Chris MacLaughlin

Chris MacLaughlin

Alpha Psi (UCLA)

 

Chris MacLaughlin says that a real, strong woman is “multi-faceted, determined and caring.” As the chief marketing officer for IBM’s global partner ecosystem, she lives out those characteristics and proves that real, strong women belong in the tech industry.

Growing up in a small town, Chris knew she wanted to travel and began this journey by studying communications at UCLA. She joined Alpha Chi Omega at the Alpha Psi chapter, where she served as chapter president. She says her time as chapter president gave her the confidence to succeed in information technology, a largely male-dominated industry.

“It (serving as chapter president) was a turning point in my life,” she says. “It was my first real opportunity to learn leadership skills and to practice those skills in a supportive environment. I also learned how to prioritize, delegate and resolve conflicts – all skills I use on a daily basis now.”

Chris continues to give back to the organization that gave her so much, most recently serving as a facilitator at the 2020 Alpha Chi Omega Leadership Academy. Beyond Alpha Chi Omega, Chris fills many philanthropic roles inspiring and serving her community, including as a director for the UCLA Alumni Association.

Her list of accomplishments is extensive, not least of which is surviving breast cancer and never missing a day of work during treatment. But when asked what she views as her greatest accomplishment, she points to her family.

“While I take satisfaction in my professional accomplishments, by far my greatest accomplishment has been fulfilling my commitment to be an involved family member and dedicated aunt to my two nieces and two nephews,” she says. “In the 34 years since I left home, I have not missed a Thanksgiving, a Christmas or a graduation. This is something I am proud of – even if it is hard to do at times and means leaving a family function in Los Angeles to take two overnight flights to India to present at a business conference.”
Chris remembers the Dream Cake Ceremony she experienced at the Alpha Psi chapter, which continues to inspire her today.

“What I know now is how true those words are,” she says. “My life has been full of highs and lows. And along the way my sorority sisters who I met as a freshman at UCLA – Julie, Cynthia and Suzy – have been there for me. And I have been there for them – to cheer, to laugh, to cry, to support. We have celebrated promotions, marriages and babies. We have also helped each other through lost jobs, broken loves, divorce, cancer and death. Real. Strong. Women. is the platform to help the next generation of women triumph and overcome life’s challenges.”
 

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