Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling

I read an article in The Root that caught my fancy."Black, Female, and In Charge" sounded good to me. The survey of the accomplishments of twenty Black women who become CEO in their companies encouraged me to reach out to young women, share some of these role models that might be unfamiliar, and highlight some of the traits they exhibited that contributed to their success.

When we think black, female and in charge, we think Oprah Winfrey, Madame C. J. Walker, Linda Rice Johnson, Tracy Edmonds, Debra L. Lee and Desiree Rogers. You might even know Rosalind Brewer, new CEO at Sam's Club or Ursula Burns, CEO at Xerox. If pressed to name others, we probably couldn't add names to the list.  So let's get started, find out who some of the women are, and what helped them succeed.

Sheila Crump Johnson
Salamander Hospitality
Traits: Optimism, creativity, and vision

She is the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). Johnson currently serves as CEO of Salamander Hospitality, management of luxury properties.

Sheila Crump Johnson is the co-founder of BET with former husband Robert L. Johnson. The two equally split $1.5 billion in proceeds after BET was sold for $2.3 billion in stock. She has come into her own as her own person, out of the shadow of her former husband, their 33-year marriage and the giant media company they founded together. They divorced last year. She also has extensive real estate holdings, including the 200-acre Salamander Farm in Virginia and another farm and a condo in Florida. She also owns 18 show horses.
She is the visionary entrepreneur who purchased former ambassador Pamela Harriman's 350-acre tract (reportedly for $7 million) to build the resort.
She is the philanthropist who supports the UNCF and has given $7 million to Parsons School of Design (she's a board member), $1 million to the State University of New York at Morrisville and $3 million to the Hill School in Middleburg.
She is president of the Washington International Horse Show, which under her leadership made a profit for the first time in its history.
She is a photographer whose work is displayed in galleries and restaurants around Virginia.

She is a designer who has created her own line of luxury linens that is manufactured in Italy. One pattern was inspired by her photograph of ice ladened trees on the farm.
She is an accomplished violinist, former music teacher and author of a music textbook.
She is the proud mother of 17-year-old Paige Johnson, a champion equestrian and Olympic hopeful, and 13-year-old Brett, who is an "exceptionally bright" budding athlete.

"I just love life and doing all these things."

Look to meet other "Black Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling" in future post on Bits and Pieces and The Emerald Quill. Be inspired!


  1. Make sure you add Celestine Green to the list. She's a Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Retired Federal Executive, Red Hat Society Queen, Blogger, Romance Writer, Poet, Civil Rights Activist, and Amateur Iron Chef :)

  2. Wow! Who knew? Can't wait to meet your next ceiling breaker.