To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re featuring our incredibly talented AAPI-identifying Metromilers. AAPI Heritage month is a time to reflect, celebrate and recognize the incredible influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans in our history, culture and achievements. At Metromile, we celebrate our Asian American and Pacific Islander employees and the role they play not just in our organization, but in the world.
We’re excited to spotlight Junna Ro, General Counsel at Metromile.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I was born and raised in San Francisco, and am of Korean descent. I went to UCLA for college and Santa Clara University for law school. I have been practicing law for 24 years and feel blessed to have such an exciting, challenging role here where I am continuously learning, growing, and contributing.
Q: What’s your role at Metromile?
A: I lead the legal team, and see my role as an advisor on legal, regulatory, and compliance matters, helping our partners effectively navigate risk to advance our business goals.
Q: Can you tell us what Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to you?
A: This is a month to reflect on the AAPI contributions to the community, celebrate our heritage, and raise awareness around issues of importance to the AAPI community. This past year we have witnessed an alarming rise in hate crime against the Asian community, and it has been particularly important for me to speak out against this dangerous development and to encourage action. The recent passage of new Asian hate crime legislation is one major step in the right direction to address this issue. Ultimately, in sharing more about the AAPI community, I am hoping that we learn more about each other and discover that beyond our differences, we also have much in common.
Q. What is your favorite cultural tradition?
A: As an American of Korean descent, I love being able to cultivate an interest and appreciation for the Korean language, food, and customs with my children, who as teenagers, are evolving in their own self-discovery. My son recently interviewed me for a project in one of his Asian American studies classes at UCLA, and it was such a special experience to share with him my upbringing and the Korean cultural influences that impacted my life as his research subject. My daughter is a kdrama and kpop fan, and it is so wonderful to see her staying connected to her roots in this way.
Q. What do you hope to see for the Asian community in the future?
A: I’d like to see Asians reach parity in representation in all aspects of American society, and particularly in law and politics. For instance, we are not seeing the same representation that we see of Asians in law school as we do at the law firm partner and general counsel ranks. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 88 percent of lawyers are white, which makes the legal profession one of the least racially diverse professions in the US. Furthermore, a recent Vault/MCCA study on law firm diversity reveals that even though one in four law firm associates is a person of color, they comprise only 10 percent of equity partners. And while Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans now constitute about a third of the population and a fifth of law school graduates, they make up fewer than 7 percent of law firm partners and 9 percent of general counsels of large corporations. Asian American attorneys comprise about 12% of associates but just under 4% of equity partners, and under 4% of the general counsels at Fortune 1000 companies. I’d like to see this change.
Q: What is one activity or dish that you think everyone should try?
A: I think everyone should try to learn to read Korean! It is actually really easy, and has been deemed one of the most scientific languages ever developed.
Q: Do you have a role model in your life? If so, who are they and how have they helped you in your journey?
A: My dad. He has had a longstanding career as an educator and in politics, and is currently retired but pursuing his third career as an artist. He continues to seek out inspiration for his work and to find his unique identity. When I observe his life, I realize that he has always been fully committed to his goals and his passions, and is driven by the desire to have a meaningful impact on those around him. I share the same convictions and continue to be inspired by his example.
Check back soon to meet more Metromilers. If you’re interested in joining Metromile, check out our open positions at https://www.metromile.com/careers/.