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Maxine Clark
Maxine Clark
Director and Founder

Director Emeritus

Maxine Clark, 75, founded the Company in 1997, served as our Chief Executive Bear until June 2013, and served as a director until 2023 when she was appointed Director Emeritus. She was our President from our inception in 1997 to April 2004 and served as Chairman of our Board of Directors from April 2000 until November 2011. She currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation. Prior to founding Build-A-Bear Workshop, Ms. Clark was the President of Payless ShoeSource, Inc. (“Payless”) from 1992 until 1996. Before joining Payless, Ms. Clark spent over 19 years in various divisions of The May Department Stores Company in areas including merchandise development, merchandise planning, merchandise research, marketing and product development. Ms. Clark previously served on the Board of Directors of Foot Locker, Inc., a publicly traded retail company, and on the Board of Directors of J. C. Penney Company, Inc., during a time when it was a publicly traded apparel and home retail company. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of The Gymboree Corporation, a formerly publicly reporting retail company, and she currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Lewis & Clark Ventures, a St. Louis-based private equity firm. Ms. Clark is an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis, serves on the national Board of Directors of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and is a past member of the Boards of Directors of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. Ms Clark is a member of the Board of Directors of the Delmar DivINe, a multi-use real estate project she created and developed. Ms. Clark is an Emeritus Director of the St. Louis Regional Educational and Public Television Commission (KETC/Channel 9 Public Television). She is also a Managing Partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a fund created to invest in women-owned businesses in the St. Louis area. Ms. Clark is Past Chair of Teach for America-St. Louis and a past member of its national Board of Trustees. She is a past trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centers and a member of the Committee of 200, an organization for women entrepreneurs around the world. Ms. Clark has a Bachelor’s egree from the University of Georgia, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Washington University and Saint Louis University and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters—Education from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Ms. Clark has extensive leadership and executive experience in the retail industry, which includes founding and leading Build-A-Bear Workshop. She has more than 45 years of experience in the areas of marketing, merchandising, store operations, digital technology, entertainment, strategic planning, and real estate. With this experience, along with her service on the Boards of Directors of other publicly traded retail companies, she has highly relevant and valuable insights and perspectives on all aspects of the Company’s retail and entertainment business.