Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
For the past eight years, Sarah Sass has been the president of Watermark Center, the live-work-play development in downtown Muskegon.
A lifelong resident and advocate of Muskegon, Sass has helped to create and organize some of the area’s most notable community events.
She's always on the lookout for the next idea that can help Muskegon become a vibrant city.
Biggest career break?
I think there are a lot of moments for which I am thankful and appreciative. I also know that any sense of pride I have seems more collaborative than any moments I can exclusively claim. However, I am proud of being from Muskegon and being a part of the transition happening in my hometown.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“A shy man’s a hungry man.” I never totally understood that one until I got older. My Dad always said it, and I always took it literally. He also always told me to “use your powers for good.”
How did you make your first dollar?
At a very young age I came to the realization that if I wanted anything outside of what was provided by my parents that I would have to buy it myself, and I became very entrepreneurial and would do anything from babysit to paint rocks and sell them in our front yard. When I was old enough to get hired (there were limits to how much I could work), I ended up getting a few jobs at the same time, so I could get more hours. I worked at Little Caesars, a tanning salon, washing dishes at the Muskegon Yacht Club, and I rented strollers at the local mall.
I have a lot of things that are sentimental to me and things I love, like my dog (can a dog be a possession?), but I think I treasure and value the time I have with my family and the memories we are creating more than anything I possess. I guess with that being said, my most-treasured possession would be all of the photographs we take.
I have always wanted to be a concierge. I have always loved washing dishes too.
If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?
First, I would write myself a big-old pardon for everything I was going to do that day! Then I would extend my presidency for at least a month, so I could get an understanding of the job and the people surrounding me and go from there! I would then probably make some proclamations and finally pick out the holiday décor!
Last book you’ve read?
Right now, I am reading “I Always Loved You: A Novel” by Robin Oliveira. It’s a story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.
Last thing you Googled?
How do you cook plantains?
Your worst habit?
I would say I have no bad habits, just room to improve. But I’m guessing the people in my household might have different opinions! I repeat myself often, and I talk a lot (sometimes really about nothing at all!).
To unwind, I like to . . . ?
Spend as much time as I can with our kids and my family. My boyfriend, Chris Cordle, and I have four kids between us, so that keeps us extremely busy. Chris is a musician and an artist. Our time is filled with trips to the art museum, listening to music, biking, volunteering or seeking out live music. Oh, and lots of trips! We barely sit still!
Anywhere with Chris and our kids, even staying home hanging out.
I was a vegetarian for 20+ years. I was re-introduced to meat a couple of years ago, and I will never eat another bean burger as long as I live. I can’t believe I wasted over 20 years not eating G&L chili dogs! I would have to say my favorite food is meat.
Person you most admire?
My Dad was my hero. He passed away a few years ago, and I miss him every day.