Susan McGalla is currently the Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development at the Pittsburgh Steelers, a storied NFL franchise. Having been previously the President and Chief Merchandising Officer for American Eagle Outfitters and CEO of the Wet Seal, Inc, it was not obvious that her career was destined for the Steelers. However, the influence of the game of football has been with her since she was a child.
McGalla was born into a family headed by a football coach father and two older brothers. She has said that from an early age she was encouraged to have reasoned opinions and to voice them with confidence, regardless of the audience or setting. Her father and brothers instilled a no-nonsense attitude in McGalla, and perhaps it is this attitude that has propelled McGalla to success in the corporate world, a setting often devoid of women in leadership. According to a Center of American Progress report from 2014, only 14.6 percent of executive officers in the United States are women.
Susan McGalla managed to work her way into upper management during her time at American Eagle by taking on a variety of roles over the course of fourteen years. She oversaw the expansion from one brand to four brands, as well as revenue grow from $340 million to over $3 billion during her time at the company. McGalla used that experience to propel her to a role at another fashion brand, the Wet Seal, and then launch her own consulting venture which focuses on retail clients.
Now at the Steelers, McGalla is innovating football fashion. In 2015, she made the team’s retail website dynamic, allowing fans to find merchandise being worn on the field available for purchase while the game is still on the air.
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