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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Sharon Price John Build A Bear Workshop, Inc

Sharon Price John

President & CEO

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 1997

Industry: Retail

In the past year, following Sharon Price John’s recognition as a Titan 100, her work as president of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., has evolved into a first-time deal of its kind for the company. Its subsidiary, Build-A-Bear Entertainment announced a collaboration with Cinemark Holdings to release the company’s new animated feature film “Glisten and the Merry Mission” and partnered to open its first location in Milan, Italy.

Build-A-Bear is a multi-generational global brand focused on its mission to add a little more heart to life appealing to a wide array of consumer groups who enjoy the personal expression in making their own furry friends to celebrate and commemorate life moments. More than 500 interactive brick-and-mortar retail locations operated through a variety of formats provide guests of all ages a hands-on entertaining experience, which often fosters a lasting and emotional brand connection.

Under John’s leadership, Build-A-Bear is now more than plush and more than workshop. In 2012, the vast majority of sales were for kids under 10 years old. Although children remain a core audience, the firm has purposely and successfully expanded its consumer base to include more tweens, teens and adults. John has been instrumental in partnering with best-in-class entertainment companies with the newly launched Honey Girls live action movie in conjunction with Sony Pictures.

“Sharon’s execution of these and other transformational strategies, combined with keen financial oversight, has led to the successful reemergence of the company even as Build-A-Bear manages through the ongoing impact of a global pandemic,” said her colleagues. “Sharon believes she has set Build-A-Bear up for the future opportunities as well and put important building blocks in place to sustain profitable growth.”

Just this year, Build-A-Bear’s teen-focused axolotl was nominated for Plush Toy of the Year at the New York Toy Fair as well as the recently introduced innovative make-your-own interactive bear, the Bearlieve Bear, which comes to life through touch or the sound of your voice. The firm added a total of 21 corporately-managed and partner-operated locations.

In addition, the company was honored again as a top employer by Forbes and John was named one of the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s top one hundred distinguished alumni and has received alumni recognition from Columbia Women in Business.

According to John, it takes a winning attitude to successfully lead. “It’s essential to have the perseverance and tenacity to keep the organization moving forward, even in adversity, with a winning attitude,” she said. “You need to be willing to make fact-based decisions and lead by example to deliver goals while enhancing stakeholder value.”

For continue to add immense value to the company and the community, John has been named a second-year Titan 100.

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My superpower is a balance between linear (creative) and nonlinear (analytical) thinking. Finding the positive aspect of almost anything.

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