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.