Pittsburgh Executive Susan McGalla on the Glass Ceiling

Despite the fact that women hold a very small percentage of C-level positions in top companies, some women in business continue to strive for an end to the “glass ceiling.” Susan McGalla’s career is a case study in how to go about this. The Pittsburgh business icon was raised by a football coach dad who was also rearing her two brothers, McGalla started her career at American Eagle Outfitter, quickly rising through the ranks at the apparel company to become Chief Merchandising Officer. She later started up her own consulting company and is now a strategic planner for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McGalla was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio, and earned an undergraduate degree in Business from Mount Union College. Her husband, Stephen McGalla, is a wealth manager. She attributes her success in business to being comfortable with both men and women in the workplace. According to McGalla, when she first started at American Eagle, there were no women in top leadership positions within the corporate structure. She believes she had a positive effect on the company’s culture and ushered in a new tide of opportunity for women at the company.

In her consulting business, she draws on her wealth of experience in the retail world to help give financiers real-world context to their decision-making. For McGalla, the key to her success has been not to go out and consciously try to break the glass ceiling, but rather to work hard and believe in her skills and professional acumen.

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