Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers Susan McGalla credits her football coach father and two brothers for her ability to succeed in a world dominated by men. Her father and siblings never showed her any special consideration because of her gender.

In 1994 Susan McGalla went to work for American Eagle Outfitters. By the time she left that company 15 years later she had risen to the rank of president and CMO. She started her career as a divisional merchandise buyer for women’s clothing. When McGalla started with AEO the company was run entirely by men.

Currently, only one-quarter of corporate senior executive positions are held by women. This despite Women Leadership Initiatives. McGalla states that the disparity in the number of male corporate leaders vs. female corporate leaders proves that such initiatives are not the solution. She acknowledges that the answer to the solution to achieving greater gender-diversity in the business world remains elusive.

McGalla thinks that one possible solution might be executive sponsorship programs. Executive sponsorship is essentially a mentoring program. Women would work under the tutelage of a “decision-making executive“. The executives would advocate for their protégée by suggesting they be assigned to work on lead projects and important assignments.

McGalla contends that sponsorship programs would provide companies with the impetus they need to afford more advancement opportunities to women. McGalla points out that the program will only work when it involves women who are serious about their success. There are numbers that support this theory. Companies committed to gender-diversity outperform companies that haven’t embraced gender-diversity by fifteen-percent.

Susan McGalla hails from East Liverpool Ohio where she was born and grew-up. She earned a bachelors degree in Business and Marketing from Mount Union College in 1986. McGalla is currently a member of Mount Union’s advisory board.

Besides her current position with the Pittsburgh Steelers McGalla has held multiple executive positions. In 2013 she formed her own executive consulting firm P3 Executive. Her résumé includes a stint as CEO of California based Wet Seal. McGalla also worked as an independent Retail Consultant.

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