“Building a Company with Heart”
Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her 30-year career, her rare ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and insight into the desires of the American consumer generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy-bear themed experience retail store. At year end 2006 there were over 300 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom and franchised stores in Europe, Asia and Australia.
In 2006 Clark was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame and received the 2006 Luminary Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement from the Committee of 200. She was named a Customer-Centered Leader in the 2005 Customer First Awards by Fast Company. Clark was one of the Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys, and was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year, it was named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers "Hottest Retailers of 2004" and the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001 by The National Retail Federation.
Clark is a member of the Board of Directors of The J.C. Penney Company, Inc., and serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Washington University in St. Louis. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Chapter of Teach for America and a member of the Committee of 200. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. In 2006, her first book The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart was published.