Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch has been described as shy around those she doesn’t know well. But on Wednesday she opened up to a room full of judges and lawyers to share some stories that illustrate her remarkable life’s journey.

The 89-year-old judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals entered the practice of law at a time when no women sat on juries in the state. She went on to become the state’s first woman Superior Court judge and only the third woman in the nation’s history to serve as a federal court of appeals judge.