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PMBA is pleased to announce the keynote speakers for our 2017 Annual Conference.

Our opening keynote speaker will be John Lawson, CEO of Convergence Services and Executive Director of AWARN Alliance. John has spent much of his career at the intersection of business, technology, and policy. He will be sharing insights on the future of technology within public media and what business executives must do to prepare for this future.

We are thrilled to announce the addition of a third keynote speaker to this year's conference lineup! Joining us for a Wednesday keynote luncheon will be Maxine Clark, founder and former CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop. Maxine is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide.

On Friday morning, we'll hear from Loren Mayor, Chief Operating Officer, National Public Radio (NPR). In her role, she oversees daily operations and has direct responsbility for Corporate Strategy, Diversity, Engineering/IT, Human Resources, Member Partnership, and Policy and Representation. With more than 15 years of experience in public media, Loren has also made significant impact to the system during her time at PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

We are tremendously excited to hear from John, Maxine, and Loren at this year's Annual Conference.

John Lawson   |   Maxine Clark   |   Loren Mayor


John Lawson

Executive Director, AWARN Alliance
CEO, Convergence Services, Inc.

New Revenue, New Relevance in an All-IP World

The world’s first all-IP terrestrial broadcasting system, Next Generation Television opens a wide range of new service and revenue opportunities for both public television and radio. Next Gen, based on the new ATSC 3.0 technical standard, was explicitly designed to marry Internet-delivered content with deep indoor reception of rich-media broadcast signals. The connected car and the Internet of Things also open major new markets available to public broadcasters under FCC rules.

A thought leader in both commercial and public media, John Lawson will provide specific examples of new service and business models made possible by Next Gen and the synergies between them. These include geo-targeting, personalization, interactivity, hybrid networks, and dozens of new audio streams for in-home, handheld, and connected car devices. John also will provide an early look at AWARN, the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system, made possible by ATSC 3.0.

About John Lawson

John Lawson serves as Executive Director of the AWARN Alliance, a coalition of broadcasting, technology, and public safety organizations that is developing an advanced alerting system for the nation. He’s also president of Convergence Services, Inc, a consulting firm focused on Next Generation Television (ATSC 3.0) and public media strategic planning.

John has served as CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations, EVP of ION Media Networks, and Executive Director of the Mobile500 Alliance. At APTS, he negotiated the landmark deal that guaranteed cable carriage of four multicast channels from every public TV station and led efforts that produced hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding for infrastructure and other priorities.

John was one of four signatories to the Joint Petition to the FCC that led to the current Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for approval of the voluntary transmission of ATSC 3.0. His commentaries and interviews appear frequently in business and trade publications. He holds BA and MA degrees in International Studies from the University of South Carolina.


Maxine Clark

CEO, The Clark-Fox Family Foundation
Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop

The Bear Necessities of Business: Leading Through Change and Transformation

In 1997, Maxine Clark founded Build-A-Bear-Workshop, a teddy-bear themed retailed-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading and most creative entrepreneurs, she reveals how she built Build-A-Bear Workshop from the ground up offering the tools needed to start, run, and market a company in today’s competitive environment. Maxine will share her lessons learned and insights as she grew Build-A-Bear into one of the world’s most successful and recognized brand. Throughout her 30-year career she was one of the true innovators in the retail industry she’ll share how to apply entrepreneurial skills to address the changing environment in which public media operates.

About Maxine Clark

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. Cumulative sales have exceeded $5 billion and over 150 million stuffed animals have been sold world-wide.

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 to invest in and mentor women and minority entrepreneurs. Maxine credits her teachers as her foundation for success—classroom teachers and mentors alike. To honor them she gives back. Her next “act” is to make public education much more consumer friendly by creating more access for families and students to systems and supports to enrich each child’s learning experience. Just launched is her first product, Blueprint4SummerSTL, a free and easy-to-use mobile app designed to help ALL families navigate the best summer activities for their children. On the entrepreneurship side, investments include Goldie Blox, myEDmatch and St. Frank. 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 and a member of the Board of Advisors of Lewis & Clark Ventures, a St. Louis based private equity firm.

In 2008, Maxine Clark was named one of The 25 Most Influential People in Retailing by Chain Store Age; in 2006, she was inducted into the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. Maxine was named one of the Wonder Women of Toys by Playthings magazine and Women in Toys, and was also one of the National Finalists in Retail for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004. In 2005, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies made Build-A-Bear Workshop Portfolio Company of the Year; it was named one of the International Council of Shopping Centers “Hottest Retailers of 2004” and the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001 by The National Retail Federation. In 2015 Build-A-Bear Workshop was named to the FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For® list for the eighth year in a row

She also serves on the board of directors for nineNetwork of Public Media (St. Louis) as well as the Board of Directors for PBS and their Finance, Audit, and Corporate Support Advisory committees and the Strategic Planning Advisory Group. Maxine is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University and A Doctor of Humane Letters in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”.


Loren Mayor

Chief Operating Officer
National Public Radio (NPR)

More is More: Strategy, Partnership, and Innovation in Public Media

The fact that public media is under constant change is not news to anyone. The important question is, what do public media organizations need to do to address these changes? Our system is constantly confronting new technology, shifts in audience behaviors, and  the never-ending need for vital resources, and we must continually reinvent ourselves to in order to stay relevant. Join NPR COO Loren Mayor to hear how NPR and Member Stations are sparking new approaches to collaboration and fueling transformative thinking in public radio. Loren will discuss how NPR has, and is, formulating their plans for the future. She’ll discuss the cornerstones of their strategy while sharing insights and tips that you can bring back to your station’s strategic development process. Hear how NPR and NPR Member Stations are working to build stronger local and national journalism, increase and engage audiences across platforms, and succeed at growing public radio’s revenue pie.

About Loren Mayor

Loren Mayor is Chief Operating Officer for NPR. In this role, she oversees daily operations and has direct responsibility for the following areas: Corporate Strategy, Diversity, Engineering/IT, Human Resources, Member Partnership, and Policy and Representation.

Mayor most recently served as NPR's Senior Vice President of Strategy at NPR. In that role, Mayor worked across the organization and with NPR's Board of Directors to develop NPR's strategic plan, which focuses on four strategic priorities: create exceptional content; expand, diversify, and engage our audiences; collaborate; and grow net revenues.

Mayor joined NPR in 2012. Previously she held the role of Vice President of Strategy and Ventures at PBS, where she had served since 2008. There she led long-term and annual strategic planning, media strategy, and corporate partnerships.

Prior to joining PBS, Mayor was employed by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting for five years, rising to the position of Vice President of Media Strategies and Technologies. She consulted for three years for McKinsey & Company, working primarily with clients in the non-profit and media sectors.

She has a PhD from Northwestern University, where she also served as a visiting assistant professor.