Top Places to Work

Bright Horizons Family Solutions tops the list of largest companies

The operator of child-care centers gives employees flexibility and a culture with a family feel.

Infant teacher Victoria Jones holds baby Katherine at the Bright Horizons Day-Care center in Watertown.
Infant teacher Victoria Jones holds baby Katherine at the Bright Horizons Day-Care center in Watertown.(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff)

BRIGHT HORIZONS’ APPROACH to running child-care centers for working families has evolved since its founding in 1986, but supporting its employees personally as well as professionally has remained a cornerstone of its philosophy even though it now runs more than 900 centers worldwide. The result, employees say, is a workplace that fosters a sense of genuine closeness and caring.

Thoughts from the top: “If we’re going to be a partner to working people in other companies, we want to be the best we can ourselves,” says CEO David Lissy.

A magic moment: Gregg Millien is used to being forgotten; the lead toddler teacher knows most of his charges just move on. Recently, though, a boy Millien hadn’t seen in two years spotted him across a room. “He runs and gives me the best hug,” Millien says. “I was like, man, this is awesome.”


Office space: Hundreds of employees work at the company’s Watertown headquarters. But the majority of Bright Horizons’ staff works at its child-care centers, where walls are decorated with student artwork, toys and play equipment line tables and shelves, and the babble of children is a constant, creating a workplace far removed from conventional cubicles.

Balancing act: For Bright Horizons, the flexibility to attend to family matters is essential to keeping employees happy. Shortly after Jessica Fein, vice president of marketing and creative services, joined the company, her daughter ended up hospitalized for three months. Fein’s new employer came through in the crisis. “Not only did I have permission to put my family first, I had unwavering support,” Fein says.

In a word: Family

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