Students in the University of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management will have an exclusive opportunity to learn from renowned executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson beginning this fall semester.
Johnson will be teaching as executive in residence for a specialized course – Leadership Development in Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. The course will be co-taught by College of HRSM Interim Dean David Cárdenas and School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Director Robin DiPietro and is an exploration of how leaders mobilize others to accomplish extraordinary goals. The course is designed for students in the College of HRSM Leadership Program who will learn practices to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards.
Johnson has built a stellar career across the college’s industries of sport, entertainment, hospitality and retail. As founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, she oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties and lifestyle businesses with locations including Virginia, Florida, Jamaica, and Charleston, South Carolina. The company ranks as one of the largest minority-owned, women-owned companies in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
As a partner and vice chairman of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Johnson is the only African American woman with ownership in three professional sports teams: the WNBA’s Washington Mystics (for which she serves as the team’s president and managing partner); the NBA’s Washington Wizards; and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
An ardent supporter of education and the arts, she serves on the board of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, as chairman of the College of Performing Arts at The New School, and as founder and chair of the Middleburg Film Festival. Johnson is also known as a television pioneer, having been a founding partner of Black Entertainment Television, and she has extended her influence into the realm of feature films and documentaries as well.
"Sheila Johnson is a visionary leader who has built an incredibly successful career across our industries, and we are so excited that our students will have the extraordinary opportunity of learning from her," says Cárdenas. "Our college is dedicated to bringing together passionate students, inspiring teachers and industry leaders, and this teaching collaboration brings that vision to life in a way that will make a transformative impact on students."
The College of HRSM Leadership Program provides leadership development enrichment opportunities for students through specialized courses, mentorship programs and career experiences. The HRSM Leaders also gain experience by serving as ambassadors for the college – leading tours, meeting with prospective students and families, volunteering at college events, offering insights from student perspectives to faculty and more. Program participants are selected each year through an application and interview process led by College of HRSM Director of Enrollment Management and Professional Development Collin Crick.