Ben Chestnut, an Augusta native and co-founder/CEO of the marketing platform Mailchimp, will speak at Augusta University at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 in the lobby of the Georgia Cyber Center’s Shaffer MacCartney Building.
His talk is the first of three feature presentations leading up to the INNOVATE 2022 competition on March 31, which is sponsored by the Center for Instructional Innovation, the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.
At the event, Chestnut will offer a personal, interactive discussion on his professional journey and the culture of innovation in the city of Augusta. Students do not have to be registered for the INNOVATE competition to attend the event, and it’s open to all faculty, staff and students free of charge.
The conversation will be moderated by Lynsey Steinberg, member of the INNOVATE leadership team. Those planning to attend can suggest interview questions via email prior to Jan 1.
The INNOVATE competition, held annually at Augusta University for the last three years, incentivizes students to use their education, innovation and creativity to solve a relevant social problem. Interdisciplinary collaboration — that is, students working together from various disciplines and colleges — is strongly encouraged in the competition.
The theme of the competition changes every year. INNOVATE 2021 focused on COVID-19 response, and 2020 focused on a significant health care challenge: the colostomy bag. For 2022, the theme is solving community needs in the CSRA.
Significant social issues in the CSRA include homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of living-wage jobs, lack of transportation, high cost of child care and difficulty recycling, among others.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Mailchimp has over 1,200 employees and 13 million global users. Chestnut co-founded Mailchimp with Dan Kurzius in 2001, and the company remained privately held until 2021, when it was acquired by Intuit for $12 billion. Together, Intuit and Mailchimp provide an AI‑driven, end‑to‑end customer growth platform to help small and mid‑market businesses prosper.
Mailchimp was named the 2017 Company of the Year by Inc. magazine, recognized as one of the world’s Most Innovative Companies and a Brand That Matters by Fast Company, and listed on the Forbes Cloud 100 for six straight years.
Chestnut’s mantra for employees is “listen hard, change fast.” He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Georgia Tech and was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.
To register for the INNOVATE competition, visit the CII website.