Cynthia Clark Hoye


There’s no college curriculum designed to teach you how to lead a state fair. But thanks to her experiences at North Central, Indiana State Fair Executive Director Cynthia Clark Hoye was up for the challenge.


What are you up to now?

I’ve spent the last forty years in the State Fair world. I’ve had experiences with the State Fair of Texas and the Wisconsin State Fair, which finally led me back home in 1988 to serve as the Marketing Director at the Indiana State Fair Commission. I currently serve as the Executive Director, a role I took on in 2005. I have learned a lot and have faced many challenges being a female leader in the agricultural space [and] running a 30-million-dollar organization. Now that I have grandchildren of my own, I love seeing the Fair through their eyes. The State Fair has meant a lot to me and our family and our paths have intersected many times. While I graduated from North Central in the Fairgrounds Coliseum, my kids also graduated from the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

What is your view of leadership?

My view of leadership over the last 18 years has evolved, but is rooted in the foundation of the mission of this institution and the privilege I have in leading it. My goals begin with the “team” and developing their leadership for success. The team at the State Fairgrounds is amazing — they’re resilient, professional, focused on achievements, and exceeding customers’ expectations. We operate this 250-acre facility, 365 days a year, with over 400 events, 150 site campgrounds, 160 stalls for horse training, and 6 state and local businesses residing on the property.

Additionally, my goal is simple….to leave this campus/institution better than I found it (thanks to the Girl Scout motto). We’ve had tremendous opportunities to restore the soul to many of the facilities that were originally built in the ’20s and ’30s (Indiana Farmers Coliseum, IFB Fall Creek Pavilion) plus, we’re leaving lasting legacy elements (Covered Bridge, Williamson Pin Frame Barn, Glass Barn, etc). My view over the years from a leadership perspective is collaboration and relationship development while keeping focused on the mission, vision, and core values of this institution. You build your team, establish the vision, and give them the tools to become successful. I haven’t done this on my own – the State Fair Commission and various governors have set the stage for success. I am beyond honored to present the best State Fair in the country while making the most out of our campus throughout the year.

How did North Central impact and shape who you are today?

The foundation of the NC’s curriculum set me up for success in college. I was an average student in high school, but my academics took off in college.

I was very prepared thanks to NC. NC opened up exploring the creative side of my brain. Since there is no curriculum for a fair manager in college, NC’s foundation helped me begin to learn how to creatively solve problems, navigate challenges as a leader, and hone in on my abilities for the future.

WHAT IS your favorite memory from North Central?

I loved sports. I was on the tennis team and played girls’ club flag football and recreational basketball. I grew up playing tennis on the NC campus through Barbara Wynne’s tennis program and it became a great foundation for me during my high school years.

But I also loved the visual arts. My arts classes spurred a lot of creativity, which has been beneficial throughout my career. One of my favorite activities at North Central was practicing and performing for Junior Spectacular. Such great memories of building the show with fellow friends.

To learn more about Cynthia and the Indiana State Fair, click here.


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