Susan McGalla has never wanted anything to be given to her unless it was something she earned and was qualified to receive. She has made her mark in business by successfully competing and refusing to see her gender as a liability. Undeterred by the lack of high ranking female executives, she instead blazed her own trail into positions of great responsibility and impact.
She grew up in a rough and tumble family, which was very active. Her father was a football coach and imbued with a competitive spirit which he passed along to his daughter. McGalla has certainly put it to good use with an impressive list of accomplishments. But, back to her formative years. She wasn’t shown any mercy just because she was a girl and she learned to compete often going head to head with her two brothers. She credits her upbringing as very important to her later life in business.
She had a significant tenure with her employment at American Eagle Outfitters. At the time, a female executive was a rare thing there. McGalla helped open those doors by excelling with a series of top executive posts. Eventually, she became their President and oversaw the successful launch of several new product lines.
Susan McGalla is a good example of a woman who has realized substantial success in her career. By and large, though, opportunities are still sometimes lacking for women in executive leadership capacities. This, despite many women’s leadership initiative programs that allow women to network and support each other.
Executive sponsorship for women may be the missing piece of the puzzle and a good way forward. Male executives could take note of women with significant ability and mentor them for higher positions. They could also recommend them for projects which are challenging and help them build managerial skills. Conversely, a woman could also seek out an executive who’s willing to become a sponsor and mentor.
Susan McGalla also started her own consulting business known as P3 Executive Consulting. She is currently working for the Pittsburgh Steelers with the title of Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development.