Susan McGalla has a different take on the position and role of women in business leadership. She has unquestionably been a success in the business world, but is more interested in being judged on her ideas and strengths, instead of her gender.
“I have never played the woman card,” she told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. She said her two older brothers and her football coach father, taught her that she was a person first, and not a woman or man first.
In that same article, she told the story of being invited to apply for a women’s executive award. On the application she wrote “It was always taught that I was a person. I was not a man or a woman.” The answer did not sit well with the organization and they asked her to change what she had written.
The answer did sit well with McGalla however, and it is a mantra she has advocated both for herself, and it is advice she gives when she speaks to women and others. She is able to talk equally well about sports or shopping, and is at home in what is considered men’s or women’s worlds.
She currently owns P3 Executive Consulting, a consultant firm she founded in 2012, and she is in charge of strategic planning for the Pittsburgh Steelers. McGalla had started a private consulting firm in 2009, but was lured back to the business world when she was named CEO of Wet Seal Inc. She left that company after a year and a half and returned to consulting.
It was at American Eagle Outfitters that she made her mark though, and that is what made her a consultant who is in demand. She worked there for 10 years or so and rose to the level of CEO. She started her career in the clothing business at the Joseph Horne Company where she held various management positions from 1986 to 1994.
She got her degree from Mount Union College, and is currently on their board of advisors.
She credits her background, and her ideas on gender, with giving her the success she has had, in addition of course to hard work and dedication.
She said she believes the lines normally given to women in business are just party lines that have become hollow. She said she thinks women want to be targeted not as women but as professionals, and she called that development “encouraging.”
She said he was brought up to work hard, and to present her ideas with confidence, regardless of who the audience was. Her gender, or the gender of others, was never a consideration.
“As a result, I have always been equally comfortable with men and women and excelled in working with both,” McGalla said.
She said her own attitudes in this area have helped, but she also said other people have responded in a positive way. She credited American Eagle Outfitters with having a similar attitude, judging her on her ideas and work more than on he gender