Susan McGalla on being both a woman and a leader

The story of rising through the ranks from the founder of P3 Executive Consulting, Susan McGalla

Jan 06, 2015, 20:41 ET from Susan McGalla

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- There is a flood of advice out there for women who want to advance in their careers going into 2015, but many find the information out there is far too pandering or generic. Susan P. McGalla, the founder of P3 Executive Consulting, LLC, is an expert consultant to clients on branding, marketing, talent management, operational efficiencies and more. She has spoken about her views on how to get ahead as a woman in business to many audiences, including the Women and Girl's Foundation of Pittsburgh and at the Carnegie Mellon University Speaker Series for CEOs, but today she wants to share her story.

"Most women I speak with are seeking an authentic perspective that has practical application," says McGalla. "The buzzwords and party lines have become hollow to women who don't want to be targeted as women, but as professionals."

"The evolution that has occurred is very encouraging," McGalla adds.

Susan McGalla grew up in a household with two older brothers and a football coach father who did not cut her any slack just because she was a girl. "I was brought up by parents who encouraged me to work hard and present my good ideas with confidence regardless of the audience," says McGalla. Her gender and-- maybe more importantly-- other's genders were considered neither helpful nor hindering.

"As a result, I have always been equally comfortable with men and women and excelled in working with both," McGalla explains. This confidence was instrumental to her success. McGalla received her BA from Mount Union College before beginning her career at the Joseph Horne Company. In 1994 she found her foothold working for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

"When I joined American Eagle, it was a predominantly male company with no women on the board or in executive positions. To their credit, through hard work and success, I excelled there with a career that was an experience of a lifetime," McGalla says. "My ascension there was responsible for a true culture change where women and men alike constructed what was one of the most successful, aspirational corporate cultures in the timeframe of 2000 to 2010." McGalla held various management positions with American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., eventually rising to become the president and chief merchandising officer of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., responsible for the P&L, revenues of $3B, four brands and an e-commerce site.

Since then Susan McGalla has taken the reins of her career, becoming a consultant for the top people in finance when they need an insider's perspective on the world of retail. Having autonomy over her career is a luxury afforded by years of hard work, flexibility, and pursuing something she was passionate about. McGalla says her gender never really factored into her career goals.

"My angle on this in my career was not to 'break the glass ceiling,'" McGalla explains. "To make the point, I never carried a chip on my shoulder of what I should be entitled to as a woman or what prejudices existed."

Susan McGalla hopes more women take this same approach and attitude for their careers going into 2015.

Media Contact
Tracey Adams
Ryan & Adams Public Relations


SOURCE Susan McGalla