All her life, Susan McGalla has worked hard to succeed even in male-dominated organizations. She grew up with two older brothers and a father who coached football. None of them gave her a break even though she was a girl. She has continued to work hard and earn everything she gets. A recent article in The Philly Purge exemplifies her passion and determination.
McGalla went to work for American Eagle Outfitters in 1994. When she started there, none of the company executives or board members were women. Despite that, fourteen years later she became President and Chief Merchandising Officer. She now serves as Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. She is once again proving that women can help the team make more money.
The statistics justify her faith in herself and other women. On average, companies with gender diversity outperform companies without it by 15%. Companies with racial and ethnic diversity outperform their competition by 35%. However, despite all the progress and accomplishments, only a small percentage of women hold C-level positions in S&P 500 companies.
All around the world, women continue to crash their skulls against the classic glass ceiling. Nobody can see it, but it keeps them from rising any further within that organization no matter what.
McGalla maintains that networks and initiatives are not the solution. Women have been networking and creating initiatives for decades. If that’s all women needed, there would be no more problem. However, they don’t address the underlying problem.
Therefore, McGalla believes in creating more sponsorship opportunities for women. Women seeking to rise to the top find a female executive to sponsor her.
After leaving American Eagle Outfitters, McGalla founded P3 Executive Consulting. She advised the financial and Wall Street investment fund managers. She also consulted with executives in the specialty retail industry.
At American Eagle Outfitters, McGalla took the company from $340 million in revenue to $3 billion. She expanded to four brands, 1,000 stores, an e-commerce website and 28,000 employees. She went to Mount Union College and received her BA there before beginning her career at the Joseph Horne Company.