Linda Mason

Hauser Leader-in-Residence at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership

Linda Mason is acclaimed humanitarian and entrepreneur. She co-founded Bright Horizons in 1986 and still chairs the company’s board. She became board chair of Mercy Corps, a worldwide international development and relief organization, in 2007, where she has helped organize aid efforts in crisis zones including Darfur, Congo and Haiti. An alumna from Cornell University with an M.B.A. from Yale University School of Management, Mason began working in international aid early in her career, overseeing a program serving malnourished children in Cambodian refugee camps in 1979 and serving as a co-country director for Save the Children’s work in Sudan during the 1980s before returning home to co-found Bright Horizons. The company, which was purchased by Bain Capital in 2008, is now the largest worldwide provider of worksite childcare and early education — it has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” by Fortune magazine for 15 years in a row. Mason has authored books on being a working mother ( The Working Mother’s Guide to Life) and the Cambodian relief operation she oversaw ( Rice, Rivalry, and Politics). She has received the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership from President Bill Clinton, been named "National Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young/ USA Today in 1996, and listed as one of 1997’s “Best Entrepreneurs” by Business Week. She has also co-founded Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC), a Boston nonprofit serving homeless children in New England, and served as a founding member of the board of the Massachusetts State Department of Early Education and Care.

Mason is currently a Hauser Leader-in-Residence at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.