The Rise and Rise of Susan McGalla

Susan McGalla is the current vice president of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers. She is one of the few women who have served in high-level positions in organizations. A staunch believer in equality, Susan has been instrumental in paving the way for many women to rise and occupy high positions in companies. Despite growing up with two brothers and a football coach dad, Susan did not have it easy as a child. She had to work hard for everything she wanted, and this helped her gain confidence and comfort to work with both men and women. In all the organizations she has worked, McGalla has raised through the ranks to hold positions that were traditionally reserved for men.

Despite the many forums and initiatives to encourage women leadership in the world, only a quarter of senior management positions in companies are occupied by women. This, therefore, means that the networks and initiatives are not, by themselves, sufficient to address the inequality problem. We are yet to address the underlying issue of this discrimination, so the real solution is still missing. One possible solution would be to have executives act as sponsors for women who are well invested in their careers. These sponsors would be mentors to the women and recommend them for main projects and important assignments. It is crucial for women already in executive positions to support each other as well as help others rise through the ranks and occupy the senior positions like Susan did.

In 1986, Susan started her career at Joseph Horne Company where she held several marketing and managerial posts. She later moved to American Eagle Outfitters in 1994 and worked her way up to various management positions. By the time she left in 2009, Susan was the President of the firm. In 2011, Susan became the CEO of Wet Seal Inc., where she worked as a consultant to several corporations. In 2012, McGalla left Wet Seal and founded P3 Executive Consulting LLC. She is currently renowned for providing executive insights on marketing strategies in the fashion industry as well as retail consulting for financial institutions. At Pittsburgh Steelers, she was a part of the creative ‘wear what we wear’ campaign to urge fans to buy Steeler gear. Susan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing from Mount Union College.


Susan McGalla is a great inspiration to many women today. She is proof that women can also hold top positions in organizations. With an innovative mind and great passion for her career, Susan McGalla is undeniably a role model to many.