Susan McGalla’s journey towards working for a professional sports team was a long one. She grew up with two brothers who participated in sports and a father who coached high school football. McGalla knew that she couldn’t actively participate in sports but she still wanted to participate in other ways. Her father encouraged her to push forward and not take “no” for an answer. He also encouraged her to pursue her dreams knowing that she would be facing criticism for wanting to work in a male-dominated field.
McGalla understood the prejudice with women being interested in male sports and wanting to promote male clothing lines. She also knew that men were used to other men promoting their products. McGalla’s experience with American Eagle Outfitters showed her that she could stand up to the prejudice and prove herself worthy of running the business. It was a real coup when she was selected to become the president of the company. She parted ways with American Eagle Outfitters to accept a position at Wet Seal. Her tenure at Wet Seal lasted two years before she decided to branch out on her own. Her experiences with American Eagle and Wet Seal did help her gain clients for her new consulting firm, P3 Executive Consulting.
McGalla credits her experience at American Eagle as enlightening because she was able to move through different positions and gain the knowledge she wouldn’t have gained anywhere else. McGalla realizes that not many women have had the opportunities she had to advance in her career.
There is still a stigma attached to women who are interested pursuing a career involving professional sports. Her current position as Vice President of Business Strategy and Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers did take a lot of determination and persistence. McGalla did it though and proved that the gender barrier can be broken.