Can a woman’s upbringing help her turn the “glass ceiling” into a glass floor? Susan McGalla’s upbringing did. A successful businesswoman Susan was born and grew-up in East Liverpool, Ohio. Raised by a father who coached football all her siblings were boys. Susan’s gender didn’t earn her any special consideration. The way she came-up taught her to hold-her-own against the boys.
Today, Susan McGalla works for the Pittsburgh Steelers. An expert in branding and merchandising her job is to oversee creative development and business strategy. To provide a partial idea of what Susan does, she helped create and market a line of Steeler’s related clothing and jewelry so women can show their Steeler Pride while looking fashionable and feminine.
During her tenures at a Pittsburgh department store Joseph Horne and Company and American Eagle Outfitters Susan McGalla acquired her retail and fashion experience. She began her career at AEO as a divisional buyer for women’s clothing. Fifteen years later she was the company’s president and Chief Merchandising Officer.
Even today, Susan’s business success makes her something of an anomaly in the corporate world. Statistically, companies with an equal ratio of male to female employees are 15% more successful than companies with a disproportionate ratio of male to female employees. Still, the success that Susan McGalla has worked and earned continues to elude most of her peers.
“Initiative Networks” have been formed to help bridge the male/female leadership gap. The networks provide a support system for businesswomen to share ideas. They are not terribly successful for lack of support from decision-making executives of both genders.
One means to make initiative programs more successful and foster involvement by decision-making executives is a “sponsorship program”. Sponsors would help women wishing to advance in the workplace do just that. Businesswomen’s’ sponsors would act as both mentors and advocates offering guidance and recommendations for assignments that can help their sponsee prove their ability.
Sponsors would receive extra compensation for their involvement. This would encourage greater involvement by male executives. The reward to the company is the increased success that comes with a balanced workforce.