Hard work, ambition and a passion for community have fueled Sarah Rooks’ journey to the top job at Muskegon’s Watermark Center.
Rooks, a fourth-generation Muskegonite, began working in events when she was just 19. She started out renting strollers at the local mall, working her way up to event coordinator, marketing director and, finally, general manager when she was 29.
Rooks’ work ethic eventually landed her as president of the Watermark Center, a position she’s held since 2011, after working her way up from her first role in the company as project manager. The million-square-foot, mixed-use development includes 53 residential lofts, a production company and an event center, Watermark 920.
"I have been involved in the project since the day we broke ground," Rooks says."I enjoy the fact that every day here is different, and there is always something exciting happening. We have an amazing staff of energetic, ambitious and creative people, and we are all very civic-minded. We all love Muskegon and know how important it is to get out and support the community any way we can."
In addition to her duties at Watermark, Rooks loves being a mom to her two children, is an avid bike commuter and has played on two local roller derby teams.
Watermark 920 is a versatile urban venue with an open floor plan and ceilings made of gridwork and decorative clouds. Rooks says the events team prides itself on making each event unique.
"We can tear down and create the space to suit any needs, so no two events look the same," she says. "I think the Watermark is one of the best modern venues because of our attention to detail. I love the fact that our staff truly believes no idea is too big-it just has to make sense."