Susan McGalla and the Fight For Gender Diversity in Business Leadership

Researchers on diversity in the workplace say that their findings show that gender and ethnically diverse companies are usually able to outperform companies that are not because diverse companies are more open to new ideas. They are also more encouraging of the birth and growth of a wider of array of new ideas. Unfortunately, it is particularly difficult create a gender-diverse atmosphere in high level positions throughout the business world. It remains primarily a man’s world. But there are those women who are the exception. Susan McGalla is a notable example. She was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio by a coach father who she credits for instilling in her leadership qualities. She entered the business world by working for Joseph Home Company in various positions from 1986 to 1994. In 1994, she started near the bottom of American Eagle Outfitters, quickly working her way through the ranks via shear hard work and leaderly ingenuity.

She eventually became the president of AEO, during which she oversaw the launch of its innovative Aerie and 77kids brands. She left the presidency of AEO in 2009 to found P3 Executive Consulting, a private consulting company for retail and financial businesses. During that same year, she was also placed on the Board of Directors of HFF Inc. She is presently the Pittsburgh Steeler’s Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development. One of her must famous roles in this position was being instrumental in the publicly popular and very well received “wear what we wear” campaign.

In 2011, McGalla became the CEO of Wet Seal, Inc. It is odd that even now with gender equality in the business place so up front in the mind of society that female business leaders should still be a rarity. This is certainly not the case for lack of effort to change that. There have been a vast amount of initiatives to change it for years. The main reason that it is so hard to get women in top leadership positions is that women depend on other women who are already in those positions. McGalla is definitely doing her part to help lift other women up, but she is only one.

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