Bold Reflections


The first ever Bold Academy: Thirty people together in one fraternity house on College Avenue, in Boulder, Colorado, with thirty days to align what they do with who they really are through holistic programming, transformative workshops, entrepreneurial challenges, world-class speakers, one-on-ones with mentors and staff, daily yoga and fitness, plant-strong nutrition, and a community obsessed with unlocking potential. On July 30th, energy buzzed through the house as people sipped on their final Bold Academy green smoothies, engaged in long goodbyes, and helped each other lug suitcases down the spiraled staircase.

Bolder Abbey Lamm summed up the most powerful elements of her experience at The Bold Academy:

“Before The Bold Academy, I was an IT consultant, and I had lost sight of myself as a person. I could only identify myself by my career. It was a good career and society told me I was successful, so I took that notion and ran with it. I ran and ran and ran. And then one day I began to realize that my identity was lacking fulfillment and that something was missing. I set off to The Bold Academy with the intention of finding my passion – I was sure that this was my missing piece. After a couple of weeks at The Bold Academy, I grew frustrated that my passion still hadn’t appeared. Sure, I liked people, had a heart for helping others, enjoyed traveling, and stand-up paddling. But was that passion? People around me seemed to have real passions; mine didn’t feel real.

Then I slowly started to realize that the search for passion was the problem in and of itself. Finding passion isn’t a destination, but rather a journey. A journey that won’t lead to a single passion, but a passionate life. The meaning of a passionate life began to unfold. It means a life of following my heart, listening to my gut, and doing what’s right even when others doubt me. It means loving myself for being human, flaws and all, and seeing pieces of myself in those around me. It means finding confidence in the act of small steps towards a greater good or personal goal. I am no longer waiting for the big bang. It means finding comfort in the unknown, the unplanned, the unexpected, and the beauty that can unfold from that. It means opening my heart to myself, those around me, and the world. It means a life of gratitude, intention, honesty, integrity, and laughter. Suddenly, I was living the passionate life I had only dreamed of: I wasn’t worried about the destination, I was excited about the journey.” – Abbey Lamm, Bolder class of 2012

Bolder Alex Salwach experienced a different kind of transition all together:

“Before I went to The Bold Academy, I was a year out of music college, I had just paralyzed my left hand, and the doctors said there was nothing to do but wait at least six months for it to heal. So with no gigs and no prospects, I headed to Bold. A month later, coming out of it, things are so incredibly different. On the fourth of July, Amber Rae asked me to DJ for our Bold Academy party. I nervously said yes. A day later, with hesitation, I announced to everyone that I wanted to make an album featuring anyone who wanted to be on it. A month later, I’m now DJ Doce Luna, with the name trademarked, I made an album with 14 tracks (in 28 days), I’m playing at a major music festival in a few weeks while simultaneously stage managing at it, I’ve incorporated my own record label, with seven albums that I’m in the early stages of producing, I’m following my heart and moving from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to San Francisco, California, and for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. That’s what going to The Bold Academy did for me.- Alex Salwach, Bolder class of 2012

How did this type of growth occur over one month? Many Bolders’ reflections emphasize that the power of The Bold Academy lay in the lifelong community created by the Bolders, staff members, and many of the mentors. Bolders emerged from the month with a renewed sense of self and bold plans. Below are snippets of transformations experienced by some of the other Bolders over the course of July.

“I was drawn to The Bold Academy because I was lost, confused, frustrated, and always tense. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t believe in myself. In the first two days of The Bold Academy, I realized that even people who may seem like they have it all and are successful are actually going through similar challenges. That feeling of security and community allowed me to come into my own and experience revelations about myself. – Sharon Tan, Bolder class of 2012

“Before The Bold Academy, I had just graduated from Macalester College and was preparing to enter the venture capital industry. But I was confused about what I wanted to achieve going forward. I now feel fully prepared to move to San Francisco and begin my job at 500 Startups. More importantly, I have begun a journey of self-discovery that has allowed me to more fully appreciate my life. – Max Fram-Schwartz, Bolder class of 2012

“I had been confused about which career path to take. Over the course of a year and a half, I had alternated between wanting to be a physician, social worker, disaster relief consultant, and lawyer. I came to The Bold Academy to find clarity on where to go after graduating from the University of Utah. Five days into the experience, I participated in a workshop around fear and obstacles that allowed me to see two invisible barriers that had been holding me back. So I trained myself to step around those barriers and I put together an action plan to prepare for graduate school in public health, beginning in the fall of 2013. – Josh Bagley, Bolder class of 2012

