Entrepreneur Sheila Johnson, a 1966 CYSO alum, recently released her autobiography, Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph, and has been making the rounds speaking with the press about her incredible life story. Johnson, who co-founded the BET network and is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, is the world’s first Black female billionaire.
Born Sheila Crump, Johnson’s family moved frequently throughout her childhood before settling in Maywood, outside Chicago, where Johnson began to excel on violin. She was a member of CYSO her senior year of high school and reflected a few years ago that CYSO continues to be “near and dear to my heart and has provided a foundation for all that I have accomplished.” With the support of her beloved orchestra director at Proviso East High School, Susan Starrett, Johnson went on to University of Illinois, where she graduated with a degree in music in 1970.
This recent feature from CBS Sunday Morning shares more details of Johnson’s life and her road to incredible business success. We especially loved the throwback photos of Sheila as a young violinist!