Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize Sarah Magaña Withers Director of Development WSS Shoes as a 2016 Latina of Influence.
Sarah Magaña-Withers is a veteran of economic development and public administration. She has held various high-level positions in the public sector throughout the Los Angeles metro area, such as City Manager and Director of Community Development/Redevelopment. She began her career with the city of San Fernando where she served for over 12 years, beginning in law enforcement and working her way up to decision-making positions in Economic Development where she oversaw the city’s most ambitious and lucrative period of economic growth. She also served as a Commissioner of Information & Technology for the city of Los Angeles under Mayor James Hahn.
Sarah is currently Director of Development for WSS Shoes Style Selection, the premier footwear retailer in the U.S. currently doing business through 79 neighborhood-based stores in California, Nevada and Arizona where her position has her in charge of entitlements, acquisitions and new multi-tenant developments. Founded in 1984 by entrepreneur Eric Alon, all WSS stores feature a unique retail format that displays every style and size, allowing customers to browse on their terms, in a hassle-free environment, engaging the friendly and knowledgeable sales staff when they choose. The success of this business model has allowed WSS to continue its rapid expansion into new markets, with Sarah at the helm, with new locations planned in New Mexico and Texas, and eventually across the U.S.
Prior to joining WSS, Sarah founded Circle Partners Inc., a full-service real estate consulting firm, specializing in real estate acquisition, development, entitlements and financial analysis. Clients include real estate development firms, national retail tenants, motion picture production companies and municipal entities. Sarah has been responsible for the entitlement and pre-construction of millions of square feet of real property. Among her most notable accomplishments include: the remediation of 15 gas stations redeveloped to accommodate such major retail giants as Starbucks, Pollo Loco, and McDonalds, among others; the remediation and predevelopment of a 39-acre municipal landfill in the City of Palm Springs, redeveloped to a 400,000 square foot power center anchored by Home Depot; entitled a 39-acre waterfront mixed-use development in Chula Vista; and assembled and entitled the 200-acre Calexico Gran Plaza Outlet Mall. Sarah has been successful in luring retail tenants to underserved communities and has assisted municipal entities with remediation grants to redevelop sites for new opportunities.
Sarah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne and is an alumnus of the prestigious Lusk Program at USC. She has been licensed with the State of California Department of Real Estate since 1990 and is a board member of Los Angeles Urban Renewal Now (LURN) as well as an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. She is the proud mother of two college students, daughters Alexandra and Andrea.
Nominated by Margie Hernandez