International Women’s Day event with Arizona Supreme Court Justice Timmer highlighted ways women can empower each other for more inclusion in the workplace through “Balance for Better.”
Arizona’s sole female Supreme Court Justice Ann Scott Timmer shared powerful words of advice at a speaking engagement for 200 SRP employees in March 2019: “You can’t let fear hold you back.”
The event was arranged in honor of International Women’s Day by two of the 10 employee interest groups at SRP, the Women’s Interest Network (WIN) and Gen Next. Echoing the 2019 International Women’s Day theme “Balance for Better,” Timmer shared her experiences as a mother, an attorney and a judge in Arizona’s highest court.
Timmer shared one key part of her success began at home with her family. She said, “‘Do your best’ was always the mantra growing up, and it was ingrained in my household.”
Even before she was named one of only four women ever to serve on the Arizona Supreme Court, Timmer was blazing trails, especially in confidence. She found that it’s all about who your surround yourself with and how you perform.
“We all try to be confident, right?” she asked the audience. “There are times when we all think, ‘I’m pretending to be who I am.’”
When faced with circumstances that would be intimidating, Timmer advised that the best way to respond is to tell yourself, “I deserve to be here, I know what I am doing, I’ve got a lot to learn, but I am certainly capable of doing so.”
One of Timmer’s passions is working with young women in the community. She noted at the event that while women have made incredible strides since she began her career, they still have a long way to go in reaching equality.
“It’s a frustration to me that young women aren’t applying for things,” she said. “I find that young women aren’t going up the ranks as we all expected them to. Women have been in college and professional settings 50-50 with men for years, but yet they’re not at the top of organizations as many people thought.”
When asked about being encouraged to apply for her position on Arizona Court of Appeals in 2000, Timmer said, “I never forgot that someone gave me that nudge, because it was important to me not only to have that respect, but to even think I could do something like that. I’ve tried to pass that on to people, and I affirmatively call and tell women, ‘You should apply for the court. You would be good.’”
Reaching out is a powerful way men and women can elevate an opportunity to someone they might have never imagined themselves in.
“A lot of time women, and men for that matter, hold themselves back and just need that little push by someone else that thinks you could do that,” Timmer added.
Her advice: “I’d like to see women take more risks and learn how to self-promote, which is very difficult to learn. But that’s how you get recognized for the work you do — you tell people how hard you are working.”
Another issue Timmer hears a lot about while in the community, especially with high-school-aged women, is the lack of diversity on the court. Often she is asked when the number of women will equal the amount of men on the bench.
“It’s important to have the perspective of women on the court,” she said. “There is a difference, and I think everyone adds something. … The other thing, and I wonder if it’s almost bigger, is what does the community see?”
As for her future plans, Timmer said she’s enjoying her role on the Arizona Supreme Court and eyeing opportunities to give back to the state.
“I’m in a place now where I can do things more for the community,” she added. “I’m motivated to take what I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had to help other people in service to our community.”
About SRP employee interest groups: Formed in 2005, WIN provides networking and career development. Aimed at advancing women across SRP, the group hosts events that enrich the experience of employees with training and volunteer opportunities. Gen Next was formed in 2010 to provide opportunities for young professionals to advance their careers and grow their professional skillset through training and networking events.
Learn more about how SRP supports the community at srpcares.com.