Honoree / Sheila C. Johnson
Sheila C. Johnson is a successful entrepreneur and impassioned philanthropist.
Ms. Johnson is Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and President and Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. She is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams, including the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
As CEO of Salamander Hotels, a hospitality company she founded in 2005, Ms. Johnson oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties. Grand Golf Resorts of Florida features three golf and family resorts reaching from the Gulf to the Atlantic – Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, Reunion Resort in Orlando, and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. Grand Resorts at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic also features three luxury properties – the oceanfront Sanctuary, the marina-inspired Fishing Lodge, and the boutique-style Ocean Club. Ms. Johnson’s portfolio also includes the Five Star Woodlands Inn near Charleston, South Carolina; and the ultra-luxurious Salamander Resort & Spa, currently being constructed in Middleburg, Virginia.
Ms. Johnson is a partner in ProJet Aviation, a comprehensive aviation service company specializing in aviation consulting, aircraft acquisitions, management, and charter services. She is also a partner in Mistral, the makers of fine bath, body and home products.
Ms. Johnson has also long been a powerful influence in the entertainment industry, starting with her work as founding partner of Black Entertainment Television. She has served as executive producer of four documentary films, including Kicking It, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; A Powerful Noise, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival; She Is the Matador; and The Other City, a critically acclaimed portrayal of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington DC,which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
In May 2011, Ms. Johnson joined the AOL Huffington Post Media Group as Strategic Advisor for Multicultural and African-American Initiatives.
In 2006, Ms. Johnson was named Global Ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women. Since 2011, she has served as a member of Accordia Global Health Foundation’s International Council, rallying support for the foundation’s efforts to overcome the burden of infectious diseases in Africa. Ms. Johnson is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
A fervent supporter of education and the arts, Ms. Johnson was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York, and a board member of the Sundance Institute, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, ANNIKA Foundation, and the University of Illinois Foundation.
An accomplished violinist, Ms. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Illinois, as well as honorary degrees from numerous other institutions. She lives in Middleburg, VA, is married to the Honorable William T. Newman, Jr., and has two children.