Through Her Leadership Strengths, Susan McGalla Inspires Women to Succeed

Even though workplace diversity creates a more dynamic environment and fuels greater success, many companies still lack a strong representation of women in the chain of command. Today, that’s starting to change and women like Susan McGalla are leading the way.

Susan McGalla is Thankful for Her Male Role Models

Susan grew up in a household filled with males, having two brothers with which to contend. The three of them were raised by a father who worked as a football coach and Ms. McGalla says that helped her father instill important communication skills in each of them. Susan learned how to interact effectively, because, if she wanted something, she had to speak up for herself. In a home with two teen boys, it didn’t pay to be timid.

Additionally, McGalla says her father wouldn’t make excuses for her, because she was a girl. Susan was expected to work just as hard as her brothers, which taught her the solid work ethic that has helped her succeed professionally.

Once she was ready to start working, she joined the staff at American Eagle Outfitters, where she applied that devotion to hard work for her own advancement. She rose quickly through the executive branch, ultimately becoming president of the company. After leaving American Eagle, Susan launched her own business, P3 Executive Consulting.

While becoming an entrepreneur fulfilled one ambition, Ms. McGalla still wasn’t satisfied. She continued to work towards getting the most out of her career, which ultimately led her to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was the ultimate boys club, but that didn’t mean the management wasn’t willing to give Susan a shot. She took that shot, impressing her superiors with her dedication and savvy. Her work on the “wear what we wear” advertising campaign, which promoted Steelers attire, helped Susan rise in the ranks. The Pittsburgh Steelers was no longer closed to women.

Today, Susan McGalla is the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When she’s not working in that capacity, Susan sits on several boards, including those for the Magee-Womens Hospital Research Institute and Foundation and HFF, Inc. Ms. McGalla previously served as a trustee for the University of Pittsburgh. She also spends time serving as the director for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Susan McGalla is a graduate of Mount Union College.