Susan McGalla is a successful businesswoman from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, who has worked hard to achieve recognition in the retail management industry. She has pushed her way to the top to become the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Using her experience as a lifelong Steelers fan and an executive with an eye for fashion to create the “what we wear campaign” that helped revitalize the Steelers fan fashion division.
McGalla has risen in a male dominated industry despite all the obstacles that were in her path. As a child, she was not given special treatment because she was a girl. In fact, she faced many of the same obstacles that other girls faced. She became tough and resilient, which helped her succeed in her chosen field as an adult.
Unfortunately, Susan McGalla is a rare example of success, and many women are unable to overcome the obstacles in their path. Decades of women’s leadership initiatives are not enough. There are many opportunities to connect and network with each other, but this is not enough. Women only hold 1/4 of the positions of power. Without being able to network with and gain the influence of men, women will never be able to achieve the success in business that they desire.
A better solution is to create opportunities for women to be sponsored by male and female leaders in the industry. Executive sponsorship can help to end the gender gap. Highly motivated women, who do not have the resources or connections to succeed on their own would be paired with experienced executives. These experienced executives would help by taking these women under their wing and investing in the women’s careers. If the women they sponsor succeed, they succeed.
With the right programs and incentives in place, soon there will be many women like Susan McGalla. These are women who like McGalla, wish to be seen not as women, but as professionals who happen to be women. Like McGalla, these women are smart savvy women who use the skills are resources given to them to help them succeed in a difficult world.