Vice Chairman, Monumental Sports & Entertainment
President and Managing Partner, Washington Mystics
Sheila C. Johnson is an entrepreneur and philanthropist whose accomplishments span the arenas of hospitality, sports, TV/film, the arts, education, women’s empowerment and community development.
As Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Ms. Johnson oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties in Virginia, Florida and Louisiana. The equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, opened in 2013 and has since been recognized as one of the country’s finest properties. The collection features three of the top golf resorts in Florida: Hammock Beach in Palm Coast, Reunion in Orlando and Innisbrook in Tampa Bay, and also includes the new Henderson Beach Resort in Destin, Florida, and NOPSI Hotel in New Orleans, which opens in 2017.
As Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Ms. Johnson is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams: the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, for which she serves as President and Managing Partner. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association.
Ms. Johnson is also a partner in Mistral, the makers of fine bath, body and home products; and in November 2012 launched her own collection of luxury scarves, inspired by her travels around the world and manufactured in Italy. In 2013, in recognition of her entrepreneurial success, she was invited to serve as a judge for Ernst & Young’s World Entrepreneur of the Year Award – the only judge on the international panel to represent the United States. In 2015, Ms. Johnson was named on Forbes Magazine’s Top 50 America’s Richest Self Made Women. And in 2016, she co-founded WE Capital, a venture capital consortium to support and empower female-led enterprises that can advance transformational social change. She also serves on the board of the Greater Washington Partnership, which seeks to strengthen the region’s global position as a center for commerce and innovation.
Ms. Johnson has 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. She also helped finance the Screen Actors Guild nominated feature film The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, and is founder and chair of the Middleburg Film Festival, an annual celebration of independent film that opened to sell-out crowds in October 2013.
A fervent supporter of education and the arts, Ms. Johnson serves on the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York, and is a member of the Leadership Council at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership (CPL). She is also a board member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, as well as the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.
From 2006 to 2009, Ms. Johnson served as global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women. She also 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. In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, she was honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal in 2012.
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.