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June 19, 2020

Q&A – Cheree McAlpine: Chief Legal Officer, Lumileds

Julie Q. Brush

Cheree McAlpine is the is Chief Legal Officer, SVP and Corporate Secretary at Lumileds, a global lighting solutions company and leader of LED lighting. Cheree’s impressive legal career began as a law firm attorney at Bingham McCutchen. She transitioned in house to Sun Microsystems and then served as VP and General Counsel of Dell-Wyse Technology and Avnet before assuming her current role at Lumileds. Cheree also serves as an Advisory Board Member for MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum.

I met Cheree for lunch before Covid-19 took over our world – and she is a force in our profession. I followed up with her as the pandemic reached its peak and she was kind enough to provide her insights below:

You’ve been through other economic downturns, what is unique about this one?

It’s unprecedented. This economic crisis was triggered by a global pandemic. This isn’t like 2007 where banks were levered and we had a structural problem.  This is a health crisis with no immediately available vaccine.  That uncertainty leads to a significant lack of confidence in the economy.  There’s no playbook.  It is entirely unique.

        Cheree McAlpine

From a legal executive’s perspective, how can an employee increase his/her value to the organization during these challenging times?

Lawyers are nimble.  We are crisis managers.  We will have our hands full during this pandemic.  Clients are facing a wide range of transactional, regulatory, employee, and litigation issues.  We will bring value by preparing ourselves to navigate this new landscape and gearing up to confront some unprecedented business and legal issues.

How can professionals (at any age or level) demonstrate leadership right now?

This is crisis.  Leadership will require compassion, honesty, communication and flexibility.

In times of crisis, there are always winners and losers. Who do you think the winners and losers will be this time?

There are absolutely aspects of this pandemic that are unpredictable. Jobs will be lost, industries will change and there may be areas of our lives that will look different in the aftermath, but I’m inclined to think that the winners will be those who show compassion and acknowledge the tremendous human impact of this crisis.

What advice do you give people out there who are anxious about the future?

There have been big challenges before and we have always come together to move beyond the crisis.  We are resilient.  We will get past this.

What are you doing to stay mentally and physically healthy while you are quarantined? 

I continue to be optimistic about the future. I’m making time to exercise and connect with family. We’ve started the family Friday happy hour and it just might last post Shelter in Place! The Quarantini is a new family fave!

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