The Cultural Foundation of the Texas Panhandle is an advisory body that exists as the result of a merger between the boards of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, which oversees the TEXAS Outdoor Musical, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society/Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. These organizations work together to preserve and display the history of the Texas Panhandle. In early September, the CFTP welcomed its first executive director, Dr. Andrew Hay.
“One of the goals of the Cultural Foundation of the Texas Panhandle is to place the stories, the history, in the hearts and minds of as many people as possible,” said Hay. “We get to curate that mission daily.”
Hay is no stranger to leadership positions. Before he began working with the CFTP, he served as the executive director for the Amarillo Symphony. Throughout his career, he’s learned a lot about what it takes to be a good leader.
“Leadership can often be something complicated, but really for me, leadership starts with kind of humbling yourself to the process,” said Hay.
For Hay, a big part of being successful in leadership is learning from other people.
“You need mentors in your life. You need those people that you can go to and glean wisdom from, and not only share your struggles but be willing to receive information and advice,” said Hay. “There’s probably no greater honor than being asked to be a mentor, as well. You’re being asked to be a friend.”
Being in a leadership role can prove to be challenging, especially when working with large groups of people across multiple organizations. Hay, however, prefers to see challenges in a different light.
“I don’t talk about difficulties or challenges, I talk about opportunities. There are dynamics you have to work around and learn from and be wise about, and oftentimes that’s going to come in places of relationships,” said Hay. “Whether that’s people in authority over you or just the general public, or the private sector or donors or coworkers, there are going to be those moments where personalities don’t always align and you have to work at it.”
Hay is excited for the future of the museum, as well as the TEXAS Outdoor Musical.
“It’s very humbling that I have a chance to help promote this, help put these documents, these stories, this history in the hands of more and more people,” he said.