Many women dream of being a successful business leader, commanding respect in board meetings and making important decisions. Unfortunately, the business world can be tough for women, especially because many sectors of the business world are male driven and male dominated. But some women, like Susan McGalla, have become successful and broken that glass ceiling through determination, hard work, and the help of others. More than 40 years after women began entering the workplace full force, only a small fraction of S%P Fortune 500 companies have women in upper-level leadership roles.
Susan McGalla, like many other female executives, believes strongly in reducing the obstacles for women to hold positions like hers. As the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers, she holds an important position that influences how the Pittsburgh Steelers are seen by the fans. As a native Pittsburgher and a lifelong fan, this job is a dream job for her. But for McGalla, the climb was not easy, and she did not fall into the position at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Instead, Susan McGalla began her career at Joseph Horne Company, before joining American Eagle where she slowly rose through the ranks until she became president and chief merchandising officer. She found the corporate culture there somewhat difficult to navigate because there were very few women at the company. However, she attributes some of her success to the fact that because of the way she was raised, as an equal to men, she never felt intimidated by them. Eventually, McGalla left to form her own company, P3 Executive Consulting, LLC, before being hired by the Steelers.
Like many female executives, she attributes her successes and the footholds she achieved not to bonding with other women through female empowerment clubs, but to the men and women who helped give her career a boost. That is why corporate sponsorship is so important for companies that wish to diversify the executive positions. Through mentorship and sponsorship promising young women can learn skills from and attract the attention of men and women who already have successful and fulfilling careers.