Brandeis International Business School

Making child care work for everyone

Throughout her career, Zenobia Moochhala, MA’98, has helped families solve their biggest challenges

Zenobia Moochhala, MA’98, the new CEO of Sittercity and a co-founder of, is optimistic about the renewed focus on childcare in the wake of the pandemic.

Zenobia Moochhala, MA’98, the new CEO of Sittercity and a co-founder of, is optimistic about the renewed focus on childcare in the wake of the pandemic.

The child care crisis exacts a heavy toll on the U.S. economy.

Every year American workers and employers lose $57 billion in earnings, productivity and revenue due to insufficient child care services, according to one report cited by the Biden administration. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the burden felt both by working families and the caregivers they rely on.

Zenobia Moochhala, MA’98 is no stranger to this struggle. Last year, as the pandemic upended her work-life balance, the co-founder of decided to hit pause on her career so she could spend more time with her young children. Then in April 2021, Moochhala was named CEO of Sittercity, a pioneering company in the online child care industry.

Now with the pandemic on the wane in the U.S. and industry-transforming policy proposals up for debate in Washington, D.C., Moochhala can’t help but feel optimistic.

“There are two sides to this coin. On one side it’s access for families and on the other it’s a living wage for caregivers,” said Moochhala. “There’s an incredible amount of tension. The government potentially stepping in and addressing at least one side, affordability for parents, will help on the other side too.”

Like, which Moochhala co-founded in 2007, Sittercity is an online marketplace connecting families and caregivers. The Chicago-based company was acquired last year by national child care provider Bright Horizons, which is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts.

As Sittercity’s new CEO, Moochhala has been tasked with overseeing the merger with Bright Horizons and developing the company’s strategy and vision over the next three to five years.

“It felt like a good fit,” she said. “There’s a renewed mission now that the pandemic has highlighted and accelerated the issues with child care. There is so much room for innovation.” 

Moochhala has plenty of prior experience with business mergers, having graduated from Brandeis International Business School’s Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA) program in the midst of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

Moochhala’s first opportunity after Brandeis arose when a fellow International Business School alumnus recruited her to help launch a financial services company. After their startup was purchased by another firm in 2002, Moochhala began working for student loan servicing company UPromise. Four years later, UPromise was acquired by Sallie Mae. But her time at the company proved consequential.

“One reason the founders of came together is we wanted to continue to solve the problems facing families,” said Moochhala, who started the company with a group of UPromise colleagues. “College cost is one, and so is how you resolve all of your care needs — whether for children, for your house, for parents, for pets. There are a lot of needs that go into running a family. Back in 2006 there was little out there that met those needs. That was the genesis.”

The business model of connecting customers with babysitters, tutors, pet sitters and elderly care providers proved successful. The company acquired several smaller companies over its first decade and launched a successful initial public offering in 2014.

“It was a journey that allowed me to understand so many pieces that are involved with growing a business and managing acquisitions,” said Moochhala. “And it was an incredible opportunity to help solve a problem that families face every day.”

Moochhala credited her Brandeis experience for setting her on a successful path.

“It’s incredible how many lessons I still use from my classes at Brandeis,” she said. “I know my way around a financial model and I can think strategically. It’s all grounding from my time at the International Business School.”

In 2017 Moochhala stepped down from to take a senior position at Embark Veterinary, a dog DNA testing firm. But as is the case with so many families, the pandemic presented her with the opportunity to reassess her future.

“Bright Horizons is a 40-year-old organization and has built up its reputation by providing best-in-class service delivery,” said Moochhala, whose own children were enrolled in Bright Horizons daycare centers before she became CEO. “That’s something I want to figure out how to bring into the online market space with Sittercity.”

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