Susan McGalla was recently featured in an in-depth article published by Phillypurge.com. The article addresses some of the many challenges faced by women looking to climb their way up the corporate ladder in an economy that remains dominated by men for the most part. Despite the widespread statistics that companies that promote women to leadership positions are more successful in the long run than businesses with fewer women in management roles, many companies still lag behind the curve in granting more women access to advancement opportunities. While more companies are starting to recognize the need for more gender inclusion in the higher levels of management, there are still far fewer opportunities for women than men in the upper rungs of corporate success. This is true for all types and sizes of businesses today.
McGalla is working to change this reality one initiative at a time. Although she recognizes that massive change does not simply happen overnight, McGalla remains eager to propel willing women to new heights in the business world. One of the ways that she is advancing this goal is by speaking and writing frequently about the advantages of affording women more opportunities for upward mobility in the workplace. McGalla’s perspective on workplace dynamics and strategies for corporate growth is highly sought after across many different industries.
Her personal story of grit and determination in becoming an executive at some of the top companies in the world serves as an inspiration to women in all walks of life. What is especially relatable about McGalla’s professional path is that she was not handed any exceptional breaks along the way. Everything that McGalla has accomplished in her career was a result of hard work and perseverance. She was never one to take opportunities for granted or pass up on the chance to connect with someone who could further her career.
When asked about how she developed such a strong sense of self-esteem and work ethic, McGalla responds that her childhood and home life were major contributors to her development. She grew up as the only girl in a house of football fans. She was very accustomed to interacting with men and holding her own as a woman from a very early age. Family time has always been a core component of McGalla’s life, and she has maintained strong ties to her hometown in East Liverpool, Ohio.
Even though McGalla earned all of her success, she is quick to credit her personal and professional mentors with paving the way for her to succeed. She speaks frequently about the value of finding an accomplished corporate sponsor to help move your career in the right direction. McGalla is constantly challenging women from all different industries to seek out a professional mentor who is willing to speak out on their behalf and help walk them through the obstacles that will undoubtedly pop up along the way to the top. According to McGalla, one of the most important lessons for professional women to learn early on in their careers is that it is crucial to get out of their comfort zones to network with people who can have a positive influence on their long-term professional development. This can be a difficult task at first because it requires a lot of self-confidence and personal awareness, which are things that young women need to constantly work at to obtain.
According to McGalla, the numbers speak for themselves in demonstrating the problem that persists today with not enough women being promoted to leadership positions in major companies. If the solution were as simple as more women asking to have a mentor, McGalla is convinced that the problem would have already solved itself by now. Instead of advocating for general mentorship and support from other women, McGalla sees corporate mentorship or sponsorship requiring a more formal role in the workplace. She thinks that corporate sponsors should be actively engaged in promoting the women they are mentoring to new and unchartered leadership roles. This type of active promotion of women will help to break the cycle of mostly men advocating for other men to fulfill existing leadership roles in companies.
McGalla currently serves as the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before earning that prestigious position, McGalla was the president of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and the CEO of Wet Seal Inc. Her experience as one of the top executives in the retail industry gave her incredibly thick skin to compete in the world of business. She learned very quickly that there is little room for error when competing in those leagues. Her experience as a working wife and mother provides valuable insight into the challenges that most women still deal with on a daily basis in the corporate world. This makes McGalla accessible to other women who are looking for examples of how to successfully balance the competing demands of family life and work. It should come as no surprise that McGalla has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She is more than willing to speak openly about the issues that mothers face in the workplace and offers actual advice about how to keep all of the most important balls in the air.
McGalla’s success in the retail world opened lucrative doors for her to serve as a consultant to other major retailers. She founded P3 Executive Consulting in 2012, a milestone she is extremely proud of because it was the first time that she branched out on her own to share her extensive business knowledge. She is still known for her willingness to mentor other women in finding success in their professional lives. In addition to all of her business accomplishments, McGalla is widely recognized in the academic world as a member of the Board of Advisors for Mount Union College. McGalla brings a wealth of experience in business in helping the college achieve unprecedented growth in alumni donations and international recognition as a prestigious academic institution. She says that she looks forward to maintaining this position at Mount Union College and advocating for the academic development of all students for many years to come.
Continued Reading: How Pittsburgh’s Susan McGalla Paved the Way for Women in Leadership