Where Real Change Begins

A group of AAPI employees at the office

Recently, we posed a question to our employees in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

Specifically, we wanted to know, “What makes you hopeful for the future?”

The answer surprised us.

We expected the big stories: about turning points, “aha” moments, and pivotal junctures when everything changed — the student forever emboldened by a whole community; the business leader whose fledgling career was changed by a famous mentor; the engineering prodigy who saw a face just like hers in a science journal. It’s the dramatic nature of these stories — their emotion, pull, and power — that draws us to them in newspapers, on talk shows, and on social media.

But it was the little moments our employees wanted to talk about.

Because, as it turns out, the epic narratives only tell part of the story.

Inclusion, people told us — real inclusion; the kind that lasts — doesn’t just happen in the big, dramatic spaces worthy of magazine articles. For every epic, once-in-a-lifetime “aha” moment that changes a single trajectory, there are hundreds — arguably thousands — of equally pivotal little ones that happen in the small spaces every day.

Those are the stories people remember — the ones in offices like ours where people are welcomed and included. They’re about people taking time to pronounce names correctly — and to ask when they think they might get them wrong. They’re about leaders committed to elevating all voices — not just a few. They’re the stories about colleagues not just asked to the table, but actively invited. They’re about colleagues asking, “What do you think about this problem?” and then not only listening to the answer, but elevating it as part of the solution.

These stories are about people feeling genuinely a part of something bigger day in and day out; the collective commitments to diversity that become part of the fabric of a company; the things that happen on a daily basis that allow “advancing leaders through opportunity” (the theme of this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month) to really take hold.

Those are the events that, over time, result in leadership rosters that allow everyone to see themselves. “Those everyday moments reinforce why I am here at Bright Horizons,” says Sachin Isaacs, vice president of Care Advantage and back-up care product strategy, “and that I belong.”

To be sure, much work needs to be done in the bigger world. Asked about how AAPI Heritage Month influences her hopes for the future, our COO of Back-Up Care and Emerging Care Services Mandy Berman refers to a troubling rise in Asian hate incidents, and a need to respond. “By promoting openness about who we are and where we have come from, by supporting that dialogue with a positive mission, and by modeling a whole community like Bright Horizons that can rally around that goal,” she says, “I believe that we can make a positive change.”

Part of that big change will come from events out in the larger world; but maybe, just maybe, a big part will come from the sense of true belonging that starts in the small spaces like ours. 

“I can’t tell you how often I see that happen throughout our company,” says Sachin. “Not just in a way that’s a novelty for a single month, but in the way we live all the time.

“When one has a sense of belonging,” he says, “we all win.” 


Bright Horizons
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Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
A group of AAPI employees at the office