Posts Tagged ‘Maxine Clark’


January 29, 2012

Our 2012 Huggable Heroes--What an incredible group!

It’s a new year! Every January, I reflect upon the previous year, and think long and hard about what I can learn from it. And every year, without fail, I am amazed at how much I learn from young people who are changing the world. I am always inspired by their drive and commitment to make a difference, and so I make it an annual mission to reward these passionate kids who teach me and all of us so much about helping others.

Today, Build-A-Bear Workshop launches our ninth annual Huggable Heroes search for young people who go to extraordinary lengths to make the world a better place. The program was created to encourage and empower kids – ages eight to 18 – to be community service leaders and to award them for accomplishing great deeds.

Anyone ages eight and above – parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, community leaders, even young people themselves – may nominate a candidate. Entry forms are available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada or online at: Nominations will be accepted through February 27.

Entries will be narrowed down to 80 semifinalists in March and to 30 finalists by the beginning of May. Ultimately 10 new Huggable Heroes will be selected to join the ranks of more than 100 other amazing youths from the previous eight years. Each new Huggable Hero will receive a $7,500 scholarship toward his or her college education and a $2,500 donation from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation for a cause of his or her choice. Also, the Huggable Heroes will receive a video camera and a trip to St. Louis to celebrate their accomplishments, participate in a professional photo shoot, and meet fellow 2012 Huggable Heroes.

Last year I learned a few lessons on giving back from each one of our Huggable Heroes:

From Nicholas and Cassidy I learned the importance of staying positive when presented with hardships, using personal experiences to help others in similar circumstances.

From Shannon, Kyle, Rujul, Justin and Armin, I learned to look at issues impacting other countries, see if there’s a way to solve them and then to take action.

From Shaun, Jasmine and Deventae, I am reminded to always look around the community in which I live and support those in need – whether they be sick, hungry or lacking educational resources.

You can read all of the 2011 Huggable Hero stories at I hope you are inspired by these stories, learn from them and take up a cause of your own. Because whatever you can do, no matter how big our small, you can make a difference.

What kind of stories about giving back will we hear in 2012? I hope to hear yours or one you share about a friend, and wherever the stories come from, I have no doubt I will be inspired by them. We look forward to hearing about the next group of young leaders and givers.

Chief Executive Bear

P.S. Behind our Huggable Heroes are great parents who encourage charitable behavior. There are many ways young people of all ages can become involved in community service. Here are a few tips from some of the Huggable Hero’s moms:

• Walk the walk. Get involved yourself; participate in charitable events on behalf of causes you believe in.

• Include children in volunteer efforts. Provide opportunities for children to see and act on the needs of others so they learn first-hand how they can make a positive difference.

• Start small. Do little projects to help others and begin at an early age.

• Consider a charity allowance. Set aside a percentage of each child’s monthly allowance for charity and let them decide where to donate the money at the end of six months.

• Support them. Allow their ideas to flourish and help their dreams become reality whether that means lending moral support, providing necessary transportation and equipment, or giving them a pat on the back to keep them going.

• Remember: Encouraging your children to participate in charitable endeavors is a gift to them, as well as to the people whose lives they touch.


December 26, 2011

Although the holidays are a very busy time of year for everyone, I want to take a few moments to say THANK YOU for being part of our Build-A-Bear Workshop extended family and best wishes to each of you for a happy holiday and New Year.

When I started Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997, now almost 15 years ago, I wanted to make the experience of creating a stuffed animal the most personal, interactive and memorable experience it could be by offering the highest quality products at the best possible value. I also wanted to find great people with great heart to work in our stores who loved children and who could bring out the imagination of each Guest, through the fun of making a stuffed animal. Just a week before Christmas we commemorated the selling of our 100 millionth stuffed animal. We are proud and honored that so many of our furry friends are being hugged as we speak all around the world!

Based on my passion for this idea, combined with the spirit, dedication, and integrity of the many thousands of associates in our company and our stores around the world, Build-A-Bear Workshop continues to this day to be a place that makes people smile. We know we have a great responsibility to each of you to provide this experience with products that are safe and fun. If any of our products don’t meet our standards we will act quickly and accordingly. You have my personal commitment to deliver on this promise.

As many of you know, Build-A-Bear Workshop is commemorating its 15th Birthday in 2012! We will have the ongoing store events, unique products and special programs you have come to expect from us and we are also planning some added excitement during our year-long celebration. Be on the lookout for more information to come as we share many happy occasions and memories with you in the coming year.

I am so lucky to have your special friendship throughout the year and I look forward to hearing from you often with your suggestions and ideas about how to make Build-A-Bear Workshop even better. You can always write to me at or post a comment or question on this blog. I will do my best to respond quickly 
Thank you all for taking the time to stay connected all year long.

Hugs to all, Happy Holidays and a beary Happy New Year,

Maxine Clark,
Founder and Chief Executive Bear

Friends make holidays BEARY special!

April 13, 2009

Holidays always make me think about my friends and family especially those from my childhood or earlier career days who have become a part of my fondest memories. The best part about TRUE friends is that even though you may not see or talk to them often, when you do meet up, it is like old times.


