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Maxine Clark        

Founder & CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop

Maxine Clark has been “Chief Executive Bear” of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. since the company’s inception in 1997 and has served as chairman of the board of directors since conversion to a corporation in April 2000. Previously, she was the President of Payless ShoeSource, Inc.; prior to joining Payless, she spent over 19 years in various divisions of the May Department Stores Company in areas including marketing, product development, and merchandise development, planning, and research. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading and most creative entrepreneurs, her first book is The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart. In it, Clark reveals how she built Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. from the ground up, offering the tools needed to start, run, and market a company in today’s competitive environment.

As one of the true innovators in the retail industry, she has been renowned in her 30-year career for her rare ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends, as well as for her insight into the desires of the American consumer. By 2006, there were over 300 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom and franchised stores in Europe, Asia, and Australia – a testament to her keen business acumen.

Accolades for Clark and Build-A-Bear Workshop include: induction into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame; the 2006 Luminary Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement from the Committee of 200; a 2005 Customer First Award from Fast Company, which named her a “Customer-Centered Leader”; a 2005 “Portfolio Company of the Year” award for Build-A-Bear from Small Business Investment Companies; a “Wonder Woman of Toys” nod by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys; an iParenting Media “HOT Award” win; a “Hottest Retailers of 2004″ mention by the International Council of Shopping Centers; and the “Retail Innovator of the Year of 2001″ award by the National Retail Federation. Clark was also a national finalist in retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2004.

As a member of the Board of Directors of The J.C. Penney Company, Inc., Clark also serves as Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University in St. Louis, and her alma mater, the University of Georgia. She serves as Chair of Teach for America St. Louis and is a member of the Committee of 200, a leading organization for women entrepreneurs around the world.

Speech Topics

Customer-Centered Leadership

Leading Through Change and Transformation

Leading Through Change and Transformation

The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart


Build-a-Bear Founder Maxine Clark to Speak at Call Center Week
Build-a-Bear Founder Maxine Clark to Speak at Call Center Week ... will be the first recipient of Call Center Week's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

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