Maxine Clark

Maxine Clark

2015 Woman of the Year

Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation Honors Clark for Her Leadership and Encouragement of Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is pleased to honor Maxine Clark as the 2015 Woman of the Year. Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is the state’s premier leadership organization designed to bring together women leaders from global corporations, small business, academia, government agencies and non-profit organizations. The mission of Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is educating and inspiring women leaders to make a difference.

The award is presented annually by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation,
recognizing a prominent female citizen who exemplifies the Greater Missouri Woman who participates in the annual Greater MO Leadership Challenge. A Greater Missouri Woman is recognized as accomplished in her field of endeavor. The maturity and professionalism realized by reaching her level of success are demonstrated by her leadership, civic contributions, and ability to inspire and support others. She is intellectually curious, interacts well with others, and while passionate in her beliefs, is open-minded when confronted with new points of view. She is committed to a life of learning and personal growth.

Past recipients of the award include Teresa Maledy, CiCi Rojas, the Honorable Ann Covington, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Sister Berta Sailer, Deborah Patterson, Linda Arnold and the late Duana Dralus.

Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Mexico, the Middle East and South America. Cumulative sales of nearly $5 billion and over 140 million stuffed animals have been sold worldwide.

In June 2013, Maxine stepped down from her Chief Executive Bear role to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education and encouraging and investing in women and minority entrepreneurs such as Goldie Blox and Maxine is also a Managing Partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis-based fund created to invest in women-owned businesses in the St. Louis area.

Her latest project is Blueprint 4 Summer STL (, a mobile app that connects St. Louis-area kids to fun and educational summer activities. The app opens a world of summer possibilities to encourage childen to develop their opwn passions and creativity; advance their learning; and encourage students to spend their summer time constructively.

Maxine Clark was honored as Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation’s 2015 Woman of the Year luncheon on May 21, 2015, at the Hilton Ballpark in St. Louis.