Sheila C. Johnson is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC, a company she founded in 2005. She may be best known as the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) with ex-husband Robert Johnson. She was the creator of the award-winning weekly program, "Teen Summit."
At Salamander Hospitality, she oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties including Woodlands Inn in Summerville, South Carolina, Innisbrook, a 72-hole Golf & Spa Resort in Innisbrook, Florida, and the much-anticipated Salamander Resort & Spa, currently being constructed in Middleburg, Virginia.
As Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and President and Managing Partner of the WNBAâ€™s Washington Mystics, Ms. Johnson is the first African-American woman to have a stake in three professional sports teams including the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Capitals (NHL). As a founding partner of BET (Black Entertainment Television), she pioneered modern television programming and created the award-winning program Teen Summit, an issues-oriented talk show for the networkâ€™s youth viewers. Currently, Ms. Johnson produces films that convey a strong humanitarian message, with completed projects including Kicking It, A Powerful Noise, She Is The Matador and her latest film, The Other City, about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington DC.
In 2006, Ms. Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading aid organization fighting global poverty by empowering women. Ms. Johnson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York. A fervent supporter of the arts and education, Ms. Johnson was recently selected by Governor Bob McDonnell to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Additionally, President Obama appointed her to the Presidentâ€™s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and she sits on the boards of Americans for the Arts, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Howard University and the University of Illinois Foundation.
An accomplished violinist, Ms. Johnson earned 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.