In a field dominated by men, Susan McGalla has broken through barriers to become a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur. Susan began by earning her degree from Mount Union College where she currently sits on the Board of Advisors. Starting in 1986 she climbed her way through various management and marketing opportunities, and would eventually go on to sit on the Board of Trustees for the University of Pittsburg, become Director of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, as well as sit on the board of Magee Women’s Hospital Research Institute and Foundation and a publicly traded commercial real estate service corporation called HFF, Inc.
At the youthful age of only 41, Susan had recently been promoted to chief merchandising officer and president of the American Eagle Outfitters brand. Since that time, she left American Eagle and began effectively consulting privately for companies in the retail and financial sectors. Susan continued this for two years (2009-2011) where she was then hired as the CEO of a company for a short time and also gave birth to a child. Following this, McGalla launched her own company, P3 Executive Consulting. Additionally, the Pittsburg Steelers were proud to call her Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development.
A point that undoubtedly endears her to many women carrying on the struggle for gender equality is that McGalla has never “played the woman card” as she states. She was once paraphrased in the media as expressing that she speaks her ideas with confidence and expects to be judged on those and their merit as opposed to her gender.
Growing up with a football coach as a father has surely come in handy from time to time, as it has allowed her to join in when a mainly male filled room of executives begins talking sports. Susan can seamlessly add to the conversation just as easily as she would if it had been based on fashion. Learning the game from a young age, playing it actively with her two brothers, and being treated as gender equal in her own family certainly must have come in handy when earning the esteemed job she still holds with the Steelers.
Susan McGalla has experienced a varied and fruitful career, is one of few CEOs who was both female and only attained the educational distinction of a bachelor’s degree. This is a woman who clearly works hard to push through the typical barriers of American executive expectations. Now in her early 50’s, it seems Susan McGalla should continue to be one to watch when keeping the pulse of successful American businesswomen.