Maxwell alumna Phaedra Stewart ’91 finds it difficult to look at the world without seeing opportunities to connect with people, raise their spirits and empower them to make their lives better. A self-described serial entrepreneur (some might say a serial…
Founder of Black Entertainment Television to inspire entrepreneurs at 2006 WISE Conference
Founder of Black Entertainment Television to inspire entrepreneurs at 2006 WISE ConferenceMarch 21, 2006Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
A quarter of a century ago, Sheila C. Johnson made history. She, and then-husband Robert L. Johnson, started a weekly two-hour Friday night television network called Black Entertainment Television (BET) with the goal to provide programming for an under-served cable audience: African Americans.
Three years later, BET launched a 24-hour schedule with more than 7.6 million cable subscribers. Today, BET is one of the most familiar cable stations nationwide, with more than 80 million subscribers.
Johnson and BET constitute a perfect example of serial entrepreneurship at work. Johnson didn’t stop with BET. She is currently the CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC, an upscale market for epicures. Additionally, she is a partner in Lincoln Holdings, which owns the Washington Capitals and the Washington Mystics, and has a minority interest in the Washington Wizards.
“Johnson is inspirational,” says Nola Miyasaki, executive director of the Michael J. Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. “As an entrepreneur, she has pioneered new ground for women in traditionally male-dominated business venues that include media networks and sports. Not only is she the first woman of color to be an owner-partner in three professional sports franchises, she believes in sharing her strategies for success to inspire and empower others.”
Johnson will be one of three nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs who will provide keynote addresses at the 2006 Women Igniting the Spirit ofEntrepreneurship (WISE) Conference, hosted by the Falcone Center, and scheduled for April 11 at the OnCenter in Syracuse. Johnson’s keynote, “Entrepreneuring in All Facets of Life,” will be part of the all-day event, which includes breakout sessions on guerrilla marketing, how to finance a start-up, Web site tactics, accounting tips, family business solutions and important legal advice for women entrepreneurs. The conference will close with a networking reception and wine tasting.
Registration is limited and has sold out in previous years. The deadline for registration this year is April 6. The conference, which includes continental breakfast, lunch and the reception, is $10 for SU students with ID and $45 for the general public. For more information or to register, pleasevisit http://www.wisentrepreneur.com or call Shelly Heinrich, event coordinator for the Falcone Center, at 443-3550.
The 2006 WISE Conference is made possible with the support of major sponsors Key Foundation, National Grid, Devorsetz Stinziano Gilberti Heintz & Smith P.C., Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Strategic Computer Solutions and others.
Launched in 2003, the WISE program was developed to foster the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities by women from all walks of life. In addition to the annual WISE conference, WISE sponsors various supporting year-round events.