2019 Billie Jean King Leadership Award Recipient

Published on October 16th, 2019

Sheila C. Johnson

Sheila C. Johnson is an entrepreneur and philanthropist whose accomplishments span the arenas of hospitality, sports, TV/film, the arts, education and community development.

As Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Ms. Johnson oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties including the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, which has been awarded the esteemed Forbes Five Star rating. The collection features two of the top golf resorts in Florida: Hammock Beach in Palm Coast and Innisbrook in Tampa Bay; the Henderson- in Destin, Florida; Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina; and Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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 served five years on the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association.

In 2016, she co-founded WE Capital, a venture capital consortium to support and empower female-led enterprises. 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, and also helped finance the Screen Actors Guild nominated feature film The Butler. She is founder and chair of the Middleburg Film Festival.

Ms. Johnson serves on the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She is a former member of the Leadership Council at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

Ms. Johnson served as the global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women. She has received many awards in recognition of her humanitarian efforts, including being honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal and the distinguished Lincoln Medal.