Powerhouse CEO Susan McGalla is continuing to break barriers in the world of business. Not only is she one of the youngest women to have headed three Fortune 500 companies, she is considered one of the smartest women in corporate America.
McGalla says that although women have made significant gains in the boardroom, they still have some ways to go before they will be considered equals. When McGalla first started out, there were very few women CEOs. After graduating from Union College, she went to work for Joseph Horne Co. McGalla worked in marketing strategies for eight years before moving on to American Eagle Outfitters. It was there where she made her mark, and helped the company grow into one of the most recognizable in the world. Through hard work and smarts, she named CEO in 2003. Once her work was completed at American Eagle, she moved on to Wet Seal. It was there where she discovered her yearning to create her own company and help others in the process.
After leaving Wet Seal in 2011, McGalla started P3 Executive Consulting LLC. A born leader, McGalla uses the knowledge she gained from the fashion industry to help other companies thrive. The Pittsburgh native was also recently named vice-president of creative strategies for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In this role, she oversees development of fan apparel and novelties. McGalla says she is pleased to see other women do well in the corporate world. But there are still unfortunate inequities that must be dealt with including pay, maternity leave and sexual harassment.
Despite the drawbacks, McGalla insists that women who work hard and demand respect can rise above all the negatives. By the time she left American Eagle Outfitters, McGalla says women were already moving up the corporate ladder in vast numbers. She points to women like former Hewlitt Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and IBM Chairman Ginni Rommety as role models. McGalla says she feels it’s her job to pay it forward and help other women attempting to rise through the ranks. “I feel we need more women in these positions, because our knowledge and opinion counts.”