Economic Development

The Most Undervalued Driver of the Economy: Childcare with Jessica Sager and Bernadette Ngoh

June 1, 2023  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

How many times have you heard the cliche “the children are our future”? If you consider it seriously, it’s actually a profound statement. If we were to truly center children – and the people that raise them – how would our systems, structures and cultures change?  

At first blush, childcare seems to only be relevant if you need it for your family, but it’s actually foundational to a functioning society. Care for our youngest children enables parents to work and provides children the foundation for achievement as they grow. It’s an investment in creating stronger communities. When you look around the world, the idea that children are a collective responsibility shows up in both policy and community norms. Yet, in the United States, this work continues to fall on individuals. 

What are the cultural agreements we’ve accepted that hide this collective responsibility? And after witnessing the clashing of homelife and work life during every Zoom call in the pandemic, why haven’t our actions kept pace with our awareness?

Jessica Sager, Pahara Fellow and CEO of All Our Kin – an organization that supporting early childhood educators – has seen that by uplifting caregivers, parents and children can thrive. Bernadette Ngho is a university professor turned early childhood educator. After a year at home with her newborn sons, she began considering going back to work. However, she struggled to find the type of care she was seeking for her boys. In response, she created the space herself and now owns and operates a family child care program called Trusted Care in West Haven, CT.  

On this episode of LIMINAL, we are in conversation with Jessica and Bernadette on questions of what caregiving means to our culture and why we aren’t paying enough attention.

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About Our Guests

Jessica Sager is a Pahara Fellow and co-founder and CEO of All Our Kin, an organization that supports the people providing the care: early childhood educators.

Bernadette Ngho is a university professor turned early childhood development specialist now the Owner and Director of Trusted Care Child Care in West Haven, CT.


Explore the space between our greatest challenges and a better future on LIMINAL: Leadership in the Process of Becoming. Dar Vanderbeck, Vice President of the Aspen Global Leadership Network is your host and guide to inquiry with thinkers and doers daring to lead through the big, systemic transitions we need for true transformation. This season, we’ll talk anti-racism, climate change, the future of work, and more. Join us as we explore leadership in the process of becoming.

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To learn more about the network and the work of our Fellows, visit And explore more episodes of the LIMINAL here.