Susan McGalla Sets the Pace for Women in Leadership

Research has shown that businesses that exercise gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to do better than companies that have employees of the same gender. Despite these statistics, only a small percentage of companies have women sitting in their boardrooms. Women are still struggling to reach high-level positions in organizations. For women such as Susan McGalla, their journey through the ranks has not been easy. That is why they are determined to help other women get there.

When Susan McGalla joined American Eagle Outfitters, all the company executives were men. By the time she was exiting the company, Susan was the president. Later on, she established P3 Executive Consulting. Currently, McGalla is the Vice President of Creative Development and Business Strategy for the Pittsburg Steelers. How Susan rose through the ranks is no surprise, considering that she is innovative and determined. She chose to work in companies that allowed her to give a shot.

Susan McGalla’s early life and career

Susan’s upbringing has played an instrumental role in the kind of woman she is today. Her father was a football coach, and her two siblings were male. In this environment, she was not excused for anything simply because of her gender. Therefore, she learned how to play fair in a male’s world. Her parents always advised her to work hard towards her goals and speak her mind regardless of the audience.

It is that fear-free and determined spirit that she carried on during her career. Susan joined American eagle as a divisional merchandise buyer for ladies’ wear. At the time, the company’s executive was dominated by men. So, she worked through the ranks in various managerial roles until she became the company’s chief mechanizing officer and president. In this role, McGalla oversaw the launch of 77 kids’ brands. She worked in the company from 1994 to 2009. Since then, Susan has served diligently as a manager in various organizations.

Susan McGalla, a Successful Businesswoman

Most leadership roles in companies are held by the male gender, and this has been a fact and almost a way of life. However, statistics have striven to prove this wrong. Results show that institutions with gender miscellany have a higher 15% performance than those that do not. And those that embrace ethnic multiplicity are likely to show a 35% higher performance than companies that do not. The reasoning here is simple. Imagine a group of different mental capacities and backgrounds. It is true to say that there will be a higher input of different ideas and contributions on how to do things differently, rather than relying on the reasoning of a single gender.

Susan McGalla has not only struggled to get her way up the ladder of top roles in organizations, but has also led the way for woman leaders. When Susan joined the American Eagle Outfitters, all executives were men. But this only motivated her, and she worked her way up to President of the company. She later also became the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers; which was men-dominated.

It is a fact, however, that what works for Susan cannot be the same for every woman out there. People are different, but despite this, there are groups that work to ensure that they provide adequate support to women leaders. It is necessary for women thus, to encourage and motivate each other in organizations. These leadership roles were not meant for only men. Among the solutions that may work in ensuring an end to this male domination, is the creation of sponsorship opportunities.

Susan McGalla is an entrepreneur and consultant. Her past top company positions were President in of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., and CEO of Wet Seal Inc.. She is also the founder of P3 Executive Consulting, LLC. She is on the board of HFF Inc., and also the Magee-Womens Hospital Research Institute and Foundation. Susan McGalla has worked as a trustee of the University of Pittsburgh and also as a director of Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

She was born and raised to a family of two brothers and a father who was a football coach. Her father encouraged Susan to work hard and be confident and not let the fact that she is a girl blur her from passing on her ideas or opinions, regardless of her audience. This confidence drove her to success, and she is now a professional consultant on branding, marketing among others.

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