New KHSF Director Has His Dream Job
The Kentucky Historical Society Foundation (KHSF) has a new director, but Doug High is not new to the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS). High comes to KHSF from WTVQ-TV in Lexington where he was morning news anchor. While there, he also indulged his love for Kentucky history. Drawing on KHS staff expertise, he created and produced the segment “Kentucky History Treasures” for several years and featured KHS artifacts and programs.
Through his own company, he also produced and directed the Emmy-award winning documentary “Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass.” Again, he came to KHS for historical expertise and a location to shoot several scenes. “As far back as I can remember, the pursuit of history has been the central passion in my life and continues to be. I am overjoyed to be the new director of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation,” High said. “It is truly a dream Job for me. I’m so honored to be an ambassador of Kentucky history through the Foundation.”
High majored in history at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio; had a 26-year career in TV journalism; and is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, where he serves as a senior public affairs officer. He completed a tour of duty in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2017. KHS asked him how his experiences come together in his new post and his plans for the Foundation.
KHS: Tell us why you want to lead this organization. High: I think of myself more as a builder than a leader. This self-motivating team at KHS and the Foundation are in place and poised to do incredible work for the Commonwealth. My job is to build relationships with individuals and organizations with the same passion for sharing Kentucky history that we have here at KHS and then to harness those resources to drive our programming and events.
KHS: What do you believe fundraising is all about? High: Fundraising is about opportunity. It gives us the opportunity to share Kentucky’s story with as wide and diverse an audience as resources permit. If it’s a story that must be told and we are passionate about telling it, we will find a way to reach you through the shared energy of our membership, donors and good people in our community who understand how important the lessons of history are to our collective future.
KHS: How do you see your time as a television personality affecting your new role as Foundation director? High: The crossover from TV journalist to history foundation director has been an easy transition and shares strong mutual ground in that both roles are firmly rooted in storytelling. I originally went into TV broadcasting 26 years ago so I could share feature stories from history with a mass audience, and I looked for every chance I could between the headlines of the day to work in those local history stories. As director of KHSF, I now enjoy even greater frequency and reach in sharing Kentucky’s History with the Commonwealth and our visitors from around the globe.
KHS: Now, answer the same question but this time thinking about your Navy career? High: As a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, I have traveled the world and have done many deep dives into different cultures and history from around the globe. I’m happy to report that Kentucky history and heritage is as rich and compelling as anything I’ve encountered in my travels. It’s eternally compelling. Being an officer in the U.S. Navy has taught me discipline, structure, responsibility, leadership and to stay the course. I’m confident these skills will serve me well as director of KHSF.
KHS: It’s six months into your tenure. How will we know we made a great hire? High: If KHS through the Foundation can continue to energize and engage its base, utilize the incredible power and potential of its Governing and Foundation Boards to drive ideas and vision … and add more Kentuckians to the KHS family through more compelling programming and events, that’s a win. I’ll be eternally proud to play a role in this effort. The importance of our mission demands nothing but the best from myself and every member of the KHS family.