Susan McGall; breaking the glass ceilling

Susan McGall stands out in a crowd of professional women. She is confident. She carries it to meetings, to appointments… everywhere she goes.

She says her confidence was natured at home. She grew up with two brothers and a coach for a father. Having been offered the same opportunities as her brothers while young taught her not to think too hard about the genders she is dealing with. As a result, the gender of the people she works with or addresses is important, yes, but not considered as an advantage or disadvantage. This has given her success in working with both women and men.

When Susan McGall started out at American Eagles Outfitters, she could have been intimidated because the company was male dominated. But she wasn’t. Leaning on the lessons she had learnt from her family growing up, she put her best foot forward despite being in a male dominated company. As a result, she was quickly noticed by her superiors and quickly scaled up the ranks in the company. Before leaving American Eagle Outfitters, she was named president of the company. She founded her own consultancy; P3 Executive consulting which offers marketing, branding and talent management services to its clients.

Her success in her career and in breaking the glass ceiling has seen her give talks and lectures to many audiences about how to break the glass ceiling as a woman in the professional world. She says that women are having trouble breaking the glass ceiling not because they do not have platforms to help them do so. For decades, governments and corporations have been talking about women getting the same treatment as men and trying to come up with avenues for them to get ahead in their careers.

But why is it not working? McGall says that these platforms and opportunities will only work if women are given support by their fellow women. This can be made sponsorship. A woman aspiring to be an executive someday should find a sponsor; a woman who is a high powered executive. This sponsor would mentor the aspirant in matters pertaining that [position. That way, when an opportunity presents itself, the aspirant is more than ready to take it up and already has the backing of a high powered executive.

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