DJ set, and guests from The Unreasonable Institute joined Bolders in whipped cream eating contests and water balloon fights.
Three weeks to go. Stay tuned.
Story and photos by Cloe Shasha.
The Bold Academy :: Founded in 2012 :: Website Designed by @Cloe_Shasha