We Can Do It – Women in Leading Roles

We Can Do It – Women in Leading Roles

Some habits and assumptions die hard. One such is an assumption that there is a clear dividing line between boys and girls. For the first few years of our lives, girls are told not to play with toy soldiers, play soccer, or climb trees because these are only for boys. Similarly, boys cannot play with Barbies, must never cry or make mud cakes.
This devastating trend continues throughout our lives. Boys should like sports, video games, and wear color blue. They are supposed to be “manly”: strong, fierce, protective, and never show their emotions or that they are afraid. On the other hand, girls are not supposed to be interested in computers or technology. They must wear bright colors, always smile, be gentle and caring. And we always stick to our gender roles even though we might excel at something that is “not for us”. We may never know until we try, and all of these assumptions are the thing that makes it so much harder for us to make our dreams come true. One assumption, in particular, always stands out – women are not capable of running businesses. And this assumption is wrong on so many levels. But let’s hear that from the woman who has first-hand experience: Susan McGalla, born and raised in Ohio.
Susan’s father was a local football coach, and she was raised with two brothers. This is one of the factors that influenced her development, as most of the gender stereotypes were not present in her family. She was not seen as a daughter, a girl, but as a person. Growing up as such, along with her parents’ encouragement to work hard and present her ideas no matter the audience, made her the strong, capable and confident person she is today. And these traits are the ones that helped her most in conquering the business world.
She began her career at Joseph Horne Company and worked there from 1986 to 1994, where she worked in various managerial and marketing positions. In 1994, she joined American Eagle Outfitters. At the time, American Eagle was predominantly a male company, with no women on board or in executive positions. It wasn’t that they didn’t like women in business; it was that they never met one as capable and creative as Susan. Her professional manner definitely helped her in her pursues. One of the reasons she worked very hard on her job was just that. No one treated her based on her gender. It was her ideas what they counted. Those great ideas, along with a lot of hard work, brought her the position of Chief Merchandising Officer and President of American Eagle Outfitters.
As McGalla says on cbslocal, she considers herself her own person, first and foremost. In her book, gender comes second, but her accomplishments must not be ignored. She is a successful businesswoman and strives toward the world where a person is a person, regardless of gender, and she thinks that all should be valued based on their ideas and capabilities. Also, as we all know, all great things come when opposite genders work together to create something new, beautiful, and unique.

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