Using Sports as a Motive for Change [National Conference Recap]

Allison Mellangton, senior vice president at Hulman Motorsports Corporation, giving the Opening Keynote Address. Photo courtesy of Elsa Embler.

Allison Mellangton, senior vice president at Hulman Motorsports Corporation, giving the Opening Keynote Address. Photo courtesy of Elsa Embler.

Session: Opening Keynote Address

Presenter: Allison Melangton, senior vice president, Hulman Motorsports Corporation

Recap:

You might not think that knitting and the Super Bowl go together, but Allison Melangton would disagree. Melangton, who currently works for Hulman Motorsports Corporation, has spent her career using sports as not only a method of entertainment, but also a motive for change.

Melangton helped transform Indianapolis into a premier sports tourism destination. She’s planned and led events including Super Bowl XLVI and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Instead of focusing solely on the entertainment aspect of sports, she uses these events to enact initiatives to build unity in the Indianapolis community.

One program she initiated for Super Bowl XLVI was “Super Scarves”, which engaged an audience of people who could not physically volunteer for the event due to age, disability or location. Instead, these people knitted scarves for day-of volunteers. This is just one way she engaged both a national and global audience in a community event.

Sports are great, Melangton said, but it’s what goes on around them that’s important.

Takeaways:

  • “Don’t let the distraction be a distraction.” Don’t let unknown variables keep you from doing a good job.
  • “Respond, don’t react.” If things go wrong, take a breath, and then come up with a plan. Don’t respond in the heat of the moment.
  • Embrace what’s next. Always be open to new opportunities. If you have all your future plans set-in- stone, you could miss great opportunities.
  • Be flexible and humble. The world of public relations is ever-changing. Stay light on your feet and be adaptable.

Caroline Byrne is a senior mass communication major concentrating in public relation at Louisiana State University (LSU). She is currently the external relations intern for the LSU College of Engineering. Her interests include media relations, tourism public relations and crisis communications. Follow her @csbyrne13 or on LinkedIn.

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