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In celebration of the 36th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day, the Indiana Fever will hosted all-female panel discussion featuring professionals who have thrived in their respective sports-related careers. NGWSD celebrations around the country and beyond are aimed to inspire girls and women to play and be active, while promoting female inclusivity.

“National Girls & Women in Sports Day has become a unifying experience and a tremendous showcase for so many successful women to share their experiences across the sports landscape. The Indiana Fever remain committed to unite girls and women across the state as the only professional female sports franchise in Indiana.” Fever President Dr. Allison Barber said.

The panel was hosted by FOX 59’s First At 4 anchor & Newspoint at 11 anchor, Beairshelle Edmé. The local on-air personality is in her third year at FOX 59. Fever President Dr. Allison Barber will tip-off Wednesday’s panel discussion with opening remarks. 

Get To Know This Year’s Panelists

Mel Raines is in her seventh season with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as President and Chief Operations Officer as well as President of the 2024 NBA All-Star Local Organizing Committee. Prior to joining PS&E, she was chief of staff to Indiana Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks as well as holding various other roles on six Republican National Conventions. From 2009 to 2012, Raines was one of the principal architects of Indianapolis’ highly acclaimed 2012 Super Bowl. Earlier in her career, Raines served as Assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for Political Affairs, directing all the Vice President’s political and domestic outreach activities. Raines, a South Bend, Ind. native and graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington, is on the board of directors of the Pacers Foundation, the Indianapolis Zoo, Visit Indy, Second Helpings, and the Indy Championship Fund.
With over 15 years of experience in the sports industry, Danita Johnson joined Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, as their President of Business Operations in early 2021, making her the first Black President of an MLS Club and only the third woman in league history to serve in this role. Johnson has already made an impact with a landmark broadcast arrangement, which sees all the club’s Major League Soccer matches produced live in both English and Spanish. Prior to moving across the country, Johnson served as President and Chief Operations Officer for the Los Angeles Sparks, leading the organization to a league-best in corporate sponsorship dollars earned and launched the annual #WeAreWomen campaign, which drew a historic attendance of 19,000 to Staples Center for a WNBA game. A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and a graduate of Western Carolina University, Johnson sits on the board of the Share Winter Foundation, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a WISE Within Mentor.
As the President of the 2022 Indy College Football Playoff, Susan Baughman led the planning and execution of the event. Previously Baughman served as Senior Vice President of Events and Strategy for Indiana Sports Corp leading long-term planning and event bids strategy and execution. In her 21 years at Indiana Sports Corp, Baughman served as Executive Director for the 2010 and 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and was the Senior Vice President of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, as well as directing multiple conference and NCAA championships. Baughman is a graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington.