Keeping On Top of Fashion Branding: Susan P. McGalla

Susan P. McGalla is a businessperson with a small town background but has a cosmopolitan approach to business. She was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio (located on the Ohio River and 40 miles west of Pittsburgh) and received her bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing from Mount Union College in 1986. Shortly after graduation, McGalla moved to Pittsburgh and worked as a marketing representative for the Joseph Horne Company and eventually obtained a management position.

After eight years, Susan McGalla on bizjournals secured a position as Divisional Merchandise Buyer of women’s clothing for the world-renowned men’s sportswear company. American Eagle Outfitters. For nearly a decade, she aggressively worked with the company to build the women’s clothing and accessory departments, bringing international prominence to the American Eagle brand. McGalla then became President and Chief Merchandise Officer (CMO) of the company in 2007 and was involved in numerous projects including:

  • The development of the Aerie line (women’s lingerie and intimate apparel)
  • The development of the 77Kids line (children’s clothing)
  • The launching of the company’s e-commerce site
  • The review and oversight of the company’s P&L, resulting in the total revenue of over $3billion

In 2009, McGalla left American Eagle, Inc. and worked as a private consultant for the retail and financial investment industries, but was later approached by The Wet Seal, Inc. to fill the seat of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2011. McGalla revamped the Wet Seal and Arden B clothing brands and began a company initiative to incorporate product trends with targeted customer research. She then returned to independent consulting a year later and founded P3 Executive Consulting, a firm focused on advising clients on several aspects of retail and clothing business in the areas of product marketing, branding, product merchandising, talent management, and operational P&L efficiency.

McGalla assumed the title of Director of Strategic Planning & Growth for the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL franchise in early 2015. Using her years of expertise in brand growth and development, she was hired by the team a part of its team renovation project which includes the Heinz Field expansion and the reconstruction of the team’s draft plan.

McGalla’s upbringing in Ohio was a valuable asset to her success in business, She was instilled the values of individualism and creativity as well as respect and a strong work ethic and was never given preferential treatment due to her gender. She is actively involved in her alma mater and various organizations associated with women’s empowerment and business strategy. McGalla currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children.

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