East Liverpool, Ohio native Susan McGalla is a very successful business woman. She has been able to ascend past the corporate glass ceiling to hold some of the top executive positions in very large corporations. She now spends some of her time working to assist and inspire women to make their way up the corporate ladder. However, McGalla points out that her father, a football coach, always told her she had to work hard if she wanted to succeed and she could not expect any special breaks because of her gender or use it as an excuse to accept failure.
A graduate of Mount Union College with a degree in business and marketing, Susan McGalla was hired by the Joseph Horne Company in 1986. During the 8 years she spent there, McGalla held a wide array of marketing and managerial positions. In 1994, she left JHC to join American Eagle Outfitters as a divisional merchandise buyer specializing in women’s clothing. After holding several managerial positions, Susan McGalla eventually became chief merchandising officer and president of the American Eagle brand. She helped launch the company’s successful 77kids and aerie brands and eventually became president of the entire American Eagle Corporation.
In 2009, Susan McGalla decided to leave American Eagle Inc. and go into business on her own. She worked in the financial investment and retail industries as a private consultant. McGalla was also appointed to the commercial real estate company HFF Incorporated’s board of directors. Then, from January 2011 to July 2012 she served as CEO of Wet Seal Inc. She then went on to found P3 Executive Consulting. Currently Susan McGalla is the Pittsburg Steelers’ vice president of Creative Development and Business Strategy. A former University of Pittsburg trustee, McGalla is also the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s director and is a member of the Magee-Women’s Hospital Research Institute and Foundation board.
She’s married to wealth manager Stephen McGalla, on the board of advisors of Mount Union College and is busy working as an expert consultant on marketing, branding, operational inefficiencies, talent management and more for countless clients, yet, McGalla is also very active on the lecture circuit. She regularly shares her views on what women need to do to get ahead in business. She has done talks for groups like the Women and Girl’s Foundation of Pittsburgh as well as the Speaker Series for CEOs at Carnegie Mellon University.