Susan McGalla and the Rise of the Businesswoman
Today, we see more women in executive positions than ever before. While this is encouraging, there is still a huge disparity between the number of male and female business executives.
While many women’s networks and coalitions have sprung up to battle this disparity of the sexes, the problem remains unsolved. To truly equalize the representation of women in business different steps must be taken.
In an article by Joe Williams titled “How Pittsburgh’s Susan McGalla Paved the Way for Women in Leadership” an answer is proposed. Statistics show companies with greater diversity outperform companies which are not diverse by considerable margins.
Williams proposes that women aspiring to executive heights need to find an executive sponsor. An executive sponsor would act as a mentor and encourage the devoted businesswoman to take on leadership opportunities and projects. Of course, since men still dominate the upper echelons of corporate power, this necessarily requires many of these men to be the sponsors of up-and-coming businesswomen.
Natural progression would bring an ever-larger number of these sponsored professionals into executive positions. As there is a direct relationship between diversity and a company’s performance, this would spell gains for businesswomen and the businesses they work for.
The current presence of women in executive positions provides an excellent example. One such trailblazer is Susan McGalla. A quick peek at her Linkedin profile tells of her plethora of experience, including positions as former President of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. and current Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steelers, LLC.
McGalla worked at American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. during a time when the executive team of the corporation was all male. She never allowed another person’s sex to affect her, however, treating her business associates as professionals and expecting the same for herself.
Her approach has obviously brought her success, and gains to the businesses she has been involved with. Looking at her case, it is notably beneficial to the business world to work towards greater diversity in its executives.