Susan McGalla and Her Rise to Prominence

INTRODUCTION

The glass ceiling proves to be a less-than-formidable adversary for Pittsburgh’s Susan McGalla; although the number of men holding high-level business positions is disproportionately greater when compared to women, McGalla has found success in what many have called a “man’s world.” Susan McGalla currently serves as the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers, LLC, which is a male-dominated organization.

FINDING SUCCESS AS A WOMAN

According to McGalla’s Linkedin profile, in 1986 she received her bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Mount Union College, a four-year private, coeducational, liberal arts college in Alliance, OH. McGalla grew up in a household with two brothers and a football coach dad; she recognized early in life that there would be no concessions made for her because she was a girl, she had to work for what she wanted. This philosophy has guided her throughout her career; upon graduating from college, McGalla served as President and Chief Merchandising Officer for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. In that role, Susan helped propel American Eagle’s profitability; during her tenure, the company’s revenue increased from $340 million to over $3 billion. Upon leaving American Eagle, she satisfied her entrepreneurial spirit by becoming an independent Retail Industry Consultant, which she did for two years. She then went on to become the CEO for The Wet Seal, Inc., an American teen clothing retailer. Lastly, and before her role with the Pittsburgh Steelers, she established P3 Executive Consulting, LLC, which provided advisory services to the Financial and Wall Steet communities.

HOW EXECUTIVE SPONSORSHIP HELP WOMEN

While Susan McGalla’s rise to success is encouraging, there is still disparate differences in the number of C-level positions held by women versus men as well as differences in wages. Fortunately, women’s networks and initiatives have worked towards leveling the playing field, but there is still more that can be done. One of the best ways to combat gender discrimination is to create sponsorship opportunities. Executive Sponsors are C-level administrators who have a vested interest in seeing a project to completion.

A sponsor can help women climb the corporate ladder by creating opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, as well as recommend lead projects and important assignments.