Q&A with SHEro Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands
Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands was first elected to the Summit County Common Pleas Court in 2008, after 19 years in private practice representing clients in civil and criminal matters nationwide. In addition to her assigned civil and criminal docket, Judge Rowlands leads a Supreme Court certified Re-entry Court, providing intensive supervision, support and direction to recently released inmates to promote their law-abiding behavior and social and economic productivity.
For the last three years, Judge Rowlands was selected as an International Association of Women Judges delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She was one of only 20 judges worldwide honored to join the delegations. The collective action at the United Nations was gratifying and supportive of her highest priorities, overcoming barriers to gender equality and ensuring equal access to justice.
Members of the Women's Endowment Fund sat down with Judge Rowlands to learn more about how she became the SHEro she is today.
WEF: What do you think are the most important traits of successful leaders today?
JR: Authenticity, accountability and integrity. We are all drawn to people who embody these traits. I believe they empower us to fight for the things we care about while leading others to join us.
WEF: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women leaders?
JR: The biggest challenges for the next generation of leaders will be the same, regardless of their gender, if we adequately live up to our responsibility to empower women now. When women are empowered, when they are at the table making decisions, they bring changes that will benefit entire systems, societies and nations.
WEF: Who is your SHEro and why?
JR: Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the person I admire most, female or male. As we all know, she forged a path in the law during a time when it was not just dominated by men, it was virtually exclusively so. She persevered in the face of both personal and institutional challenges. I share her belief that a successful life is about turning rejection into opportunity. She said, "So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune."