Mercer Innovation Center, SparkMacon to Begin Entrepreneur Lecture Series


MACON – Mercer Innovation Center (MIC) and SparkMacon are co-sponsoring a free weekly Entrepreneur Lecture Series, which will begin Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m.

The first lecture will feature Charise Stephens and Molly McWilliams Wilkins and will take place at SparkMacon, located at 557 Cherry St.

Stephens has more than 20 years of administrative, marketing and project management experience. She has spearheaded several multi-million dollar programs and developed grassroots initiatives from conception to completion. She will host a national training in community building this November to help communities with fitness event best practices.

Stephens is “Macon Made.” She has dedicated her talents to making a difference in the local community through projects such as the Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival, Pearls and Priorities Women Empowerment and the Middle Georgia Kidz Market.

Wilkins has more than 10 years of marketing, editorial and social media experience. She is known as an early adopter of influencer practices. A Macon native and Mercer graduate, she has contributed to local and national publications, such as Bourbon & Boots, Paste Magazine and the Knight Foundation blog. 

Wilkins has published an online magazine, Southern Bon Vivant, since 2011, reaching 100,000-plus website and social media impressions each month. She has established herself as a fashion, food, music and Southern lifestyle authority, which fits perfectly with her position as executive director of Macon's Cannonball House.

MIC and SparkMacon, Macon's premier makerspace, aim to develop the already rich and brewing culture of entrepreneurism and innovative thinking in Macon and at Mercer. Through efforts such as the Entrepreneur Lecture Series, the organizations strive to foster relationships, network, and collaborate with entrepreneurs, local community, other universities and beyond.

For more information, to be added to the MIC listserv, or to be considered as a speaker for the series, contact Dr. Sam Lankford, director of the Mercer Innovation Center, at or Nadia Osman, director of SparkMacon, at

Upcoming speakers will be announced on the calendar of events at

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.