By Christin Webb, FastTrack Fall 2017 – I have always been a firm believer in giving back and engaging with my community. I volunteer, I donate to charitable causes, I sit on non-profit boards – all the things that I believe demonstrate to myself and others that I am involved and interested in my community. However, it was not until I participated in the Leadership Memphis FastTrack program that I truly understood how to best “effect change” in my community.
Unlike other programs, the Leadership Memphis FastTrack program challenges young professionals and up-and-coming leaders – the future leaders of our city – to think broader; with a lens outside of their normal scope, thereby giving them a greater appreciation for diversity in culture, background, economics, community, industry and more. The dynamic created by the group compels each participant to scrutinize their involvement, pushing them to take purposeful action – not only in places where they are currently active but in less obvious ones where they can offer their expertise to address a need or enhance a program’s overall success. FastTrack makes participants get out of their comfort zone, to think outside their box, and find those exceptional, genuine opportunities that may be buried beneath the surface and hidden behind the chatter.
My experience with the FastTrack program transformed my desire to give back into an enthusiasm to create volunteer opportunities and champion mentorship and leadership with the city’s youth. I have always understood the impact a good role model can have on a young person, but now my efforts are much more specific and intentional. I have taken many of the concepts and facts I learned in FastTrack and used them to offer ideas and suggestions that specifically address some of the challenges experienced by our city’s youth through my volunteer work with STS Enterprise Corporation.
One thing that has been reinforced in my mind is that role models can be one of the strongest influences in a young person’s life, especially when they are still in school. Many students in our community do not have the opportunity to experience one-on-one contact with leaders who are in their specific field of interest. Being able to reach out to someone who has a career in the area they want to pursue, make the connection, and have that person available to offer guidance are critical elements to ensuring that student is successful after they leave high school. The benefits of having someone who is working in their desired field to guide them are immeasurable and include such things as selecting a school, deciding what classes to take, and more. Through my work with the STS Elite college program, we are making sure students are engaging with the right community leaders for networking opportunities, providing them access to executives from a variety of agencies who can lend insight on different industries and careers, and making sure they are presented with a range of opportunities through signature events.
My experience with FastTrack opened my mind to the value of asking the hard questions, connected me to a diverse collection of leaders throughout the community to draw from for experience and knowledge, and gave me the tools to identify opportunities to impact real change. Now I am better equipped to recognize where there is a need, understand how that need came to be, who is involved, who is impacted, and what I can do to step up and make my community better.
Christin Webb is a graduate of Leadership Memphis FastTrack (FTF17) and the Dale Carnegie Leadership training program. An accomplished member of Toastmasters International and recipient of the 2018 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals award, she currently works as a strategic sourcing professional with FedEx Services and is a Certified Professional Public Buyer. Webb also serves as a Commissioner for the City of Memphis’ Youth Guidance Commission and Board Member STS Enterprise Corporation. A native Memphian, published author, and screenwriter, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Memphis and a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University.