“Before July, I was working in a job in New York City that was aligned with my experience and skills, and I felt like I should have loved the work, but I found myself disinterested without understanding why. I had been feeling a distinct lack of purpose and felt stagnant in my personal development. The Bold Academy appeared at the right time and was a chance for me to shake things up, bring on some new experiences, and make some connections with great people. What I wasn’t prepared for was what a profound experience I would have in thirty days, and how much a community could uplift me and everyone around me. I learned more about myself, life, love, and work in the month of July than in all of the past ten years combined. I am now armed with renewed confidence, insight, and an open heart.” – Kyle Robertson, Bolder class of 2012

“For two years and two months before the Bold Academy, I held several mediocre jobs. When The Bold Academy showed up on my Facebook news feed, I knew that this was the authentic community that I needed to propel myself forward. I am now moving to Boulder and creating a co-living and co-working space with fellow social entrepreneurs that I connected with over the course of July. Concurrently, I am launching a Kickstarter campaign to travel the world for a year, to foster intercultural dialogue in three cultural and spiritual centers across Latin America and East Asia. I am also exploring a technology startup opportunity as Chief Ethicist and preparing an application to a Masters program on conflict resolution and mediation in Israel for the fall of 2013.” – Terence Cudney, Bolder class of 2012

“Before the Bold Academy, I was working and living in Washington, D.C. for over three years. Although I found myself surrounded by friends, opportunity, and a productive work life, my spark had died. Once I entered into the Bold community, my life was wholly changed. I rediscovered my true self and inner spark. The Bold community pushed and encouraged me to be the best version of myself, every single day. As a result of my time at Bold and its amazing community, I am now taking a job offer in Boulder to embark on a new life adventure and pursue some of my life-long interests: food, community, and nutrition.” – Whitney Flight, Bolder class of 2012

“I came to The Bold Academy to reset my life after a rocky start to the year 2012. I was making the transition from working in the soccer industry to being a triathlon and running coach, and I came to Bold to find the skills and confidence to help me do so. I was looking for a community in which I would be able to thrive. I now feel focused and set on my goal to become a renowned running and triathlon coach, inspiring athletes to reach their fullest potential. I feel more confident than ever.” – Ryan Knapp, Bolder class of 2012

“Over the past year, I was creating The Eduventurist Project, as well as building and contributing to a series of other projects related to education and social entrepreneurship. I loved each project, but I was feeling overstretched and incomplete without a tight-knit and supportive peer community. While attending Bold, I found more confidence in myself, a sense of balance, and close relationships with like-minded peers who supported me and who were open to sharing their wisdom and challenges with the community. I now hope to be more intentional in my relationships with people. I am increasingly confident in my ability to make decisions for my future and, more specifically, for the coming year!” – Weezie Yancey-Siegler, Bolder class of 2012

“Before The Bold Academy, I felt that I had a lot of obstacles that were holding me back from working on big ideas. Now I realize that my fear of doing something big is an indicator that I’m going after the right thing, because fear is an opportunity to feel alive, not a sign that I should step back. I’ve learned to focus on how much an idea aligns with who I am rather than considering the feasibility of that idea. I have a newfound, deep appreciation for community. I’ve learned that I absolutely need to find or create a community wherever I live, and the first actionable step I will take is to join a co-working space.” – Tony Amoyal, Bolder class of 2012

“I uncontrollably danced even without moving my body before coming to The Bold Academy. I knew life was playing music, but I could not feel the beat. Now, I can listen to a melody that speaks to me. At Bold, I found life-long dance partners on my wavelength. Now, I only dance when I want to.” – Richard Pichardo, Bolder class of 2012

“I came to The Bold Academy 75 percent fulfilled – that percentage isn’t good enough. At The Bold Academy I learned how to kick my fears, overcome barriers, define my mission in life, and create fail-proof ways to succeed. Bold was a pivot point in my life; I now walk confidently with direction and purpose, not stuck in the realm of lofty ideas but moving forward in action!” – Philip Taylor, Bolder Class of 2012

“Before I went to the Bold Academy, I found myself working with an innovative company and great people. We had a mission to change the wellness industry and we were doing it. It was a great vision, except I wasn’t happy. I knew I wanted to be working on social impact and I came to Bold to figure out how. I left Bold with a support network and the introductions that I needed to get started.” - Satya Kamdar, Bolder class of 2012

“Before July, I was working with at-risk youth at a non-profit in Austin, Texas. I knew I was a positive influence in these kids’ lives, but something was missing. I felt a pull to do something more — to do something great. So I applied to The Bold Academy and fund-raised to attend. It was there that I experienced the extraordinary power of community. I was surrounded by people who could see me better than I could see myself — my tribe. My tribe helped push back the boundaries of what was possible in my mind. – Julian Moriarty, Bolder class of 2012

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Story and photos by Cloe Shasha.

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