Where to start?
She’s the first black billion-dollar businesswoman. Before Oprah Winfrey.
She started as a TV executive, founding Black Entertainment Television (BET), the first TV network targeting African Americans. She then became a real estate mogul.
Oh, she also owns a stake in three major sports franchises, the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals and the WNBA Mystics, the African American, period, to boast that claim.
In honor of Black History Month, let’s dive into her remarkable career.
- Born Sheila Crump in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Johnson co-founded BET in 1979 with then-husband Robert Johnson. The couple sold it to Viacom in 2000 for $2.9B
- Sheila Crump Johnson became the first African American woman on the Forbes’ Billionaire list in 2000—beating Oprah Winfrey to the distinction.
- Per Forbes, Johnson has an $820M net worth as of 2019
Foray into real estate…
After closing the sale to Viacom, Robert and Sheila pocketed around $1.5B each. Johnson used that windfall as seed money to build a hospitality real estate empire in 2005.
“There’s a disparity in paychecks between whites and blacks,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “I will never forget that.”
As CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, Sheila controls a spectacular portfolio of six luxury hotels in Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. And she’s built it from the ground up—literally—in her own spirit.
“I’ve been to many hotels, not only in the US, but all over the world,” she told Forbes last year. “And I wanted to find something that was going to really make Salamander stand out beyond all of these hotels.”
So what does that mean?
“You have to understand, there are a lot of people, investment companies, with very deep pockets,” she says. “They can do it, but they don’t have the experiences that we’re able to bring. I am constantly trying to find a way to help Salamander Resort & Spa stand out head over heels above any other hotel — not only in the area, but in the nation.
“I want them to leave that resort wanting to come back and not just say, ‘I’ll be back in six months.’ I want them to come back all the time.”
And so far it’s worked. In fact, on Forbes Travel Guide’s 61st list of Star-Rated hotels, Johnson’s Salamander Resort & Spa outside of Washington, DC earned a Five-Star distinction.
Forbes: “Everything [she] touches turns to gold.”
That’s a real quote. From Forbes. Last year. It’s also true.
BET? Billion-dollar exit. Washington Capitals? Stanley Cup.
And Roma. Won 10 Oscars. Who showed it before a single soul started caring? Johnson’s Middleburg Film Festival. (Which, by the way, has 32 films and counting in Academy Award contention.)
Remember her golf resort at Innisbrook? Oh, yeah. Hosts the Valspar Championship, one of the PGA calendar’s most-anticipated tournaments.
Becoming a billionaire comes with a new level of clout as well. “When you don’t have money, you’re not invited to special events; you really don’t matter,” she told WSJ. “It’s a society thing.”
So instead, she’s turned to giving back. Her Sheila Johnson Fellowship’s paid for more then 40 scholarships at Harvard University for students who otherwise wouldn’t afford to attend.
Breaking glass ceilings.
There’s an alarming statistic in business and diversity—especially as it pertains to women. According to research by investor Richard Kerby, 18% of all VCs are women—and only 3% are black. In addition, less than 50 black women ever have raised $1M in funding.
“When I got started,” Johnson says, “I couldn’t get a loan. I had to use my own money to get Salamander Resort and Spa.”
She explained to WSJ last year that men can go to any bank with a bank proposal. And no matter how “wacky” the idea is, she said, “they’re going to get the financing. Women do not have that ability.”
Johnson’s taken it upon herself to do something about that, becoming one of the founding partners of WE Capital, an investment firm that invests in female entrepreneurs.
“I started out in a very unique position where I had my own capital to be able to get started,” she says. “But there have got to be banks and investors that believe in helping women who want to be entrepreneurs in the hospitality business.
“And it’s just really, really important that they really take a look at this.”
The TRIBE app is LIVE!📱 Here’s how it all started…
Last November, our TRIBAL CHIEF posed a simple question.👇
We received dozens of messages and emails from you all expressing interest in joining the collective. 👇
So, we went to work.
Within ten days, we had the first MVP (minimum viable product). So, we returned to you and asked if any of you would be willing to check it out and give us feedback, aka beta test. 👇
That following weekend, we put TRIBE in the hands of a few beta testers. Each user scanned the site, clicked every link, and pinpointed any errors during the meeting.
Armed with the feedback we collected, our team made the necessary updates to the site.
That following Monday, December 21, 2020, we conducted a special edition of our FB Live 10 Questions. We used this episode to soft launch TRIBE just to our Facebook community. In addition, we used that time to conduct a live walkthrough and answered questions we received regarding TRIBE.
After that 10 Questions session, we officially launched TRIBE and opened enrollment. We were expecting a few submissions, but instead, we received hundreds of applications!!!
Each submission allowed us to learn more about you and helped us define ways we can serve you best.
We ask questions like
What interests you the most?
Have you started a business before?
Have you invested (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) before?
And most importantly, why do you want to join our community?
This stage of the journey is called audience development. We learned that 53% of you were entrepreneurs and that over 70% of you were super-focused on learning about investing both in the stock market and real estate.
Best of all, we discovered that 78% of you were willing to commit 5-10 years to learn how to become millionaires. Yay!🙌
Knowing your audience is so important, no matter what business or industry you’re in. With this data, we were able to craft virtual experiences that would help you reach your goals. For example, we outlined a calendar of events focused on real estate, stock investing, goal-setting, and entrepreneurship.
We spent the first few weeks getting to know our founding members through virtual meetings, coaching sessions, and events.
With that in mind, our tech team searched for a solution. In the meantime, we created a group chat through WhatsApp.
