Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
Gifts from the Heart:
Christi Webb is a Champion for the State of Mississippi
Senator Chad McMahan: “Christi Webb is a humanitarian. She cares about Mississippi and she cares about her neighbors. She is doing everything she can with The Family Resource Center to impact the lives of Mississippians and to help Mississippians raise their standard of living to become prosperous members of society and prosperous family members. Thank you, Christi Webb, for everything that you are doing for North Mississippi and for Mississippians across the state.”
Combining a servant’s heart with visionary business leadership means that Christi Webb can be both a giving soul and a creative business leader with a keen eye for opportunity. Webb became the Executive Director of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) in 2005. She is currently also the Co-Director of Families First for Mississippi, a statewide family initiative administered jointly by FRC and by Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC).
When Webb first took the reins at FRC, the employee count was around 40 with the focus primarily in the Tupelo/Lee County area. Her vision has expanded this outreach to eighteen centers across north Mississippi with over 300 employees.
This tremendous growth came, in part, in 2016 when Governor Bryant and MDHS combined the services of Families First for Mississippi (FFFM) that were through many different resource centers into a centrally managed program. The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and Mississippi Community Education Center were selected to administer the program statewide.
“Our goal is to have one center in every two counties,” Webb said, explaining that the basic concept behind the growth is to take life skills education to every family in the state that needs these services and to provide these at no charge. She explained that the goal is not to duplicate any existing services and to provide assistance where that is not currently being offered.
Tupelo, FRC Workforce Director: David Cole--Our Executive Director, Christi Webb has the heart of a true humanitarian and is dedicated to helping people achieve their potential by removing barriers and increasing access to meet their individual needs. She has that unique gift of discernment in guiding the Families First mission to achieve the greatest good and is therefore our greatest servant. She cares deeply and works tirelessly. She is definitely in the right place at the right time in her life and in the life of Families First.
When a service already exists in another suitable non-profit, Webb’s group will create a sub-partnership with this group to help them to handle as many qualifying individuals and families as possible. “We want to bridge the gaps.”
Awareness campaigns and directed educational programs are conducted as related to the five FFFM pillars: education, parenting, youth development, job readiness and literacy. “We go wherever we are needed and that takes staff expansion plus training,” Webb explained. “Take the anti-bullying program: we are not just in the schools but also in nursing homes.”
Just as the classes and centers have expanded, so has Webb’s vision for additional needs. In July of 2017, she hired Dr. Collin Billingsley to serve as director of the Addiction Education and Recovery Center. His first task was to develop the program. She chose him because of his qualifications, education and experience because she knew he could take her vision and turn it into a reality. That is part of the magic of Christi Webb.
She envisions a service and finds the staff that can help her make it happen. With 25 years of instructional experience in psychology education and as Director of Social/ Behavioral Science and Health/ Physical Education divisions at Northeast Mississippi Community College, she envisions a service and sets the ball rolling through talented leaders heading each program.
FRC / FFFM is funded through grants, donations, partnerships and supporters. MDHS has provided substantial grant support annually since FFFM was moved to the joint management of FRC and MCEC. Toyota Family Learning program has provided valued support in the literacy programs along with funds for the car-seat program and United Way has awarded funds to FRC each year.
Webb’s goal is to not only help individuals with specific and imminent needs but to empower whole families to elevate them out of poverty by providing skills and confidence to sustain improved lives for themselves and for future generations. She said that part of the objective is to eliminate dependency on assistance systems and move whole families into self-sufficiency. Children, parents and involved generations have available literacy, English as a second language, and tutoring but also in technology training in life skills such as parenting, conflict resolution, financial management and job readiness development. Band-Aid solutions are not the norm for FRC and Christi Webb. Thorough assessment and applied educational solutions are her goals.
“Just like it takes a whole family to solve problems, it takes a committed and prepared team to serve in so many areas,” she said.
Baldwyn, Business Associate: Clark Richey--"Christi Webb is an achiever. She is the kind of Mississippian who has the right mix of compassion and diligence to identify needs and make things happen. She's always been like that. Baldwyn, Christi's hometown, is very proud of her for all she's done, and especially now for the things she is doing with Families First for Mississippi. We have no doubt that she will be a success. And the great thing about Christi is that her successes also mean success to the people for whom she is working. She's a great fit with Families First."
While it is true success takes a team, the team has to be led by an exceptional leader, one who is able to foresee not only the end objective but who is able to direct the process of achieving that result. Webb is truly an “out-of-the-box” thinker in her innovative and creative approaches to overcome the myriad of problems many Mississippians face.