The Influentials

Meet the Influentials: CultureMap highlights Texas leaders and tastemakers in new series

Meet the Influentials: CultureMap highlights Texas leaders and tastemakers in new series

Austin Photo Set: graphics_influentials logo
Austin Photo Set: News_influentials_melba whatley_jan 2013
Melba Whatley Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: graphics_influentials logo
Austin Photo Set: News_influentials_melba whatley_jan 2013

Texas has long been a place that attracts people who want to make a difference. It doesn't matter who your parents are or how little money you have, if you possess a great idea and want to achieve great things, the Lone Star state welcomes you with no questions asked.

Each of the state's major cities has a large number of Influentials — those Texans who are shaping the places where they live with new — and often bold — ideas.

Some are powerful household names who are well-known beyond Austin, Dallas or Houston; others fly under the radar and work tirelessly behind the scenes without recognition.

 With sheer force of persuasion and determination to make things happen, they are molding the economy, enhancing the culture and creating a blueprint for the 21st century — making a better place to live. 

With sheer force of persuasion and determination to make things happen, they are molding the economy, enhancing the culture and creating a blueprint for the 21st century — making their hometown a better place to live.

In a new editorial series, the Influentials, CultureMap highlights those individuals who are impacting their city in such a strong way.

In Austin, we have kicked off the series by spending time with Melba Whatley, the president of the Waller Creek Conservancy and a philanthropic leader in arts and education.

Whatley is the first of a host of Austinites we will shine a spotlight on, asking them to answer Proust-like questions that give us some insight into who they are and what motivates them.

Our sister sites in Houston and Dallas are highlighting Influentials in their respective cities as well.

Scott McClelland, the president of H-E-B Houston, who has become a TV star by appearing in commercials for the rapidly growing supermarket chain and who has spearheaded a number of fundraising campaigns for charitable organizations, is the first CultureMap Houston Influential, while Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell L. Anderson kicks off the CultureMap Dallas series.

In the coming weeks and months, the list of Austin Influentials will include artists and CEOs, elected officials and opinion-makers, fundraisers and chefs. They vary in age, financial clout, life experiences and special talents.

But they all have one thing in common: They make things happen.