Susan Baughman

Indy Like a Local

Who is Susan?

Susan Baughman is the president of the 2022 College Football Playoff Host Committee. Read on about how she's prepping for championship weekend January 8 - 10, as well as what it takes to put on the event, what fans can expect, and how local teachers are benefiting.

Q. What’s unique about Indy hosting the CFP National Championship for the first time?

The main thing that I think is interesting about CFP coming here is, we are the first “cold-weather” city that they’ve been to. I think we can show them how a northern city, a Midwestern city, can be really effective at having an exciting event. 

The other thing, we’re the first city that’s hosting that doesn’t host a bowl. There are six bowl games that rotate every year and those are the ones that play into the national championship. The winners of the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl are who comes to Indy. Every other city is in that rotation of six bowls, and we’re the only one that doesn’t have a bowl that got invited to host. I feel like we have a lot to prove, and I feel like we absolutely will do that and provide a playoff-perfect downtown city. 

Trophy by the canal

Q. The bid to host this event was won in 2017. Have you been planning since then?

We have. I would call it phased planning. We first started by forming our board and our executive committee and then building out our host committee. We couldn’t do many of the things until we got further along. But what we were able to get started on really early was brainstorming and ideation of what special things we could do around the event while we have the gift of time. We were also able to start on our legacy programming, which was all about teachers. The mission of the CFP Foundation is all centered around opportunities for teachers by way of rewards and recognition, lifting up the profession of teaching, and professional development opportunities and resources for their classroom and them personally.

Q.  In addition to that charitable component, what goes into planning such an event?

We’re working with the event owners out of Irving, Texas. We’re responsible for everything from airport operations, how we handle our downtown working with public safety for traffic. We run a courtesy-car program. We’ve got a huge volunteer program we’re going to run, so we’ve got to recruit volunteers and do an orientation program to get them trained and then plan for management of them on site during the championship. We contracted the hotels. We’re working on game operations at Lucas Oil Stadium, and we’re planning a really cool fan opportunity outside in downtown Indianapolis called Championship Campus. Our focus is for the best experience of athletes and their team services. We’re also working with the teachers’ program and activating downtown with different elements with businesses in the area. We’ve got statewide programs we’re doing. It’s really pretty far-reaching. 

Q. What will be in the Championship Campus and what can fans can do there?

The Championship Campus is open and free to the public. We’re going to have Fan Central, which is a fan fest inside the Indiana Convention Center Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It’s a huge interactive, built for all ages, but it will be a great family opportunity.

We have free concerts that are going to take place on Monument Circle. And that’s going to be really exciting, the way that will be paired with the 3-D light show that happens downtown. ESPN is going to do a huge outdoor broadcast booth like you see on [College] GameDay. Everyone can come down and get their chance to be on television.

The other free fan event happens on Saturday morning. It’s Media Day, an insider’s look at what you see on ESPN. You can bring your friends and family, go into Media Day, and get an in-house radio that you can put on and pick which quarterback or coach you want to listen to while they do their interviews. 

Susan speaking with ESPN media

Q. What can you tell us about Taste of the Championship?

It’s a ticketed event, which the funds from this event all go toward the teachers’ program of the CFP Foundation. The fundraising that occurs through that event will actually be benefiting Indiana teachers specifically. It’s a great foodie event with food and drink, artists, entertainment; it will be really fun. We’re going to put our own Indy flair in this event so I think it’s going to be really appealing for people in Indianapolis and the region to attend.

The other fundraising event that’s cool is a 5K that you can run or walk. That starts in the fan fest and has a route around the city. Taste and the 5K are on Sunday. The Taste will be in the evening at the Indiana State Museum. 

Q.  The two teacher programs you’ve referred to are Teach Indy and the Indiana Learning Lab. How will those be supported?

When we were having that early year to figure out what direction we wanted to go with our legacy, we had an advisory committee with people involved with education and schools across the state that helped guide us and figure out how could we use this platform to be beneficial for teachers. What they came up with was some version of online learning, best practices and standards. Then we started into COVID and schools being closed and that kind of thing. There was a group trying to pull together money to help institute the internet where it wasn’t viable for kids trying to do at-home learning. We got involved with that group, and we were able to put in additional money and create this learning lab. It has best practices for teachers. It has idea sparks or lesson plans. They have 24-hour human assistance, and they also have help for parents and at-home helpers for students trying to school from home. It ended up being very timely just because of what was going on.

Since then, it’s continued to develop, and it’s becoming a long-term resource being adopted and maintained through the Indiana Department of Education. The Indiana Learning Lab, we hope, is going to have a lasting legacy impact and also house of a lot of their resources for teachers. We’re really excited that it seems it has a longer life than what we even imagined.

The Teach Indy program is a little different. It’s a program run through the Mind Trust, a local nonprofit. The money that we’ve invested in the Teach Indy program goes to recruiting minority teachers in the city center of Indianapolis and trying to make sure that classrooms have representation that reflects their student base. And through our programming with the Mind Trust, we’ve been able to provide different professional development opportunities for teachers. 

Media Makeover Day at the middle schoolsQ.  Are there any surprises we might come across during CFP weekend?

I think there are going to be some great surprises. But I think it’s going to be awesome. Downtown Indy is perfect for these events because you can literally come down from the airport or park your car and walk everywhere you want to go and not miss anything. You can have great food; you can go to all the fan events and experience these special festival elements and don’t have to drive a car. I think these concerts and some of these special events are going to be really great for people to not only be outside and mix and mingle, but feel really proud of the city and the image that we present around the world. 

