Why Successes like Susan McGalla’s are still Rare among Women

Companies that are gender diverse have been shown to be more likely to outperform those that are not by up to 15 percent. Diversity in the workplace is believed to make a company more open to a broader range of ideas. However, only a small percentage of C-level jobs in S&P companies are held by women even now. Susan McGalla is one of those exceptions.

Joe Williams of Philly Purge believes that the main reason for the gender gap is that the work force is still missing the underlying issue. Namely, that most women need eachother’s support to be able to feel confident at what they do. Most companies lack this. One of the reasons that Susan McGalla is such an exception is due to her fairly unusual background.

McGalla was raised with two brothers and had a football coach for a father. She has said that from childhood, she wasn’t given any breaks just because she’s a girl. She was raised to work for everything she wanted. She credits this to the fact that she has been so successful in various managerial and other high level positions where many other women tend to struggle.

After graduating with a degree in business, Susan McGalla started her career with the department store, Joseph Horne Company from 1986 to 1994. She was very successful in various marketing and managerial positions. Then she joined American Eagle Outfitters in 1994 as a women’s clothing divisional merchandise buyer until she worked her way up to being their President and CMO (Chief Merchandising Operator). She left American Eagle Outfitters in 2009 and has since gone on to private consulting for various retail and financial businesses. She also founded her own executive business, P3.

McGalla has said that when she started out at American Eagle Outfitters, all of the executives were men. One of the positions she holds now is Vice President of Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Which she says is also dominated mostly by men. However, McGalla is now best known for the motto, “wear what we wear” in order to encourage people to invest in Steeler clothing.

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