Kristy Cunningham

Kristy CunninghamKristy Cunningham has built a distinguished career as a leading executive in marketing and strategy. Kristy is the Chief Marketing Officer and SVP Strategy Growth at Bright Horizons, a U.S.based child-care provider. In her current role, Kristy is customer and relationship focused, supporting all B2B, B2E and B2C sales enablement, lead generation, conversion and engagement efforts. In addition, she is responsible for driving strategic growth including acquisitions and enterprise solutions and innovation.

Kristy reflects on her time at NHS as busy, social and heavily focused on academics. She played field hockey all four years, captaining the Varsity team, and was also very involved in dance outside of school, where she not only performed but taught. Kristy enjoyed French class and traveled with the school to Quebec and participated in a three-week exchange student program to Paris. One of Kristy’s most important life experiences happened at Needham High and that was meeting her husband – who was also her prom date! Today some of their closest friends are from NHS.

A member of the National Honor Society, Kristy graduated in the top five of her NHS class. After graduating from high school, she earned her BS in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. “I have a natural curiosity which was cultivated at NHS and while I was very enamored with becoming the Ambassador to France, it did open up the many possibilities on what I could be and achieve.”

Prior to joining Bright Horizons, Kristy was the SVP of Strategy and Insights at McDonald’s Corporation; Chief Marketing Officer of Hess Corporation; as well as serving 13 years as a Partner in the retail and consumer practice at Bain & Company.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Kristy is an avid supporter of helping children and families reach their potential. She has served on the Board for Citizen Schools in MA, NJ and IL; and is a longtime volunteer with the Girl Scouts of America and former Troop Leader. She is also passionate about driving women’s leadership and has done so at Bain where she led the Women@ Bain efforts and Community Works efforts; was the Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Network at McDonald’s; and at Bright Horizons, she sponsors the Working Parent’s Group.

The message that Kristy would like to impart to students today is “I’ve never been one who knew exactly what I wanted to do in my career and yet I have always had the good fortune to learn and grow in every role. I’ve had some amazing experiences and been able to impact several high-profile organizations in meaningful ways. So, it’s okay if you don’t have your whole career mapped out. The journey is much more important than the destination.”

Kristy lives in Wellesley with her husband Tom and children, Katie (14) and Michelle (12).