Susan McGalla Works to Even the Playing Field

According to the latest research, companies that utilize a gender-diverse approach have historically performed better than those that do not, while companies that are ethnically diverse have performed at an even higher level. It is believed that the reason for this jump in performance amongst diverse companies is due to the idea that these companies are generally more flexible and open when assessing new ideas. Despite the fact that gender-diverse companies continue to outperform their counterparts, very few S&P 500 companies employ women in an executive capacity.

Susan McGalla has bucked this trend throughout her entire career and credits her ability to adapt and excel in a male-oriented environment, to her upbringing as a child. Growing up in East Liverpool, Ohio, Susan McGalla was the daughter of a football coach, and also had to contend with two brothers in the household. Growing up in this sort of household instilled an incredible work ethic within McGalla that would accompany her throughout her career in the business world.

Over the course of her career, McGalla has held a myriad of positions and eventually worked her way up to the position of President at American Eagle Outfitters, before her exit in 2009. Prior to McGalla’s ascension to that role, American Eagle Outfitters had employed no female executives. After leaving her position at American Eagle, McGalla founded P3 Executive Consulting and became the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite Susan McGalla’s success, many women around the world are not finding these opportunities, although there are now many networks and initiatives that are working to improve these issues. She believes executive sponsorship is the next step in alleviating this longstanding problem.

Susan McGalla began her career at Joseph Horne Company, holding several positions there from 1986 to 1994. Before becoming the President of American Eagle Outfitters, she worked as a divisional merchandise buyer.