We used that chat room to share updates and connect with our members.
In February 2021, we began building the TRIBE social network platform. Our goal was to funnel all community events, updates, and networking under one umbrella.
Our team spent hours designing branded creatives like banners, thumbnails and creating content like how-to articles and videos to populate the network.
We shared the upcoming news about the platform with our founding members first and asked them to check out the site and share their feedback. For the first two weeks, the TRIBE social network was exclusively available to them. However, once they gave us their approval to move forward, we opened doors to the entire wealthgang.
The platform went from founding members to thousands 💪! Not to mention 175K+ (followers, TRIBE members, app downloads, etc.) across the entire NYCE ecosystem. It feels like it all happened overnight. 🔥🔥🔥
As more members joined TRIBE, we conducted more virtual experiences. In addition, we ensured that all events were recorded in case some members were unable to attend; we could share the replay.
However, as demand for replays grew, we knew we needed a better solution to deliver on-demand access.
TRIBE TV was born. To us, it’s Netflix for financial literacy. Through TRIBE TV, you can learn at your own pace.
As the community continued to grow, we added more membership perks like 1:1 and group coaching sessions from experts and 30-day challenges.
So, what’s next for TRIBE?
Today, I am happy to announce that the TRIBE app is now officially available in the App Store and Google Play. (Here are the direct links to dowload: iOS and Android! You can also use Text Me the App here to text yourself and others a quick link to download the app.)
That’s right, a community fueled by a simple social media post has grown to thousands of members, over 100 virtual events, dozens of success stories (hey, Donna!), and now there’s a standalone app!
You know what? We could not have done it without you, our TRIBE community. 🙏
What’s the lesson in all of this? Just start. No matter where you are in life, just start. Start that blog, launch that side hustle, apply for that mortgage loan, invest in that index fund, build that website. No matter what you desire to create, just do it.
You’ll never be ready. We weren’t prepared to build a community that serves thousands. We weren’t ready to produce over 100 virtual events in less than a year. We weren’t ready to build a streaming platform. And we certainly weren’t ready to build two mobile apps in less than 12 months, but we made it happen.
Why? Quite frankly, it’s pretty simple for us. These initiatives move us one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires. That’s the gasoline that fuels us and keeps us moving. That’s more important to us than anything else.
Through hard work and hardcore commitment, we did it! And you can too!
Always start with why? Our why is always to move one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires
Build an MVP
Test, test, test
Talk to your target audience so you can learn more about them and their needs
Build solutions to their headaches
Always add value
Work your ass off!
P.S.S. I recommend that you also delete/disable notifications from the Mighty Networks mobile app. Otherwise, you may receive duplicate notifications about TRIBE.
The Art And Science Of How To Keep Talented People Around
(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.)
The number one reason talented people leave their jobs is because of the failure of their direct managers. Businesses are defined by the strength of their people. Even in the most successful company (think Google, Amazon, etc.), a bad manager can drive talented employees out the door. So what is the true art and science of keeping talented people around?
Successful managers apply targeted, dynamic coaching to each individual team member. There is not one management style that works for everyone or every situation. Managers need to adapt their approach to every situation and every team member. This is called situational leadership. This situational leadership model has been used across 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies and has received numerous accolades from training experts.
The model details how we learn new skills and the four stages of mastering new tasks. For every stage and task, managers need to adapt their approach to managing their report.
When your team member approaches a new and unfamiliar task with a determination to master it, they see opportunity. They are complete beginners in execution, but they possess high motivation and low skill. In this step, the manager needs to take a highly directive approach, where they demonstrate how the task should be done, setting concrete goals and closely reviewing the report’s progress as well. You are not being a micromanager by supporting the growth and training of your team. Sometimes your team needs to use your expertise as training wheels.
This stage is full of frustration. Why? Because it generally takes people more time to master a skill than they’d like. Discouragement will set it and their confidence will lower. While they have built up more skills, their confidence is at its lowest in this stage. In this stage, the manager needs to serve as a cheerleader and remind their team member of why they were chosen to do this task and remind them of how far they have already come.
In the third stage, people have gained enough skill to complete the task but still maintain a mentality of imposter syndrome in which they are more skilled than their confidence allows them to believe. They may even still be discouraged. In this stage, managers need to do less guiding and allow their team member to perform while self-directly more consistently. These acts of trust can boost the team member’s confidence and their dependence on the manager will fade while their confidence increases.
People reach stage four when their confidence is at the same level as their skill. They become veterans and will continue to boost their confidence and skill set. This is the stage in which the manager steps back and gives the employee the space to continue fostering growth. Check in every now and then and help as needed. Also be sure to recognize the team member for all of their accomplishments along the way.
Keeping talented people around is not hard. Managers just need to apply situational leadership and remember that every team member works and learns differently and need an environment in which they can thrive in. As the leader, you are building this environment, so make sure it is a healthy one.
Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here.
This Guy Co-Built A $4B Company In Four Years - And He Only Works 7 Hours A Day
Cal Henderson is pretty badass.
As co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Slack — arguably the single most crucial role in any startup — Henderson has helped build a product from zero users to four million daily in just over three years.
About a year ago (cue Shmoney Dance!), Slack announced they’d raised $200 million in its fourth round of venture capital, putting the software at a WHOPPING $3.8B valuation.
And unlike many all-time greats on #TeamNoSleep (think Leo DaVinci, Thomas Edison and Vince McMahon) — and the modern ones who call for 95-hour work weeks — this dude actually puts his Z’s atop his to-do list.