Susan McGalla Lights the Way for Women

Susan McGalla has a strong sense of competition courtesy of her father and her brothers. With her football coach father leading the way, she learned to thrive in a competitive environment that her family engendered. She wasn’t allowed to cut any corners just because she was a girl and it helped prepare her to thrive in the male dominated world of business.

A successful stint at American Eagle Outfitters was a noteworthy chapter in the life of Susan McGalla. The company had very few women in high leadership at the time and she was able to successfully work her way into top executive posts. She ultimately served as their President and helped usher in a new era for women at the company. She also founded a company called P3 Executive Consulting. She currently works for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development.

The advancement of women in business is a deep concern for McGalla as she would like to see more qualified women climb the corporate ranks. Women Leadership Initiatives are important as they provide a framework for women to network and interact together. However, they have realized limited success in helping women into top corporate posts. It seems then, that something is missing from the recipe.

A possible way forward for more qualified women to advance into the higher ranks would be executive sponsorship. As male executives recognize talented women they could help advance their careers with their sponsorship and mentoring. Female executives could serve the same role, although there are fewer of them.

This might consist of giving qualified women the opportunity to lead important projects. Sponsors could recommend women for challenging assignments that could deepen their business skills and advance their careers. Diversity in business is something companies strive for and here is a potential path forward.

Susan McGalla gives great credit to her family for fostering a spirit of competition and looking past gender. She attended Mount Union College and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing. She has a wide range of business experience from successfully leading a major retail company to running her own consulting business.


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