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Barbara Stokes: The Innovation Leader of GSH of Alabama

The disaster relief construction industry is considered as one of the toughest playfields to succeed. It is because of the conventional business strategies and processes cannot produce results in the sector due to its complex nature. The industry requirements are not uniform and heavily fluctuating – huge service needs at times, whereas negligible business during a major part of any given year. But, Barbara Stokes reaped success with her Green Structure Homes of Alabama, a Disaster Relief Construction Contractor based in Huntsville. Her vision and innovative thinking helped her to achieve what thought to be impossible for even male executives. She is also credited for proven and inspirational leadership in the highly challenging industry.

Barbara Stokes revamped the company and injected deeper expertise in its services, including designing, building, and delivering along with on-site construction choices in the case of mobile and modular structures throughout the country. Interestingly, the GSH also started giving importance to commercial sector along with residential housing. As the Chief Executive Officer of GSH, she takes care of the overall operations, growth strategies, innovation mission, and regulatory issues with the government. Read more at Business Insider.

Barbara understands the need for innovation in the sector as the customers are more demanding in the recent years. She is particular that the housing solutions for the people should be exhibiting the characteristics of environmentally friendly, state of the art technology, energy-efficient, and highly economical to the pockets of the customers. While adding these attributes to the units produced by the firm, Barbara also ensures that the GSH homes are also providing reduced life-cycle costs: for lower maintenance, reduced energy costs, and minimal insurance premiums. She makes sure that the housing units are highly durable – the units show structural integrity against hurricane up to 130 mph. It also withstands other factors such as mold, mildew, pest, and more. Read more about Barbara Stokes at

Barbara completed her graduation in Physics and Biomedical Engineering from Mercer University in the year 2001. She also studied Technical Communication, Thermodynamics, Manufacturing and Management, and Structures and Properties of Materials during those days. It helped her gaining expert knowledge in project management, construction, project engineering, and more. Before joining GSH in 2011, Barbara worked at Boeing and Pisces Corporation. She is also known for philanthropic efforts and an active volunteer and contributor in the community of Huntsville.


Susan McGalla, a Woman Leader

Gender miscellany is essential for the development and proper progress of every institution and company. Performance is better to enterprises that are open to new ideas, and this can be done by diversifying gender and ethnicity.

Because in many organizations men are on top and high ranking roles, women are often left to lower positions. Some may decide to struggle to be part of the leadership, and those are exceptional women. Susan McGalla is one of the women who refused to be pinned down by gender imbalance. Now, she helps other women get to achieve leadership roles that she came to acquire.

Joining the male-dominated American Eagle Outfitters at a lower rank, McGalla worked hard and smart. It was not a surprise when she landed at the seat of President of the company. After that, she joined several other firms and corporations, and due to her confidence and hard work, she has landed herself on prestigious positions.

Women’s networks have striven to ensure that women leaders are supported and have a chance to share their ideas. They have done their best to prove the capability of women, by giving them opportunities in business. The executive sponsorships can, therefore, remove the gender biases in institutions and companies by creating opportunities for women.

Susan McGalla was born and brought up in a family of men. Her father was a football coach, and she grew up with two elder brothers; and they lived in East Liverpool, Ohio. This life that she had to grow up in forced her to learn that she would always have to struggle and work hard to achieve her desires. When she grew did this practically, doors opened to her. She was also confident, something she learned from her father. Susan is now successful, and she believes that other women can be too.

She went to Mount Union College and graduated with a degree in marketing and business. She is now on the Board of Advisors of the college, and she is also on the boards of the Magee-Womens Hospital Research Institute and Foundation; and HFF Inc. She is married to Stephen McGalla, a wealth manager; and is the founder of P3 Executive Consulting. She consults clients on talent management and operational efficiencies, among others.

