Anna Saito is the director of Restaurant Operations at Pike Brewing in Seattle. The brewery is the longest-running craft brewery in Washington State. Learn about Anna Saito…
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
First job: I worked as a busser for a little hometown café called Ms. Grace’s when I was 12 years old. I didn’t tell my mom I was doing it, so I would sneak there after school three times a week, bus tables for a few hours, then Ms. Grace would shove cash into my pockets, and send me on my way. Best job ever!
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: I love that I can drive 30 minutes outside of Seattle and end up on a mountain or on the water. I love to paddleboard in the spring/summer and love to snowboard and snowshoe during the wintertime. Summer is amazing in Seattle. I love all the music festivals, markets and events that happen; you can usually find me at every single one of them.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: With a past company I worked for, I spent months developing an internal Manager in Training program. I saw a huge gap between the company and internal employees that I felt needed to be filled. I executed the program, which was a six-month hands-on training program led by me. The program covered all aspects of restaurant operations and people management. Once the pilot program ended, I was able to successfully job offer two candidates from the program management roles within the company. It meant a lot to me to build a program around the things I wish someone had taught me at the beginning stages of my career. To see the results come together and be able to show the candidates their progress and development over the six-month period was very fulfilling.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I went through a battle with cancer that started in 2018. Oddly enough, it was the worst and best thing that could have ever happened to me. Somehow, I found a silver lining in a dark time, and began to put a lot of things in my life into perspective. I found what was most important and what really mattered to me. I don’t know if I can say I “overcame” that obstacle, its something you battle every day for the rest of your days; but it didn’t beat me, and small wins matter.
Someone who inspires you and why: I am inspired by people, in general. Taking time to just talk to one another, to hear someone’s story, their struggles, their passions, their wins; I am constantly surprised and inspired.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Find your comfort in discomfort. So often, we avoid chances and opportunities because we are “uncomfortable” for whatever reason. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for how we face challenges and obstacles. Take chances, try things. Being uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing; often it’s the extra fuel we need to test our own capabilities. Give yourself a chance to surprise yourself.
Favorite quote: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I spent 10 years (when I was much younger) as a competitive Latin ballroom dancer. It’s still one of my most favorite things to do!
What makes someone fabulous: People who empower other people just because they can…and good accessories!