Spring 2024

New Degree, New Focus Leads to Social Impact

Yvonne Willis Lynch poses for a portrait

Yvonne Willis Lynch MBA’23 was looking for a change.

After 13 years working at Bright Horizons, a provider of child care and education services, she was thinking of making a pivot in her career. “It was honestly a midlife thing,” she says. “I was approaching 50. I was thinking a lot about how I would approach the latter half of my career.” 

Her time at Bright Horizons had been spent on client relations and in operations, but that work no longer felt meaningful. “I was focused on growth. I was focused on revenue generation,” she says. “I just didn’t find that rewarding anymore. I wanted to focus on something that would make a difference in a different way. I wanted to make a positive impact on the world.” 

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That need to make a difference led her to Babson. “I was looking for a pivot, and it enabled that pivot,” she says. 

At Babson, Lynch relished how conversations about social and environmental impact were a constant, even in classes focused on nitty-gritty business issues. A course on financial reporting, for instance, leaned into the importance of environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) concerns. 

Professors emphasized that all organizations, no matter their industry, need to think about how they treat employees and affect their communities and the environment. “There was always thinking about impact and thinking of impact on the greater world,” Lynch says. “It captured my imagination. It got me excited about taking on this kind of work.” 

“I wanted to focus on something that would make a difference in a different way. I wanted to make a positive impact on the world.”

Yvonne Willis Lynch MBA’23

At first, Lynch figured she would earn her MBA and find a new job, perhaps at a nonprofit or corporate foundation. But then an unexpected opportunity opened at Bright Horizons, so instead of leaving, Lynch was able to make a social impact right at her current place of employment. 

That turn of events underlines one of the key messages that Babson imparts, that given the right opportunity, a person can make a social difference wherever they work. “You don’t have to work for a nonprofit to make a real difference in the world,” Lynch says. “You can do it at any company if they have the right approach.” 

Today, Lynch is the vice president of employee and community engagement and the president of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. Her responsibilities include overseeing recognition and belonging programs for employees and supporting their volunteerism in the community.  

Lynch also has provided input into evaluating Bright Horizons’ ESG strategy. While at Babson, she did an independent study looking at that very kind of ESG work. “I was able to apply what I was learning in real time to Bright Horizons,” she says. 

In June, Lynch will mark 17 years at the company, a long, continuing tenure enabled by the help of the College. “There was no better place,” she says, “to prepare myself for this work at Bright Horizons.”

Posted in Entrepreneurial Leadership

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