Businesses with a gender-diverse staff tend to outperform other companies, statistics show. Diversity brings multiple perspectives and openness to new ideas to a company. However, few S&P 500 companies have women in top positions. Susan McGalla is the exception. She has held high level positions in several major companies. She’s now a role model for women about what it’s possible to achieve through hard work, preparation and taking advantage of opportunities. But while her success is encouraging, the corporate glass ceiling still exists.
Opportunities for women to hold top positions are rare and countless women leadership initiatives have not proven to be the solution. While they provide support, connections, a platform to plan and strategize and the opportunity to show how capable women are, few are offered leadership positions in major companies. Only one quarter of senior positions in companies around the world are held by women. However, executive mentorship and sponsorships can help. These sponsors can be advocates, help women get major roles and projects and assist them in moving into the executive suites. Their companies will enjoy the many benefits female executive offer.
Born in East Liverpool, Ohio, Susan McGalla grew with two brothers and a father who was a football coach. They didn’t give her any breaks because of her sex. She had to work to get the things she wanted. That lesson had a profound influence her life and career. It gave her the strength and determination to fight her way to the top. But she also had the talent and skills to succeed once she got there.
A graduate of Mount Union College with a degree in marketing and business, Susan McGalla has been the president of American Eagle Outfitters, CEO of Wet Seal, Inc, founded P3 Executive Consulting and is currently the Pittsburg Steelers Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development. She’s on the board of the commercial real estate services company HFF Inc., Mount Union College and the Magee-Womens Hospital Research Institute and Foundation. McGalla also served as the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s director and was a University of Pittsburgh trustee.
Find out more about Susan McGalla: