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Honoring the Women of the Ivar’s Clam-ily on International Women’s Day

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Here at Ivar’s, we’re strong supporters of everyone in our clam-ily, so today we’re recognizing International Women’s Day by sharing a few stories from some our esteemed female employees. Every year on March 8, countries around the world honor women and gender equality. Like our restaurants, founded in 1938, this day dates back to the early 20th century. This year’s theme, as officially declared by the United Nations, is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.” 

 

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In keeping with the theme, we’re highlighting a few of the women of Ivar’s, who do a fin-tastic job at serving our customers and keeping them as happy as clams. If you see one of these women at your local Ivar’s, don’t hesitate to show your appreciation! 

 

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Ivar’s Salmon House General Manager, Michelle Dobaran Deide 

Meet Michelle Dobaran Deide, general manager of Ivar’s Salmon House. Originally hired as the bookkeeper of Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing in 2005, Michelle quickly moved up to dining room manager that same year. Shortly after, Michelle was promoted to Ivar’s Acres of Clams as assistant general manager in 2006, earned the general manager role back at Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing, before joining Ivar’s Salmon House as general manager in 2011. 

Michelle says, “one of my favorite things about Ivar’s is the wonderful team members and all the memories we share, including stories from guests and our relationships. The first time we celebrated Veterans Day at Ivar’s, offering a free entrée with proof of service, an elderly couple married for 50 years came in for dinner with their wedding portrait, both in uniform. I took a photo of them holding their portrait at Salmon House and the next Veterans Day they brought back that photo as proof of service!” 

When she isn’t busy managing Ivar’s Salmon House, Michelle volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, tutoring kids in grades 1 - 12 in English, reading, math and science. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Whistle Workwear, a retail chain that provides quality apparel to the American workforce. Michelle even fosters and trains feral and domestic cats and recently volunteered in South Africa at a big cat rescue and rehabilitation center for lions, cheetahs and other wildlife! In her downtime, Michelle enjoys building LEGOs. 

 

Ivar’s Office Manager, Bonnie Sanchez 

Bonnie Sanchez (also known the go-to person and lead customer liaison) is Ivar’s office manager, working at our Pier 54 headquarters. Bonnie’s career with Ivar’s spans nearly three decades, originally joining as an executive secretary in 1991. 

Bonnie oversees most of our corporate giving programs where she is responsible for selecting and managing food donations and organizing some key events. “My favorite memories include all the fun surrounding the Grand Clam!” says Bonnie of her fondest Ivar’s memory. Ivar’s Grand Clam is an internal, annual golf tournament that Bonnie has managed since 2000. The competition benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Scott Kingdon Memorial Guild, named in memory of our former president. Due to Bonnie’s efforts, the Tournament has raised close to $160,000. 

“It was also always fun working the Mariners games. Back in the day there could be 40,000 people at Safeco Field,” says Bonnie, referring to our T-Mobile Park location by its former name. After more than 20 years with Ivar’s, Bonnie went back to school and worked hard to earn a bachelor’s degree, taking night courses after work. In 2017, Bonnie completed her studies and we celebrated her success together. When she isn’t at work managing the office, Bonnie enjoys spending time with her grandkids, gardening and volunteering at her church.  

 

Ivar’s Office Manager, Bonnie Sanchez 

Finally, we’d like to introduce you to Suzette Graham, district manager for Ivar’s Seafood Bars. Regardless of where your local Ivar’s is located, many customers know Suzette from the former Fish Bar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), which she managed for many years serving customers from around the world! Suzette was a key member of the “Keep Ivar’s at SeaTac” campaign and though it didn’t work out how we hoped, she was instrumental in leading the effort and gaining public support! 

Before working at SeaTac, Suzette started as a manager at the Lakewood Seafood Bar location. “I was hired April 1, 1996. I thought they were going to say, ‘April Fools!’” recalls Suzette. She then moved onto the Tacoma Mall and James Center and helped us open a former location in San Jose, Calif. “Our previous Director of Operations, Dave Fechter, was at the Tacoma Mall talking to me about helping out in the California location. Suddenly, the floor felt like it was rolling. ‘Suzette, have you ever experienced an earthquake?’ he asked. I told him no and he turned and said, ‘you just did!’ It was scary!” 

“One of my favorite memories with Ivar’s is when our previous President and Owner, Scott Kingdon, came to the Tacoma Mall and personally thanked me for all the hard work. I knew I was valued and appreciated,” says Suzette.  

Most importantly, Suzette shows gratitude and shares some of our key values. “I have to thank everyone in my work and personal families for always supporting me. I truly believe that you treat people how you want to be treated.” When she isn’t busy at work, she likes to go camping and clamming (she’s definitely part of the Ivar’s clam-ily!) and spending time with her family.


How will you honor the women in your life for International Women’s Day? We suggest stopping by your local Ivar’s location with your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, friend or loved one for a meal to show your appreciation – and not just International Women’s Day, but any day! Be sure to tag us in your photos on social if you stop by one of our locations!