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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

WISE2006: Entrepreneuring in All Facets of Life

Our speaker, Sheila Johnson is co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and president of the Washington Mystics. She has built a resort and has extensive real estate holdings. She also owns 18 show horses. She is a generous philanthropist, giving millions to worthy causes including SUNY Morrisville.

Johnson said that there is an extraordinary legacy of women entrepreneurs in the U.S. She draws inspiration from that legacy.

The salamander is the only animal reportedly to be able to survive the hottest of farms. Her own property is Salamander Farms. (The previous owner named the farm after his nickname, given to him for his ability to survive.) She has used the name salamander for some of her other businesses. She seems to draw strength from the salamander’s ability to survive. One can tell listening to her that she has been a survivor.

Her foray into land development wasn’t easy. Her neighbors in the horse country of Virginia were not all in love with her dream. They wanted her to fail, but she knew she had to be relentless in succeeding (as relentless as those who wanted her to fail).

A few key thoughts:

  • She encouraged the group to set goals and create a clear plan of action.

  • Don’t shut your learning machine down. Continue to learn. You don’t know where the next great idea will come from.

  • Don’t assume that it will be an easy road. You will have critics. Follow your passion.

  • Vision without action is only a dream. Vision with action can change the world.

  • We must support women in politics. They will influence the business world through their actions and legislations.

  • Support the hopes that young girls have for their futures.

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