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Sheila Johnson

Trumpet Award - Entrepreneur



Sheila C. Johnson, an impassioned philanthropist, a visionary and an entrepreneur with a flair for business, is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC; President & Managing Partner of the WNBA's Washington Mystics; and a partner in Lincoln Holdings, LLC.  She also serves as a Global Ambassador for CARE.  


Johnson was appointed an Ambassador for CARE, a humanitarian organization whose mission is to fight global poverty, in December 2006.  In this role, she acts as an integral part of the “I AM POWERFUL” campaign, working to build solidarity and create a movement to empower women and girls as catalysts for change in communities around the world.


In addition to her philanthropic work, Johnson is an accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur.  As CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC., a company she founded in 2005, she overseas a growing portfolio of luxury properties which include, Market Salamander a working chef’s market with locations in Middleburg, VA; and Palm Beach, FL.; as well as the Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, NC, a long time recipient of the Mobil 5-Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for both lodging and dining. Future additions to the Salamander Hospitality properties include Market Salamander in Washington, D.C., and the luxurious Salamander Resort & Spa, being developed just outside of Middleburg, VA.

As President & Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and a partner in Lincoln Holdings, LLC., Ms. Johnson is the only woman to have a stake in three professional sports teams, including the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals.   Known for her determination and her exuberant love of the game and her team, she is currently focused on raising awareness and increased parity in women’s sports.   In the first full season under Johnson’s leadership, the Mystics dominated the WNBA with a franchise-high 18 wins as well as a trip to the playoffs. 


Through Lincoln Holdings, Ms. Johnson also has a minority interest in Washington Sports and Entertainment Limited Partnership, which controls the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington/Baltimore TicketMaster, in-house promoter Musicentre Productions, and the management of the Verizon Center and the George Mason University Patriot Center. 


An avid sponsor of the arts and an accomplished violinist, Johnson dedicates her time to several organizations to help create opportunities for children and young adults to express their creativity.  She presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Parsons The New School for Design and sits on the boards of The Whitney Museum, VH1 Save the Music, The Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, the United States Equestrian Federation, Episcopal High School, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation, the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia, the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, the SUNY Morrisville Foundation, the University of Illinois Foundation, Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. She is also immediate past president of the Washington International Horse Show.  She has been a significant donor and participant in each of these organizations. 


Johnson is also a major supporter of the United Negro College Fund and has donated to Bennett College to strengthen their program in the arts; and SUNY Morrisville, to promote diversity of students and staff.  Her support of the arts in education for children has included gifts to Strings for Schools in Philadelphia; Urban Gateways in Chicago and, closer to home, The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, to offer early childhood education programs.  She recently established the Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center at the Hill School in Middleburg, VA.


As an advocate for the protection of children, Johnson has spoken around the world on behalf of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.  Through her work with ICMEC, she has also helped introduce tougher sanctions and legislation to protect children globally.  As a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, her crowning achievement was the development of an award-winning weekly program Teen Summit, giving teenagers a chance to talk frankly about their critical issues.  Young adults still approach her to tell her how valuable the show was for their lives.

Johnson’s entrepreneurial spirit runs through every aspect of her life and she is both a catalyst and a tireless supporter of the causes to which she gives herself.  Of all her numerous accomplishments, she is most proud to be the mother of her two children.

Sheila Johnson is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Arts in music. 






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