WOMEN AT LIBERTY

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Sheila Johnson writes the owner's manual

As vice chairman of Monumental Sports and Entertainment which owns the Washington Mystics, Wizards and Capitals, Sheila Johnson is the first African-American woman to own a part of three sports franchises. On top of that, Johnson co-founded the BET Network, has become a documentary filmmaker and also runs a hospitality business. Johnson talked about growing the WNBA, her philanthropic work and her business success as part of our Power Players series on women in the sports industry.

espnW: As the managing partner, president and part owner of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, and also an owner of the NHL's Capitals and NBA's Wizards, you're the first African-American woman to own a piece of three teams. What does it feel like to make history?

Sheila Johnson: It's empowering. It really is. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Women do not get this kind of opportunity. I have to give credit to Abe Pollin [former owner of Washington Sports and Entertainment] for giving me the chance to do this and then Ted Leonsis [owner of Monumental Sports] for letting me buy into the teams.

espnW: When you saw that the Mystics' locker room was inferior to the Wizards', you immediately ordered an upgrade. In what ways was the locker room substandard, and what else needs to be done to bring the WNBA up to the level of the NBA?

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Sheila Crump Johnson

* Born 1949 in Pennsylvania

* Co-Founder, Black Entertainment Television (BET)

* Film Producer & Executive Producer, "Kicking It" & "A Powerful Noise"

* Global Ambassador, CARE

* Strategic Advisor for Multicultural and African-American Initiatives, AOL HuffingtonPost 

 * President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

* Mother of Paige and Brett Johnson