Over the next four weeks, we are going to introduce you to four of central Ohio’s most “Remarkable Women.” These women were selected from more than 200 submissions that you — our viewers — sent to us in December. 

Colleen Marshall interviewed our first “Remarkable Woman,” a woman who sits on the bench — held a seat on City Council — and is a leader in the arts and social services. 

But, as Colleen reveals, Judge Eileen Paley was surprised by this honor. Paley imparts, “When I first found out I was kind of uncomfortable, really uncomfortable I have to say.”

But Franklin County Municipal Judge Eileen Paley got used to the idea, stating, “It’s nice to be recognized when you’ve worked and been in the community as long as I have, to see that people are noticing.”

She’s been a lawyer for more than 30 years — and was a member of Columbus City Council. According to Paley, “I used to tell people I have that big “L” on my forehead and it doesn’t mean loser, it means listener and so people would talk to me and then I would get up and do something about it.”

Judge Paley remembers listening in to a meeting of citizens with disabilities. “After the meeting, I said ‘what is your biggest gripe,’ and they said ‘well we can’t reach the meters.’ And I go, ‘what do you mean you can’t reach the meters?’ and they said, ‘the parking meters are too high. We can drive but we can’t see the meters’ and I said, ‘well that’s kind of easy,’ so I went back to public service and I said, ‘can you cut the meter in half,’ and they’re like, ‘yeah’ so that’s why the meters are now cut in half,” Paley explains.

Paley listens and then acts — and the city is better for it.  She’s been on the Columbus Arts Council and says whether it’s the symphony, opera, ballet or theater there should never be an empty seat. “If there is an empty seat, we need to make them accessible to others, especially children and seniors,” says Paley.   

And, she’s tackled tough problems. After taking the bench she got a domestic violence case involving a same-sex couple. She knew domestic violence counseling was gender-based. Paley remembers, “I’m sure there is something out there and we found out there wasn’t, anywhere in the world.” So she helped develop an LGBT domestic violence intervention program. “I am really proud of that, and the people that have graduated from it have said they really appreciated the fact that they had something that was made for them,” states Paley.

She was named an emerging leader by the Columbus Jewish Women’s Council. Women who she says target local issues. According to Paley, “They just put in a computer lab at the homeless shelter, they were the forefront of the shaken baby syndrome clinic, these are some really great women who do great things.”

Eileen Paley is a woman who does great things, including mentoring young women and giving them great advice. Paley sums it up like this, “You are who you are — don’t ever apologize for that and as long as you can get up the next day or go to bed at night and say I did a good job —that’s all that really matters.”