Using Business Success to Give Back

When she was in her mid-40s, Maxine Clark founded Build-A-Bear-Workshop, a store where children can make their own teddy bears.

Build-A-Bear, which opened its first store in 1997 at the St. Louis Galleria, went public in 2004. 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 and the Middle East.

Clark, now 63, announced recently that she will retire as “chief executive bear” of the Missouri-based company. She doesn’t plan to slow down, however. As she explains in this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, she’s found inspiration from people like Bill Gates who have used their success in business to serve bigger purposes.

Once Build-A-Bear names a successor, Clark will remain on the board. She also wants to dedicate her money, creativity and energy to help improve public education in the St. Louis area. She’s already involved with a local charter school and Teach for America.

“All along, I’ve known there are other things for me to do,” Clark told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “No timing is ever perfect. But this is as close to perfect as I’m going to get. I still have 20 years left to change the world.”

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About Lynne Strang

I'm a writer who blogs about 40-and-older business owners. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." Outside of work, I enjoy reading, cooking, vegetable gardening and exercise (especially cycling).
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, Careers, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement, Success and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Using Business Success to Give Back

  1. Reblogged this on The Haywood Stokes and commented:
    👌

  2. This is a short but sweet and inspiring post you shared. It’s really touching. =>

  3. I love the trend (and stories) of entrepreneurs like Bono, Anita Roddick, Bill Gates and Maxine Clark who not only do good business but impact business practices.

  4. Gilly C says:

    This is really inspiring! after starting a successful company in her 40’s, she is also giving back to the community. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this.

  5. mika says:

    Very inspirational to see people succeed late in life!

  6. We need some of this entrepreneurial spirit in Jamaica … this story is really inspiring

  7. This was a great post.

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