Research shows that companies that are more ethnically diverse, or companies that have a more balanced gender diversity tend to outperform other businesses. The studies show that these companies historically do better because they are more open to different ideas and have multiple viewpoints. There are still very few women in the major roles in businesses, despite this progress. Susan McGalla is an exception. She grew up with two older brothers, and her dad was a football coach who taught Susan McGalla that if she wanted something, she had to work for it. She was informed that she wouldn’t get any breaks because she was a woman. This advice stuck with her, and it helped her transition over to her career, where she has held several high-level positions. She began at the bottom of American Eagle Outfitters and worked her way to the post of President of the company. She is also an entrepreneur who founded P3 Executive Consulting, and this lead to her getting the position of Director of Strategic Planning and Growth for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is not a new struggle for women in traditionally male-dominated fields. There are women’s networks that provide a platform for other women to plan for their businesses and offer a woman to woman support system. One possible solution to break the gender discrimination cycle is to provide sponsorships. Any woman that is invested in bettering her career should find and work with an executive. This executive would act as a guide and put their female sponsor on high profile projects, in essence acting as an advocate for their sponsor. This would help other female leaders move up the ranks in their chosen business more efficiently.
Susan McGalla proved that through hard work and dedication a woman could run an empire. If more women had the opportunities she did, we could see companies outperforming each other on a consistent basis.