Sharon Price John (’86)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Sharon Price John became CEO and president of Build-A-Bear Workshop in 2013 and, using a tried and true approach to behavioral change, carried out a turnaround that earned her a spot among’s top CEOs and Most Powerful Women in Business.

John has more than 20 years of experience and a strong record of success in positioning children’s brands for growth at companies including Hasbro, Mattel, and Stride Rite. She graduated from the College of Communication and Information in 1986 and started her career in advertising, working at top agencies like DDB Needham Worldwide on the Hershey account and Bates Worldwide as account supervisor for Snickers/M&M Mars.

After earning her MBA from Columbia University in 1994, she became an assistant brand manager for Mattel. Employing her strong work ethic, she quickly rose to vice president of international marketing for Mattel’s Disney Business Unit. From 1999 to 2000, she served as vice president of the US toy division with VTech Industries. In 2000, John founded Checkerboard Toys, of which she served as CEO before joining Hasbro in 2002. At Hasbro, her senior management roles included general manager and senior vice president of global preschool; boys, girls, and sports action divisions; and GM/SVP of marketing for US toy marketing.

Between 2010 and 2013, she served as the president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, heading up product creation, sales, marketing, merchandise planning and distribution, and retail merchandising and operations for more than 350 Stride Rite stores.

John has brought her business acumen to many organizations. She serves on the board of directors for Jack in the Box and on numerous philanthropic boards including KaBOOM!, the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only women’s business group.

A member of the College of Communication and Information’s Board of Visitors and a recipient of CCI’s Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award, she recently established the Sharon Price John Endowed Scholarship and served as a guest speaker for CCI’s student Ad Club. She’s been recognized as one of UT’s 100 Distinguished Alumni and continues to voice her support for the Vols.