Find out more about Susan McGalla:

What you need to know about Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos has been in forefront advocating for the rights of children. She seeks to empower parents to make choices that won’t include confining their children to unfavorable environment regarding education.Since her times in Calvin College, Betsy DeVos has been active in politics driving change and bringing policies that seek to solve major life challenges.Betsy DeVos is blending her influence both in business and in politics, to drive this positive change and reward students with chances of learning in schools of their choices.In business, Betsy DeVos concentrates in investing in innovative businesses that aim at providing lasting solution to social problems. Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick DeVos founded a company that ventures in technology, manufacturing, and production of clean energy.Besides business and politics, Betsy DeVos is a philanthropist. She chairs Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation and other local and national nonprofit organizations such as Kids Hope USA, Mars Hill Bible Church, and also chairs American Federation for Children (AFC) and Alliance for School Choice.Through all her involvement in charities, she has only one motive; to advocate for the educational-choice programme. This program enables parents to take their children to the schools of their choices.Betsy DeVos’ efforts are bearing fruits, and people are starting to take note of its potential. When the program started, Betsy and her husband only aimed at helping few families to take their children to schools of their choices.But now the program has gained popularity nationally, with more states in America embracing the revolution. For instance, Betsy, on interview with Philanthropy, revealed that there are over 250,000 students joining public schools under the educational-choice program.

Birth of educational-choice program

Betsy knowing how hard it is to offer your children’s  best education, especially with low-income earners, decided to offer them a reprieve through scholarships.Though the program was successful, Betsy noted that it wasn’t all inclusive, in that it was not serving its intentioned purpose fully. At the time, she was the chair of Michigan Republican Party. She successfully initiated efforts to reform education policies.Later when the program witnessed so much success, they expanded their influence to include national level, which meant many would benefit from it. And that’s how she got involved with AFC and initiated joined efforts to make education beneficial to all.

Program’s successes

Since its launch, the educational-choice program has been received very well all over America with Florida posting most encouraging results, Betsy notes in an interview with Philanthropy over 50,000 students attending schools of their family’s choice.Besides Florida, Betsy also mentioned Indiana and Louisiana where the program is on its way to enrolling nearly one million students per year.Betsy believes that making education bipartisan will go a long way to benefitting more families all over America.

Educational options

Betsy believes that offering more educational options will be of value to students and their families. These include homeschooling, charter schools, and virtual schools among other options.

About Betsy DeVos

Betsy is the serving as the 11th secretary of education in the United States, and she has been advocating for educational reforms for over three decades now. She’s majorly targeting the helpless parents who have no one to go to.She graduated with a degree in arts at Calvin College. She’s married to philanthropist, community activist, and entrepreneur Dick DeVos.

Susan McGalla and her contribution to gender-diverse leadership

Upon reading a news article on the Phillypurge website titled “How Pittsburg’s Susan McGalla Paved the Way for Women in Leadership” I had a first-time look into Susan McGalla’s success story and how her success serves as a role model for women with leadership abilities. The article starts off with a brief overview of McGalla’s rise to leadership with American Eagle Outfitters which led to her success with other organizations such as the Business Strategy and Creative Development for the Pittsburg Steelers as well as the P3 Executive Consulting which she founded herself. The article then goes on to provide the reader with useful information that can be used to defeat gender barriers to leadership positions and provide women with opportunities to find the same kind of success that Susan McGalla did. One major solution that the article suggests is the use of executive sponsorships which alongside mentorship can be used to make companies more gender-diverse. Ultimately, the article reveals that according to statistics, companies with higher diversity levels tend to outperform others.

Further research into the story of Susan McGalla led me to discover that she was born in East Liverpool, Ohio on May 31st, 1964. Susan was raised by a father who was a football coach and would always strive to push her and her brothers to be the very best that they could be, regardless of their gender. Susan’s parents emphasized hard-work, dedication and not being afraid to present new ideas. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing at Mount Union College, she worked her way up through numerous executive positions at American Eagle Outfitters that were normally run by men.

She eventually worked her way up to the the position of president of the entire company before leaving to establish her own company called P3 Executive Consulting where she worked as a private business consultant for retail and financial industries. She has also held other highly-esteemed executive positions for companies such as HFF Inc. where she was appointed Board of Directors and Wet Seal Inc. where she became Chief Executive Officer. Susan credits a lot her success to her ability to work comfortably with both genders and serves as a role model for women with leadership abilities.