Susan McGalla is a businesswoman and the former CEO of teen retail chain American Outfitters. After rising through the ranks and serving at the company for more than a decade, McGalla did a stint at Wet Seal Inc then struck out on her own and formed her own consulting firm. McGalla has has a pretty good run in the retail industry. She also strongly encourages women to follow in her footsteps and no let anyone or anything thwart their potential.
McGalla grew up in East Liverpool, Ohio and graduated from Mount Union College. Out of college, she joined Joseph Horne Company as a manager trainee. She worked there for six years then moved on to American Outfitters. Mcgalla first served in the role of retain merchandiser where she helped create the 77Kidsbrand. McGalla attributes her massive success to the confidence instilled in her while growing up. She also says she is comfortable working with men and women. Although she has experienced some sexism and mysogeny, her experiences overall have been positive.
After leaving American Outfitters, McGalla was installed as CEO at Wet Seal Inc. in 2011. The retailer that targets young female buyers, was founded in 1962 and currently has operatons in 48 states. McGalla says she learned a great deal during her short tenure at Wet Seal. But it was time to make a move and help others with their businesses. She offers advise and creates business plans for some of the top retailers and financial companies.
McGalla stresses the importance of having a woman’s opinion in the boardroom. According to McGalla, there were very few women in the boardroom when she first started at American Outfitters. “Now, you see women CEOs everywhere. Some of the most prominent companies now have female CEOs,” according to McGalla.
McGalla sits on a number of boards including the University of Pittsburgh, the Magee-Women’s Hospital and Allegheny Conference on Community Development. She also serves as strategic planning director for the Pittsburgh Steelers. McGalla is highly-respected among her peers and has received numerous awards. Even Pennsylvania Governor Ed. Rendell remarked on her remarkable abilities.