Susan McGalla, the Professional

Much time has passed since the fight for women’s suffrage, and over that course of time, there have been a variety of changes for the better. However, there remains certain discrepancies between male and female employment—particularly that gap which exists between male and female leadership. Women like Susan McGalla are working to shorten this gap and prove that female leaders have a place in this modern world.

How do we help end this gender discrepancy? Arguments over this issue have flown back and forth for years. Some claim that women need to take better initiative; they need to step up and make themselves more well known if they want to rise up. And yet, there are plenty of examples of women in business doing just that and still missing the bar. Truly, the underlying problem is that it is more often who you know rather than what you know, especially in business. Therefore, the solution is not that women should work harder (as if they are not already) but that, during this build-up phase, they need sponsors who are higher up in the business to highlight their abilities and accomplishments to the upper echelons of the business world. Once these women are known, they can be properly assessed as professionals.

McGalla—VP of Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburgh Steeler, Founder of P3 Executive Consulting, LLC., CEO of The Wet Seal, Inc., President and Chief Merchandising Officer of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.—has gone far and achieved much for herself and professional women across the nation. McGalla has proven that gender has no place in deciding who is capable (or incapable) of achieving great things in the business world. But even this understanding of Susan McGalla is flawed, as it takes the assumption that her being a “successful woman” is something bizarre, something one might see in a circus. Rather than seeing men and women in the business world as inherently different, perhaps it is time to remove gender from the equation and recognize those who succeed as the professionals that they are.

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