Facebook has helped many people reconnect and that is true for me too. I have many of my high school friends that I have been reacquainted with as well as new friends and it is a convenient place to stay in touch. On we wanted it to be a place where old and new friends could connect. The fun thing about online friends is you can seem to have a lot more than you would ever have in real life. One such friend is Michelle—known in BABV as IzzyFluffed. This past week she came with her daughter Kayla (LilFluff) to meet me and get a tour of our World BearQuarters. It seems that Kayla really wanted to meet us and what a treat it was for me. We talked for an hour or so and shared many stories about friends we had made in BABV like MomMusicLover and KimberlyMay17. Without I would not know these ladies and nor would I have their input to help make our company better. That is a great friendship—one with give and take! I hope to meet as many of our Guests in real life as I can.

Tomorrow Hannah from Georgia is stopping by to say hello on her Spring break. I can’t wait to meet her. To me, meeting people in real life is the ultimate fun thing to do.


I talk about friends a lot because to me they are so valuable. I am a lucky person—I have lots of friends. One such very special friend and long time acquaintance is Mike Duke. Mike and I have known each other for about 25 years as we used to work together. Recently he was named the CEO of Wal-mart and now runs the largest company in the entire world. To me he is a rock star–a very down to earth one at that! He is the same nice man that he has always been even though he is one of the most important business leaders in the world.


Last week he invited me to attend one of the famous Wal-mart Saturday meetings and asked me on stage to be “interviewed.” Mike and I both love our jobs and bringing great stuff to our stores so he asked me about merchandising and ideas and it was so much fun. I am always glad to share my know-how with others and so is Mike. Here is a picture of us:


Maxine and Mike at Wal-mart

Maxine and Mike at Wal-mart





After the meeting my other friend that live in Arkansas, Peaches, had some of her friends that love BABW over for a teddy bear tea and we had a blast. I wish I could do this more often. Itw as relaxing and FUN to meet so many Moms and their children who love BABW so much.


Maxine and Friends in Arkansas

Maxine and Friends in Arkansas



On (and many other virtual worlds) you can click on someone you meet and ask them to be your friend—as easy as that. In the real world making a true friends is way harder but well worth it. In the virtual world being a friend is also MUCH MORE than a click. The object is not to rack up so many names of people you really don’t know but instead to find some friends who share your values of fair play, honesty and integrity. They aren’t bullies or mean to anyone but kind and helpful and always smiling. They aren’t greedy trying to get something you have worked hard to buy or collect with a promise of something they have when they really don’t. I say pick your friends in the virtual world the same way you would in the real world –because they are a good person and a good bear.


Recently in order to make room for more fun stuff on BABV and also to load all the neat things we have even faster we say than many of our citizens have thousands of “friends.” Not real friends but the kind you click on and never see each other again. In fact, of the people that have 200 or more friends, few even had contact with or traded with 50 of those friends. So, we asked people to minimize their list—not minimize their friends. As you know I speak to many of the citizens on a daily basis through email and here is what one said: “I have this friend in BABV who is trying to get me to trade something and I don’t want her to.” THAT IS NOT A FRIEND BY ANYONE”S or in the real world. In this world of virtual everything some lines gets blurred but the friendship one must not! The internet is a great place to reconnect with old friends and stay in touch with all friends but nothing beats the connectedness of REAL face to face friends. People you can look in they eye and know they are being truthful or that they really are who they say they are.


I love the ease of the internet—it has made connecting with our Guests so much easier but nothing is as fun as meeting them in person and seeing the sparkle in their eye. Lucky me—Hannah is coming to meet me tomorrow!


Hugs to all.




January 18, 2009

We made it to DC. The plane was full of people excited to be witnessing history. There were tons of kids as well as many St. Louis and IL government officials on our plane. Including U.S. Representative Jerry Costello and his wife Georgia. Jerry represents Southern Illinois.

Arriving in DC was a piece of cake. Not nearly as hectic as they projected–at least not yet. But it is soooo cold. The best part is everyone is so friendly.  No sooner did I get to the hotel check in when I saw one of our Huggable Heroes from 2007-Zach Bonner. Zach was in town for the inauguration and saw a bear that looked beary familiar only to find, I was at the same hotel. It was a hug fest to be sure. Zach’s great charity he founded is The Little Red Wagon Foundation and he continues to do PAWSOME good all over the USA. Just a few weeks ago Zach was even on Good Morning America.  His Mom was also with him in DC but not his bear, Kansas 😦 Good news is Kansas is at home in Tampa staying warm and getting ready for the Super Bowl!

We got settled and then went with friends to a local restaurant-Charlie Palmer’s On Constitution Avenue. Many of the Senators and representatives eat here but tonight it was filled with lots of regular people like us and stars like Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Tim McGraw. The food was delicious and afterwards the maitre d’ took us up to the roof for these great pictures. If we look cold–we were!

Maxine on top of the world...well, the DC world anyway!

Maxine on top of the world...well, the DC world anyway!

Maxine and Christina (Original member of Cub Advisors)

Maxine and Christina (Original member of Cub Advisors)

Sunday I have a meeting on public education and then off to a reception held by Russ Carnahan, our Representative from MO. We also get a backstage tour of the House. I can’t wait.

Stay tuned for more BEAR-acking news from the inauguration of our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.


Maxine the Cub Reporter