Category Archives: Success Stories

The Exemplary Corporate Success of Susan McGalla

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Susan McGalla is best known for her role as the erstwhile president of the American Eagle Outfitters Incorporated. She also held the coveted position at Wet Seal incorporated of a Chief Executive Officer. She currently has a seat on the board of directors at HFF Incorporated. This is a publicly listed company which offers commercial real estate services. Her other seat as a board member is at the Magee-Women’s Hospital Research Institute and Foundation. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development is privileged to have her as its director. Susan McGalla is a former trustee of the University of Pittsburgh.

Susan McGalla on susanmcgalla.com commenced her career at the Joseph Horne Company, where she served in a number of different marketing and managerial positions during her employment at the company from 1986 to 1994.

Later during the same year, 1994, she joined American Eagle Outfitters. While here she started out as the divisional Merchandise buyer for women’s clothing. While here she was also assigned a number of various managerial roles. She eventually climbed the corporate ladder to the top of the echelon as the company’s president and chief merchandising officer.

As fate would have it, she had served as the president and the chief merchandising officer for the company’s pioneer American Eagle brand before she ascended to her becoming president and CMO for the whole company. When she served as the company leader at American Eagle, Susan McGalla superintended the setting up of the company’s aerie and 77kids brands.
After thirteen years at American Eagle Incorporated, Susan McGalla left on January 2009. She joined the private sector as a private consultant for the retail and financial investment industries. It is here that she got her appointment at the board of directors sitting for HFF Incorporated in October, the same year.

Two years later in January 2011, Susan McGalla succeeded Ed Thomas as the chief executive officer at Wet Seal Incorporated. She parted ways with the company a year later in July 2012 to start her own consulting firm, P3 Executive Consulting. She is the Director of Strategic Planning and Growth for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Susan McGalla gained her work ethics and hard work stance from childhood as she grew up with two brothers and a father who would allow no slacking simply because she was a girl. Her father was a football coach and he encouraged her to always present her ideas with confidence no matter the audience she was to face. More importantly, she experienced early in life that gender was not a hindrance to accomplishments of any sort. As a result, in her later years as a career woman she has been able to comfortably work with both genders. Susan McGalla affirmed that the confidence she had established in her formative years was very instrumental to her success.

Susan McGalla was quoted by PR News saying as a word of advice; “My angle on this in my career was not to ‘break the glass ceiling,'” she explained. “To make the point, I never carried a chip on my shoulder of what I should be entitled to as a woman or what prejudices existed.”

Living on the Edge

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It is funny how quickly life can change just because of a move, a new car or a new job position. Just about five years ago I was living in a one bedroom apartment with my wife and two children with a job that barely fed everyone in the house. Not to mention getting the bills paid. For so long I lived in a way that made me watch every penny, every watt of energy used and every bite of food take by my wife and I. Now, because of James Dondero, I have begun to live a comfortable successful life working for Highland Capital Management according to nexbank.com. Something that I never dreamed would ever be in my grasp and now I can honestly say I have accomplished my life long goal.

Ever since my oldest child Brenton was born, I made a promise to myself that I would never make my family live paycheck to paycheck. After my wife got pregnant with our second child, Karina, I honestly thought all hope was lost. I spent so much time trying to help my wife and run errands that I never got the chance to pursue my dream. It actually got to the point where not once did success cross my mind for months on end. I think the longest I went without looking for a better job was eight months. What a waste of mine and my family’s time.

To get out of the dreary storyline, I was taking out the trash one day when my neighbor stopped me dead in my tracks. At first I thought it would be a quick hello, but little did I know that he was stopping me to tell me about a position opening up at Highland Capital Management. The best part of it was that he had already set up my interview with James Dondero.

Not even 48 hours after I walked out the doors did I receive a phone call telling me I was hired. It was by far one of the best moments of my life. From then on I no longer had to feed my family cheap meals or have my kids wearing second hand clothes to school. I now could buy them exactly what they deserved and it is all because James decided to give me a chance, even though I had no experience in that particular department. He took the time out of his day to train me and make sure that I working up to his expectations. For him I am honestly forever grateful.