SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers

Game Changers: Allison Melangton

Photo: ERIC BREECE
Melangton holds a photo of the 32 students who
delivered Super Bowl bid submission documents
to NFL team owners in 2008. The students then
worked with the host committee for four years on
community projects.
Allison
Melangton
Indiana Sports Corp.
President

After serving as NBC’s associate producer for gymnastics at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Allison Melangton returned to Indiana to assume her role as president and CEO of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. It was a position she accepted the day before flying to China.

Melangton’s involvement with the sports culture of Indianapolis began in 1983, when she accepted the position of transportation coordinator for USA Gymnastics. She worked her way up to vice president before joining Indiana Sports Corp. in 1994. As senior vice president of events, Melangton was a key player in Indianapolis’ successful bid in 2008 for the 2012 Super Bowl. She then spent the next three years with the host committee developing programs that would both mobilize and achieve a lasting effect in the community.

Melangton says her ability to “build and mold a team” is a quality she relies on when planning major events. She used that strength when faced with thousands of eager Super Bowl volunteers. Her desire to engage the community resulted in more than 12,000 hand-knit scarves and more than 30,000 welcome cards decorated by elementary students for volunteers and visitors.

Melangton is one of only two women to serve as president of a Super Bowl host committee (along with Susan Sherer, in Detroit in 2006). Outside of Indianapolis, her ongoing involvement with NBC’s Olympic gymnastics coverage has earned her four Emmy Awards. After completing her final duties as president of the Super Bowl Host Committee on July 19, Melangton headed to London the next day to work her fifth Olympics as an associate producer for NBC. It’s a role she plans to continue at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She began her new position as president of Indiana Sports Corp. on Sept. 4 and hopes to see the Super Bowl return to Indianapolis in 2018.
— Anna Hrushka
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: From Jack Swarbrick, 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee board of directors member and Notre Dame athletic director: Fifteen years ago, Jack told me to “learn to be comfortable in silence.” I have used that wisdom many, many times in negotiations and discussions by not filling the air with talking and letting silence stand till I had formulated the response in my mind.
  • What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?: Don’t rush a decision to meet a deadline. Ask for an extension to do the due-diligence homework required and critical-thinking evaluation to determine the right outcome.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Sheila Walker, former gymnastics coach and director of events at the U.S. Olympic Committee. Sheila was my gymnastics coach at Colorado State University and then my supervisor during an internship and temporary employment at the USOC when I was in my early 20s. She was an exceptional role model for a young woman and took the responsibility of mentoring young professionals very seriously.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Donna Lopiano. She recognized the untapped potential of women in all aspects of sports, on the field and off the field, and was a trailblazer in creating future opportunities for women like myself.
  • Outside of work and family, I’m spending a lot of my time on …: Catching up on personal reading. The last four years have been dedicated to Super Bowl-related reading. I just read [Gov.] Mitch Daniels’ “Keeping the Republic” and Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.”

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Allison is a pleasure to work with. Her genuine, low-key approach belies her competitiveness, and she gets big things done in a big way. She mobilized this community in an unprecedented way, and the result was the best Super Bowl week in the history of the game.”

  • Pete Ward, Indianapolis Colts COO
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