 


Get an insider view and experience Indy Like a Local

Susan Baughman

Susan Baughman

President of the 2022 College Football Playoff Host Committee

Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe

Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe

Assistant Professor at IUPUI

Keisha Gray

Keisha Gray

Executive Director of Indianapolis City Market

Lindsey Hein

Lindsey Hein

Podcaster

Justin Keys

Justin Keys

Illustrator & Digital Artist

Kelli Jones

Kelli Jones

Co-Founder of Be Nimble Foundation

Grace Seibert

Grace Seibert

Restaurant Owner and Chef

Aissatou Balde

Aissatou Balde

Blogger, Tales & Turbans

Ashley Ford

Ashley C. Ford

Writer and Journalist

Ira Mallory

Ira Mallory

Local Filmmaker

Mike Gillis

Mike Gillis

Influencer and Entrepreneur

Jerry Lee Atwood

Jerry Lee Atwood

Designer and Owner of Union Western Clothing

Judy Thomas

Judy Thomas

Deputy Mayor, City of Indianapolis

Chef Oya Woodruff

Chef Oya Woodruff

Owner of THE TRAP

Mina Hawk

Mina Starsiak Hawk

HGVT's "Good Bones" and Two Chicks District Co.

Tevin Studdard

Tevin Studdard

Recording Artist

Stephanie Big Eagle

Stephanie Big Eagle

Handpoke Tattoo Artist

Ben Diallo

Ben Diallo

J.Benzal Menswear

Maisum Ali Fari

Maisum Ali Farid

Chapati and Shani's Secret Chicken

Beth Clary Schwier

Beth Clary Schwier

Local artist and gallery owner

Darryl Lockett

Darryl Lockett

Kennedy King Memorial Initiative

Shaunt'e Lewis

Shaunt'e Lewis

Artist and Designer

Lesley Gordon

Lesley Gordon

IndyGo

Carrie Abbott

Carrie Abbott

Newfangled Confections

Debra Stolen Hasbrook

Debra Stolen Hasbrook

Hotel Broad Ripple

Steven Russell

Steven Russell

Lari Pati

Victoria Beaty

Victoria Beaty

Growing Places Indy

Ed and Tom Battista

Ed and Tom Battista

Kan-Kan Cinema

Kylie Conway

Kylie Conway

WISH-TV Anchor

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Pediatrician and Entrepreneur

Tommy Dant

Tommy Dant

Owner of James Dant

Tiffany Benedict Browne

Tiffany Benedict Browne

Local Historian and Author

Justin Sears-Watson

Justin Sears-Watson

Phoenix Theatre Dance Company

Jared Thompson

Jared Thompson 

Saxophonist and Restaurant Manager

George Turkette

Salumist and Owner of Turchetti's Salumeria

Brandon Burdine

Brandon Burdine

Barber Shop Owner and Barista 

Deborah Dorman

Deborah Dorman 

Realtor and Fashion Expert

Josh Baker

Josh Baker

Music Club Owner and Promoter

Oreo Jones

Oreo Jones

Hip-Hop Artist

staff_

Walter Lobyn Hamilton

Vinyl Record Collage Artist

staff_

Yoshiko Kamikusa

Ballet Dancer

Ed Rudisell and Carlos Sanchez

Ed Rudisell and Carlos Salazar

Food and Drink Purveyors

staff_

Meredith Kong and Kelly Ryan

Ice Cream Innovators

staff_

Jingo M. de la Rosa

Illustrator and Educator

staff_

Josh Rush

Painter and Biking Enthusiast

staff_

Consuelo Poland

Manager, RUCKUS Makerspace, and Executive Director, Latinas Welding Guild

staff_

Sonja and Alex Overhiser

Food Bloggers and Authors

staff_

Mab Graves

Artist and Illustrator

staff_

David Ranalli

Magician and Illusionist

staff_

Andrea Hunley

Public School Principal

staff_

Ben "Action" Jackson

DJ and Founder, Rad Summer

staff_

Marisol Gouveia

Zoo Membership Director

staff_

Martha Hoover

Restaurateur

staff_

Pedro Fernandez

Symphony Percussionist

staff_

Brian Kelly and Alex Janeczek

T-Shirt Shop Owners

staff_

Chris Eley

Owner, The Smoking Goose and Goose the Market

staff_

Clay Robinson

Co-Founder, Sun King Brewing

staff_

Cole Farrell and Aric Furfaro

Writer and Exhibit Designer

staff_

Ed Carpenter

IndyCar Driver and Team Owner

staff_

Ersal Ozdemir

Owner, Indy Eleven soccer club

staff_

Gary Brackett

Former Colt Linebacker and Owner, Brackett Restaurant Group

staff_

Beth Chappo

Blogger, Seersucker + Saddles

staff_

Jamie and Martine Locke

Fine Artist and Musician

staff_

Julia Moffitt

News Anchor, WTHR

staff_

Julia Whitehead

Executive Director, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

staff_

Mali Jeffers

Co-Founder of GangGang Culture

staff_

Peter Dunn

Personal-Finance Guru/Comedian

staff_

Polina Osherov

Executive Director, Pattern

staff_

Sam Cronk

Hair Stylist

staff_

Tamika Catchings

Former WNBA Star, Indiana Fever

staff_

James Hinchcliffe

IndyCar Racer, Contestant on Dancing with the Stars

staff_

Januarie York

Spoken-Word Artist

staff_

Neelay Bhatt

TedX Speaker

staff_

Shane Brown

Chalk Artist and T-Shirt Shop Owner

staff_

Charlie Kimball

IndyCar Racer

staff_

Ben Hardy

Owner, The Gallery Pastry Shop

Aster Bekele

Aster Bekele

Founder of Felege Hiywot Center

staff_

Kimberly Schrack

Owner, Manayunk Calligraphy

Maria Romaine Brace

Maria Romaine Brace

Owner, Like the Lettuce: Fitness + Health Coach