Q&A with OneMacon’s Kathryn Dennis: Initiative Connects Private, Public, Nonprofits Groups Through New Podcast

Kim Wade

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

OneMacon launched in 2013 as a way for Macon-Bibb groups to connect to the many community-building organizations in the area. The collaborative and strategic plan aims to create an alliance of private, public and nonprofit organizations committed to the growth of Macon-Bibb.

Kathryn Dennis, President of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and Co-Chair, OneMacon, announced the group’s latest endeavor, a podcast called OneMacon Way. In the premiere episode—“On the Grid: Connecting the Dots to a Cycling City”—listeners can hear how Macon is creating a new culture of connectivity through walking and cycling. 

GeorgiaCEO spoke with Dennis about the group’s latest project and the future plans with the podcast. 

Tell us about OneMacon and what led to the launch of the Podcast.

Dennis: “OneMacon is Macon’s collaborative, strategic plan that is being implemented around three crucial community pillars: jobs, schools and place. Macon’s economic vibrancy is based on these pillars, and they independently support each other to succeed. One of the most recognized successes of OneMacon is collaboration. 

“Our steering committee is comprised of an alliance of private, public and nonprofit organizations, committed to Macon’s growth and prosperity. We share our successes – and challenges – as the strategic plan is being implemented. That communication is key to our community’s successful collaboration. 

“While the OneMacon website features a blog, we’ve taken our communications outreach a step further by integrating podcast technology. This allows an ‘around the table’ discussion with OneMacon partners in the midst of implementing and learning from our strategies based on Jobs, Schools and Place. 

“We hope these lessons learned can be shared on a global platform, since they certainly can be applied to other communities. In our first episode, we discuss biking and walking commuter efforts, and how they instill a diverse sense of place with an active alliance of community support.” 

What collaborations have you seen come together between private, public and nonprofit organizations in Macon-Bibb so far? How do you think these new collaborations will affect your community?

Dennis: “I think the best example happened earlier this month with the announcement that the Business Education Partnership, in collaboration with the Bibb County Board of Education, successfully met its goal to raise $2.2 million to implement the Leader in Me process in every Bibb County School District elementary and middle school. Thanks to a successful community-based fundraising campaign, funding will create a sustainable process model for students, teachers and school administrators.

“In response to strategic recommendation 1.1 to be pursued by the OneMacon Implementation Committee, the Macon-Bibb Chamber of Commerce and the business community formed the Business Education Partnership (BEP) with the Bibb County School District. 

“During the 2015-2016 school year, the Business Education Partnership, along with the Bibb County School District and other community partners, raised funds to implement the Leader in Me in two elementary schools, Sonny Carter and Burdell-Hunt Magnet. 

“After seeing the results – a positive impact on not only the students, but also teachers and parents – the partnership continued to raise funds in hopes of implementing the process across the district. 

“The Leader in Me is currently in eight Bibb County public schools. Plans are now for implementation in eight to 12 more schools next year, with the remainder in the 2019-2020 school year. There are 29 elementary and middle schools in the Bibb County School District. This proves Macon supports a strong system of education that offers world-class opportunities from pre-K to Ph.D.”

What is your overall goal with the Podcast, and what are the future plans?

“We look forward to producing and recording future episodes with a host of guests that will show the world how Macon has successfully implemented a community-wide master plan that is working, by working together.”

How can people get involved with your project? 

“Keep up with the OneMacon efforts on social media, our website OneMacon.org, which features the blog, and the podcast. You can also find the full plan there in our Library and Archives.