American Eagle Outfitters has one mighty president. Having a successful businesswoman serve at that position is a rare but an advantage for them. Susan McGalla also serves as the company’s chief merchandising official, whose sole purpose is to conduct the design, marketing and merchandising of the company’s brand. She does this to teens everywhere. She did not start at the company with that position. However, she started with low positions. Her promotion happened in May, three years ago. The promotion was due to her hard work and devotion to her work. At the time of her joining, that is in 1994, the top management or executive positions in the company were male dominated. There were no women even on the company’s board. Her dedication and efforts got her to the positions she is at. Her promotion contributed to culture change in the organization. The company now included women in their construction of corporate cultures for a decade since the year 2000. Five months after her ascension, to raise awareness about the company’s intention of moving its head office to the south side, she wore jeans in support.
Susan has her perspective on being a woman in business. She provides her expertise to clients who need it in the areas of branding, talent management, and marketing among other services. She does this through an incorporation she founded known as P3 Executive Consulting. She has even given talks on her views as a businesswoman and how she made it in that field. She has spoken to various audiences including the Pittsburg foundation for women and girls.
The 53 years old successful businesswoman says that she has had consultations with many women and most of them are looking for practical ideas and advice that have to work. They no longer need buzzwords as they want to be targeted not as women, but as professionals.
McGalla was brought up in East Liverpool alongside two brothers. Her father coached football and taught her that she was a person, not a woman or a man. For them, gender neither contributed to nor prevented anything important in life. Her family also taught her confidence whether when presenting herself or when conveying her ideas. This helped her excel in her career working with both gender and in confidence.
Before her work at American Eagle Outfitters, she started her career at the departmental stores of Joseph Horne Incorporation. This career began as soon as she graduated from the College of Mount Union with a Bachelor of Arts.
From retail to the National Football League there are few female business leaders who have managed to break into established companies; in fact, statistics show only a small number of female business experts have broken into category C executive positions with Fortune 500 companies. One woman who has broken the glass ceiling and arrived in the upper echelons of the business world is Susan McGalla, an Ohio native who has made her name in both the retail and professional sports industries.
After beginning her career with the American Eagle brand, Susan McGalla believes her own career has benefited from her refusal to see gender in terms of her own business career or those of her colleagues. During her time with American Eagle Susan McGalla needed to overcome the male dominated boardroom that showed both her own skills and the diverse nature of the company that she made her way to the position of President that saw her become a trailblazer among female executives.
Despite being seen as a major force in the business world for her fellow female executives, Susan McGalla believes focusing solely on gender will not bring success to her fellow female business leaders. The Vice President of Creative Development and Business Strategy for the Pittsburgh Steelers explains the work completed by women’s business initiatives has been important, but may have hit a plateau as the number of female business leaders remains relatively low compared to their male counterparts.
Susan McGalla credits much of her success on her strong family support system that has pushed her forward throughout her life from her birth in East Liverpool, Ohio. Brought up by her father with two brothers, McGalla states her gender was never used as a reason or excuse for her not to take part in activities by her family who instilled in her a gender blind attitude to life.
Over the course of her life a major focus has been placed on education and philanthropy for Susan McGalla, which includes the board level position held by the Mount Union College graduate with Magee-Women’s Research Institute in Pittsburgh.