Susan McGalla is one of the most notable women to have led a major retail chain in the US, and she has founded a company of her own at P3 Executive Consulting. Given all her accomplishments and the way she’s earned recognition that few other women have, the local Pittsburgh media have sometimes tried to compile a narrative that this is a big deal for all women and their agendas. But McGalla doesn’t see it that way at all, in fact she had several interviewers perplexed when she said that what she has accomplished is something she’s done as a person and not gender-specific. She says it’s because she was raised in a household where the expectations on her were the same as they were on her two older brothers, and she’s always taken those to heart.
Susan McGalla came from East Liverpool, OH in a rural setting and her father also happened to be a local high school football coach, a sport that McGalla still loves to this day. She got her bachelor’s degree in business and started out in the merchandising department of the Joseph Horne Company. When that company closed down, she moved to American Eagle Outfitters and took charge not only of their regional merchandising department, but also gave her input to the fashion chain’s branding and marketing leaders. Within several years, McGalla became an executive Chief Merchandising Officer and company President until 2009. American Eagle opened up its female apparel store during this time and saw one of its greatest periods of success under McGalla’s leadership.
After she left American Eagle Outfitters, McGalla joined the Board of Directors at HFF Inc., a Pittsburgh real estate broker company and for a time she also was director of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. At P3 Executive Consulting, she provides advice to various retail and wholesale leaders on branding and targeting consumers. Her passion for football also led her to become the current Vice President of Business Strategy and Creative Development in the fan merchandise and memorabilia department of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.