“It goes back to my mother and sister who didn’t get to take advantage of the opportunities I had because of timing,” said Zimmerman, who received a basketball scholarship to Georgetown University.
Now, as chair of the Creditors’ Rights, Business Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation Practice Group at Murphy Desmond S.C. in Madison, she’s still pushing to ensure women are treated fairly.
She has organized social events to bring female colleagues at the firm together with women from other professional firms to discuss workplace issues women face. She also mentors young attorneys to help them make career decisions.
In his nomination of Zimmerman, Tim R. Valentyn, president of Murphy Desmond, wrote, “Ginger makes herself available as a resource for young women in smaller firms with everyday questions related to the practice of law and the business of law. She has helped women evaluate career opportunities and in one recent case helped a young lawyer make the connection to land her current job with a local firm.”
She’s a member for the Executive Women’s Golf Association, an organization that teaches women how to play and use golf in business.
“I hope someday some young lawyer is passing on the tradition of helping others and remembers me for having some impact in their life,” said Zimmerman, who is the first woman to be named to the Murphy Desmond board of directors.
While she is pushing to create a collegial law firm, she recognizes the challenge remains as women continue to leave the profession for their families or to follow spouses who’ve been relocated. In fact, when she joined the firm, four women had recently left.
She also recognizes that young lawyers don’t always know about the glass ceilings that were shattered by previous generations.
“They don’t realize the battle that went on before me. On the one hand that’s good, but on the other they don’t recognize the sacrifices,” Zimmerman said. “They aren’t aware of the struggles earlier leaders had to fight.”
Zimmerman received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1985 and joined the firm in 1992.
In the community, she’s a member of the executive leadership committee for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign that is working to raise money for research and awareness of heart disease in women.
—Rosland B. Gammon