The Backstory: World Domination Summit and Wayfinding Academy

Before founding Wayfinding Academy, Michelle Jones was a professor at Concordia University and the World Domination Summit (WDS) "Magician". For the five first WDS events, Michelle's mission was to weave the core WDS values of community, adventure, and service into the entire experience. WDS is an in-person gathering right here in Portland, Oregon where individuals with a shared pursuit of changing the world ask the question: How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

Yesterday marked two years (already!) since Michelle made a big, exciting announcement on the last day of WDS 2015. On July 12th, Michelle took the stage wearing a magician’s gown, and spoke to the 2,000-strong crowd of unconventional people about how the world is changing and why higher education needs to change as well. Michelle removed her gown to reveal a professor's gown - as is typically worn at a college graduation - and announced that she would be stepping away from her role as WDS Magician and professor at Concordia to start a new non-profit college called the Wayfinding Academy. (You can watch Michelle's full announcement here.)

Michelle shared that this new two-year college would provide an affordable, customized, and real-world educational experience for each student based on their strengths and passions and with the support of community. The crowd was excited to see our cutting-edge new college launched at WDS, and attendees were invited to support Wayfinding Academy by offering their experience, nominating students, suggesting Labs, and contributing to the Indiegogo campaign. Wayfinding Academy's Indiegogo campaign broke the record for the highest funded Indiegogo campaign in Oregon history by raising $206,451. The WDS community gave generously to this initial Indiegogo campaign, making the whole college possible.

Michelle and her team of two-dozen faculty, staff and board members - several of whom were and continue to be part of the WDS team - worked passionately and tirelessly over the next year to get Wayfinding ready to welcome the first cohort of students in 2016.

WFA Founding Team

Since announcing Wayfinding Academy on the WDS stage, 5 students who applied and were invited to be part of the inaugural Wayfinding Academy cohort have attended, served at, or are connected to someone in the WDS community (2 former Ambassadors, 2 attendees, 1 connection). 

WDS 2017 is taking place this week and adventurers from all walks of life are enjoying many activities, including the Wayfinding Re-Orientation & Open House on Saturday. Many WDSers have their name on the Wayfinding founder's wall because of their support during our initial crowdfunding campaign, so this is a good opportunity to come see that in person.

Also, we will have some activities borrowed from the upcoming Wayfinding Orientation Week so you can experience what it is like to be a Wayfinder.

From inception and every moment since, Michelle and the Wayfinding team have been committed to helping students find their own path with the support of a caring community along the way - within Wayfinding, the World Domination Summit, and beyond.

If you are attending WDS or are in town this weekend, please join us at Wayfinding HQ on Saturday (all the details are here). And if you know someone who might be looking for a learning experience that is enriched by community, please nominate them to join cohort 2 which starts on August 28th. Give us a call at (503) 482-9038 or send us an email to