Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Lou Ann Thompson, is pleased to announce that Sheila C. Johnson, a successful entrepreneur and impassioned philanthropist, will be the headline speaker at the 2014 Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon. This relatively new Festival event spent its formative years finding its niche in the Festival world; but, over the past three years, a series of powerhouse speakers has invigorated the event and transformed it into one of the “must do” business-interface events of the year. 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, this business luncheon is designed to motivate, entertain and inspire the local business community with a dynamic speaker and an opportunity for first-class networking. In 2012, Louie Sheetz, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Sheetz, Inc., headlined the event; and, he was followed in 2013 by Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. Festival Organizers are pleased to announce that businesswoman, Sheila C. Johnson, carries on this tradition of excellence at the 2014 event.
Ms. Johnson has long been a powerful influence in the entertainment industry, starting with her work as founding partner of Black Entertainment Television. She is currently the CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, a hospitality company she founded in 2005. Ms. Johnson’s luxurious and equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa made its much anticipated debut in August 2013. Located in Middleburg, Virginia, in the heart of Virginia’s horse and wine country, this flagship resort was recognized by USA Today as among the world’s top eight hotel openings of 2013. Ms. Johnson is also 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. A fervent supporter of education and the arts, 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 (CPL). In 2006, Ms. Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that combats global poverty by empowering women. Since 2011, she has served as a member of Accordia Global Health Foundation’s International Council, rallying support for the foundation’s efforts to overcome the burden of infectious diseases in Africa. An accomplished violinist, Ms. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Illinois, as well as honorary degrees from numerous other institutions. She lives in Middleburg, Virginia; and, is married to the Honorable William T. Newman, Jr., and has two children.
The Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, from 12noon to 2:00pm. Due to unprecedented ticket sales for the 2013 event, in 2014 this rapidly growing event will expand its floor space to include the entire Sprint Tent, and will once more be sumptuously catered by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Individual tickets for the event will be $25.00 per person for general admission seating. Tickets may be purchased at the Official Festival Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet when it opens on Monday morning, March 31st, at 10:00am, at “The Railroad District at 302 North Cameron Street”; or, online. A corporate rate of $325.00 will reserve a table of 8 w/ preferred placement, table signage, two passes to the Business Leaders Reception, and listing in the event program. Corporate tables may be reserved online or by contacting Festival Headquarters at 540-662-3863.