How Women Like Susan McGalla are Taking Back Top Executive Roles

November 30, 2017 - By 

According to statistics, businesses that employ equal numbers of women and men are 15 percent more likely to perform better than competitors with an unbalanced workforce. Also, companies with a more ethnically diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to perform better than competitors with little diversity in the workplace. Experts said that being open to new ideas is a key component of any company’s success. With diversity, employers have the benefit of a wider array of perspectives that span multiple genders, age groups, ethnic backgrounds and more. Although these statistics sound good, only a few C-level positions are held by women in S&P 500 companies.

A True Success Story

While many women struggle to make it to a high-level position, Susan McGalla has broken the common barriers. She is a proven example of success, and her story serves as an inspiration to women everywhere that it is possible to attain multiple top-level positions. Susan is comfortable working with men and women of all ages. When she was young, her father was a football coach. Susan had several brothers, and she said that they did not give her special treatment because she was a girl. When she wanted something, she worked hard for it. Susan attributes her success to her upbringing and her ambition.

As an adult professional, Susan continued to work hard for what she wanted. She has held many executive positions by perpetually reaching higher. Susan started with American Eagle Outfitters. At the time, only men were executives in the company. She became the president before she left, and she went on to start her own company called P3 Executive Consulting. Today, Susan is in charge of creative development and business strategy for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although the sports industry is run mostly by men, Susan is not intimidated. She developed a creative campaign that boosted fan gear sales considerably. After that, she continued to move forward by working hard and using her creativity.

Female Leadership Initiatives

Although many companies are implementing initiatives to boost female leadership, not all women are experiencing positive changes. Many initiative networks connect women, help them share their ideas and give them information about current trends. However, the glass ceiling still exists. While the initiative networks have worked hard to make changes, they do not address the most important underlying issue that keeps women from reaching leadership roles. The main problem is a lack of support from male and female decision-making executives.

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

With so many initiatives in place, it seems that the answer is simply hiring more women to fill high-level roles. However, women only hold about 25 percent of senior roles in companies. Since initiatives exist, the remaining deficit also helps highlight the underlying problem of a lack of support. An effective solution to the problem is executive sponsorship. If women who are invested in their careers work with decision-making executives within the company, they can collaborate to build opportunities for other women. The decision-making executive must serve as the sponsor in the process. Sponsorship helps break long-standing cycles of gender discrimination, and it encourages women who have potential and drive to work hard for a higher position. Sponsors can recommend women for assignments and can provide support to them.

In a sponsorship program, the decision-making executive must receive an incentive to recommend and encourage female leaders. Since there is an attractive reward, male executives who may otherwise take little interest in such programs have more encouragement to participate. In addition to sponsorship programs, mentoring is important. For company owners, the statistics that show improved financial performance by diversifying the workforce should encourage them to implement mentoring and sponsorship programs.

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About Susan McGalla

Susan McGalla grew up in Ohio. In 1982, she started her business and marketing studies at Mount Union College. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986. From 1994 through 2009, Susan worked for American Eagle Outfitters in various high-level roles. She grew the company from a single brand to four major brands, and the company’s revenue increased from $340 million to more than $3 billion under her leadership. Susan served as an independent retail consultant after her time with AEO. The Wet Seal hired her to reinvent its brands, and she was successful with that.

Susan founded P3 Executive Consulting in 2013 and gave advice to the Wall Street community. From branding and marketing to talent management, she provided many valuable services. In 2015, the Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed Susan to their team to contribute her strategic and creative skills. When she is not busy working hard to reach her ever-growing goals, Susan enjoys spending time with her family. Susan is also an advisory board member at Mount Union College.

Connect with Susan on Facebook to see more of her accomplishments and interests.

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