Sheila C. Johnson announced as festival business speaker

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival President Lou Ann Thompson has announced Sheila C. Johnson, a successful entrepreneur and impassioned philanthropist, as the headline speaker for the Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon, from noon to 2 p.m. April 30.

Held in the Sprint Tent on the campus of the Winchester Medical Center, and hosted by Valley Health and the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, the business luncheon is designed to motivate, entertain and inspire the local business community with a dynamic speaker and first-class networking. Last year, Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas headlined the event.

Johnson is founding partner of Black Entertainment Television and currently is CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, a hospitality company she founded in 2005. The company’s flagship resort in Middleburg was recognized by USA Today among the world’s top eight hotel openings of 2013.

She also is the Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and president and managing partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. She is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams, including the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

She serves on the board of governors of Parsons New School for Design in New York, and is a member of the leadership council at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2006, she was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women.
The rapidly growing event has expanded its floor space to include the entire Sprint Tent and will again be catered by Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

General admission is $25 and may be purchased at the Official Festival Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet, 302 North Cameron St., when it opens at 10 a.m. March 31, or at www.thebloom.com. A corporate rate of $325 will reserve a table of eight with corporate table sign, invitation for two to attend a Business Leaders Reception and mention in the event program. Call 540-662-3863 or go online for corporate tickets.