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The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Monday, November 12, 2007

WISE 2008: Featured keynote by Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-a-Bear

It was just formally announced that Maxine Clark -- Founder, Chief Executive Bear and Chairman, Build-A-Bear Workshop® -- will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 WISE Symposium on April 1, 2008 in Syracuse, NY. Below is her biography.

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. Today there are more than 300 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada and the United Kingdom and franchised stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

In 2006 Maxine 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. Maxine 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.

Maxine is a member of the Board of Directors of The J.C. Penney Company, Inc., and serves on the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teach for America – St. Louis 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.

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