March 27, 2007

Build-A-Bear Founder Maxine Clark to Speak at Business Breakfast April 19TH

Maxine Clark, founder, chief executive bear and chairman of Build-A-Bear Workshop ®, will be the featured speaker at the Neeley School of Business' Tandy Executive Speaker Series on Thursday, April 19, 2007.  

The Tandy Executive Speaker Series is offered to the Metroplex business community by the Neeley School of Business at TCU to develop and disseminate leading-edge thought in order to improve the practice of business. The breakfast event takes place 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center, 2820 Stadium Drive, on the TCU campus. Tickets are $20 each, which includes a full breakfast. RSVP by April 13 .  

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, Clark founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy-bear themed experience retail store. The area locations at Ridgmar mall, The Parks at Arlington and Northpark Center are three of nearly 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. Another of Clark's additions to entertainment retail is friends 2B made®, launched in 2004.

Prior to forming Build-A-Bear, Clark was president of Payless ShoeSource Inc. for four years. Before that, she spent more than 19 years in various divisions of the May Department Stores Company, including merchandise development, merchandise planning, merchandise research, marketing and product development.   

In 2006 Clark was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year. Build-A-Bear Workshop was a 2005 iParenting Media HOT Award Winner, 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. friends 2B made® received First Prize: Exterior - In-line Store Category in the Chain Store Age 2004 Retail Store of the Year Design Competition. Clark was named a Customer-Centered Leader in the 2005 Customer First Awards by Fast Company . She 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.   

Clark is a member of the board of directors of the J.C. Penney Company Inc., where she also serves as chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee. She is 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 is also chair of Teach for America St. Louis and a member of the Committee of 200, a leading organization for women entrepreneurs around the world. Her first book, The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart , was published in 2006 by Wiley.


Elaine Cole
Public Relations Manager
Neeley School of Business at TCU