and fortitude; it’s
the only animal that
can walk through
fire. We want to find
employees who fit
lieves that keeping
employees is just as
“We treat our
employees very well, and when we’ve finished a really big event,
I thank them profusely,” she said. “But we’re also lucky; I have
employees who love working. I don’t like people who sit around
Taking Another Risk
In 2007, an old friend, Abe Pollin, owner of the NHL Washington
Capitals and WNBA Washington Mystics, approached Johnson
about whether she’d be interested in buying the Mystics. When
she asked Pollin if the team made money and he responded “not
really,” Johnson remained nonplussed: “I knew I wouldn’t turn
it down. Men don’t turn down risk,” she said, though her lawyers
tried to talk her out of it.
Still, she offered another option: Buying into the franchise,
where she became vice chairman of Monumental Sports and
Entertainment (which owns the Washington Capitals, Washington
Wizards and Capital One Arena in Washington), and is president
and managing partner of the Washington Mystics.
When asked what it’s like working in male-dominated indus-
tries, her answer is simple: “Being a woman in a company or
organization boardroom can sometimes be a lonely endeavor.
However, you must remain focused because success serves as
inspiration for other women.”
Johnson inspires young African American women and men
through the Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship at the Center
for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School. After lecturing
there on social impact she decided to finance and support the
fellowship that benefits African American communities.
“I take 10 students a year and put them through the Kennedy
School,” Johnson said. “I spend time with them and know I’ve
made a difference. They can study health care, run for office or
become an architect to redevelop deteriorating communities,” she
said. “One of our students was homeless and living in his car, and
doing construction we got him into The Wharton School, and he’s
now at Morgan Stanley.”
Johnson has also instilled in her students the understanding
that networking is the key to success. That’s why she also believes
in face-to-face meetings.
“Irrespective of advancing technology, there is just no substitute for
meeting people in person,” she said. “So many of our Florida groups
choose to play golf and spend time networking over 18 holes.”
To that end, Johnson gifts each of her Kennedy Center students
with a set of golf clubs for graduation so they can learn how to
conduct business on the course.
“This levels the field,” Johnson explained. “Not only can they meet
a lot of interesting people; they can play in the same sand box.”
HOTELS & RESORTS
Hotel Properties in the
& RESORTS Portfolio
Hotel Bennett, Charleston, S.C.
Opening in summer 2018 on historic Marion Square.
Highlights: 179 guest rooms; a rooftop pool with cabanas and a bar; more
than 12,000 square feet of meeting space; a luxury spa; French patisserie.
Salamander Resort &
Spa, Middleburg, Va.
Highlights: 168 guest
rooms and suites; more
than 130,000 square feet of
indoor and outdoor meeting
space; a 23,000-square-foot
spa and wellness center;
equestrian center; ziplining.
Hammock Beach, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort,
Palm Coast, Fla.
Highlights: 320 guest suites and villas; more than 45,000 square feet
of indoor and outdoor meeting space; 10,000-square-foot spa and
wellness center; Jack Nicklaus Signature Ocean Golf Course and Tom
Watson Conservatory Course; outdoor pool with lazy river and waterslide;
heated indoor pool.
Reunion, a Salamander Golf &
Spa Resort, Orlando
Highlights: More than 360 luxury suites,
condos, multi-room and private vacation
homes; more than 30,0000 square feet
of indoor and outdoor meeting space;
full-service spa; golf courses designed
by Watson, Nicklaus and Palmer; 11
pools; waterpark with lazy river.
Tampa Bay, Fla.
Highlights: More than 500
guest rooms and suites;
100,000 square feet of
indoor and outdoor meeting
space; full-service spa;
salon and fitness center;
four golf courses, including
the top-rated Copperhead
course where the PGA Valspar Championship is played each year.
The Henderson, a Salamander
Beach & Spa Resort, Destin,
Highlights: 170 guest rooms, including
eight suites; 30,000 square feet of total
indoor and outdoor meeting space; spa
with 11 treatment rooms; two pools.
NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans
Highlights: 217 rooms, including 70
suites; 11,000 square feet of indoor and
outdoor meeting space; rooftop pool with a bar for hotel guests during
the day that transitions to a local nightspot in the evening.
SALAMANDER RESORT & SPA, MIDDLEBURG, VA.
REUNION, A SALAMANDER GOLF
& SPA RESORT, ORLANDO
INNISBROOK A SALAMANDER RESORT,
TAMPA BAY, FLA.
THE HENDERSON, A SALAMANDER BEACH
& SPA RESORT, DESTIN, FLA.