Town Hall



June 3, 4pm - 5pm EST

Fireside Chat w/ Maxine Clark, founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Join us as we learn what it takes to start, grow & exit a profitable retail brand.
Watch the RecapAccess the Workbook
This event brought to you by
Title Sponsor
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Hosted By
1863 Ventures
The Schedule

Run of Show

4:oo PM - EST
Melissa Bradley, our founder & Managing Director kicking off the event.
4:10 PM - EST
A Word From Our Sponsor
Hear from the folks who helped make this event possible.
4:20 PM - EST
Fireside Chat
Maxine Clark gives us a peek into her mind and her heart of gold, while answering a few of your questions.
4:50 PM - EST
Closing Remarks
Melissa Bradley wraps up the event and shares resources and ways the broader ecosystem can get involved.

Sponsored by

Understand the different segments you target and the pain-points they have, all to elevate your brand's communication strategy.

The Topics

The journey from a single store, to a global brand.

Business Ideation
Building a Mission-Driven Brand
The Pitfalls
Biggest Lessons & Takeaways
The Fundraising Journey
Advice for Up & Coming Founders
How to Thrive During COVID
The Pathway to a Successful Exit
Helpful Resources & Organizations
What's Next for Maxine?

Join us as we dive deep into what it takes to be at the helm of a massively successful retail brand. From conception, all the way to an exit.

The Speaker

Who is Maxine Clark?

October - 1997
Founded Build-A-Bear Workshop®.

A teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience.
The Reception
With guests lined up outside the door, she knew this would be a success.
As of Today
Over 350 stores around the world.
Accolades // Build-a-Bear

The legacy Maxine has built through her tireless work at Build-a-Bear Workshop.
Maxine built an amazing brand that perfectly blends a culture of empathy and dedication to their craft.

Named to the FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For® list for the 10th year in a row.
The National Association of Small Business Investment Companies made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year.
Named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers “Hottest Retailers of 2004”
Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001

- The National Retail Federation
The Next "Act"

Maxine didn't just stop after Build-a-Bear.
Maxine credits her teachers as her foundation for success—classroom teachers and mentors alike. To honor them she gives back.

June - 2013
Stepped down as CEO to apply her entrepreneurial skills to her passion for improving K-12 public education. Investing in and mentoring women & New Majority founders.
The Mission & Vision
Making public ed much more consumer friendly & accessible for families and students to enrich each child’s learning experience.
2015 - Launched
A free app that helps ALL families navigate the best summer activities, pre-college programs and career options for their family.
Work as an Investor
Maxine is also a Managing Partner of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis based fund created to invest in women owned businesses.
Coming Soon in 2021
Her latest venture is the Delmar DivINe™—the transformation of a neighborhood eyesore into a multi-use real estate development to open later this year.
Work as an Investor
On the Board of Advisors of Lewis & Clark Ventures, a St. Louis based private equity firm.
Accolades // Maxine Clark

Just a glimpse at Maxine's impressive career.
From private organizations or public institutions, Maxine has consistently been realized as a thought leader & innovator.

Maxine has made it her life mission to give back. Here are just a few ways she's driving real change.

Current Board Seats
Maxine currently holds a seat on the Build-A-Bear Workshop Board.
Current Board Seats
A member of the Board of Directors of Footlocker, Inc. & privately held Big Dot of Happiness.
Past Board Seats
Maxine is a recent past member of the national Board of Trustees of Teach For America.
Current Board Seats
On the local St. Louis regional board.
Current Board Seats
An Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis.
Current Board Seats
The Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Barnes Jewish Hospital and its Goldfarb School of Nursing.
Current Board Seats
On the Board of Directors of Beyond Housing.
Current Board Seats
On the national Board of PBS where she is the newly elected Vice Chair of the Board.
Current Board Seats
On the local Nine Network of Public Media Board of Directors.
Current Board Seats
Board member of Parents As Teachers.
Current Board Seats
Board member of New America.
Her Higher Education
Maxine is a graduate of the University of Georgia.
Her Higher Education
She holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University.
Her Higher Education
She holds a Doctor of Humane Letters in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis.
Her Higher Education
She holds an Honorary Associates degree from St. Louis Community College.
Work as An Author
In 2006, she published her first book

“The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”
More About Maxine

The accolades just keep coming.
Maxine has made it her life mission to give back. Here are just a few ways she's driving real change.

Maxine was given the Missourian Award for her outstanding public service to Missouri.
Named to the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.
Named one of The 25 Most Influential People in Retailing

- Chain Store Age
Inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame
Named one of the Wonder Women of Toys

- Playthings magazine and Women in Toys
Was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004.