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Introducing our Values: Be Intellectually Persistent

We spent the spring and early summer months at Metromile refreshing our values to make sure they were aligned with who we are, the work we’re doing, and the future we’re building. The end result? Five updated value statements that express how we operate and treat each other:

  • Create fiercely loyal customers.
  • Invent the future
  • Be intellectually persistent
  • Be outcome oriented
  • Nurture diversity, inclusion, and belonging

When we put our values in writing and commit to them, we’re saying something about what’s important to us as an organization, but also what’s important to our stakeholders, customers, and employees.

The best way to introduce our values is to let Metromilers speak for themselves. After all, values don’t mean much without the people who believe in them.

Metromile Values: Be Intellectually Persistent

Be Intellectually Persistent

“We obsessively ask why,” said Senior Principal User Researcher Brandi Smith. “I really want to understand at a user level, what are the problems that they’re having? Why is that a problem? Why do they ask for a particular solution?”

The desire to understand runs deep at Metromile. Intellectual persistence means not taking things at face value.

“As adults, we don’t always hold onto the curiosity and persistence we had as kids. We assume that it’s ‘just always been like that’ so it must be right,” said Megan Kurin, a Senior Process Manager at Metromile. “We need to ask why and be persistent enough to know the answer inside and out. We need to try better ways and accept that just because something was always done one way doesn’t mean it can’t be done better another way.”

That curiosity helps not just keep products up-to-date and customers happy, it drives Metromile’s internal culture too.

“It’s good to work with such smart engineers, product owners, people across the company they’re very competitive in a way that encourages you,” said Senior Software Engineer Prachi Shah. “They know what’s going on in the industry, there are so many different perspectives. All of that is very creative, it stimulates your mind.”

“Being intellectually persistent means you’re not just checking tasks off of your to-do list, “ said Senior Customer Experience Analyst Paige Gilmore. “You’re thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish longer term, you’re ok with not succeeding 100% every time, and you’re adjusting how you work based on results. Keeping this in mind makes us more likely to accomplish our best work.”

No one at Metromile – or any company for that matter – sits down in front of their computer and thinks: Today, I’m going to be intellectually persistent. But at Metromile, that’s part of our values because it’s part of our culture. It comes from the great minds who work here, their commitment to improvement, innovation, and understanding.


Thanks for sharing your perspective, Metromilers. Look out for more on the other four values.

Metromile Embraces No Meeting Days

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift to work from home, meetings could overwhelm a typical workday and prevent individual time to think and focus. Now, remote work has only exacerbated the problem for employees and led to “Zoom fatigue” and burnout across the country. 

To help address this problem, Metromile’s People team instituted a few No Meeting Days (NMDs) during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Metromile employees reacted with overwhelming support of NMDs. Accounting Manager, Romain Bauer, says that the NMDs offered him “a break from Zoom and time to focus on work without too many distractions.” 

No Meeting Days | Metromile

Positive employee feedback spurred the People team to formally establish NMDs on the first and third Friday of every month. On these Fridays, “employees are given the autonomy and flexibility to choose what they want to do with their time, instead of structuring their days around company or team meetings,” Lindsay Orr, Director of People, explains. 

Lindsay outlined how having a company-wide initiative lets employees prioritize what is important to them during their workday. That might be going on a walk in the middle of the day, spending extra time preparing lunch, taking a deep dive into a project without interruption, or having a social catch-up with colleagues. 

Having pre-set NMDs allows people to plan ahead and encourages employees to take that day off if they prefer, without feeling like they will miss out on anything – whether key team events or company-wide meetings. These days also give employees time to focus on their mental health and offer a day to reset before the next work week. 

Brandon Loyd, Director of Product Management, uses NMDs to catch up on product requirement documents and look ahead at upcoming roadmap items. For Brandon, these days are also a reminder that Zoom meetings are not always the best way to communicate or collaborate with others. “I often find myself resolving open questions and making decisions much faster through internal wiki pages or Slack,” Brandon explains. 

While NMDs are designed to encourage more reflection, focus, and reset time, our customer experience and sales teams are still available as usual on these days to support our customers and prospects. As part of our effort to ensure that all employees – including our customer-facing teams – have time to reset, all Metromilers now have two additional floating holidays to use at their discretion. 

Shannon Shafer, Director of Customer Experience, said one of the things she loves about Metromile is how much the company supports inclusivity, regardless of role or title. 

“As a long-time CX leader, I’m passionate about ensuring the productivity and wellbeing of everyone on my team. My leaders have let me know they love the NMDs, and the floating holidays have really been a boost to our customer-facing team members.”

Metromilers are regularly reminded of NMDs but, of course, can still schedule time that day if they want to catch up with their teams, socialize, or reflect on their week with others. As Lindsay highlights, “the goal is to give employees the freedom and space to choose how they want to spend their workday – whatever that is.”

Introducing our Values: Be Outcome Oriented

We spent the spring and early summer months at Metromile refreshing our values to make sure they were aligned with who we are, the work we’re doing, and the future we’re building. The end result? Five updated value statements that express how we operate and treat each other:

  • Create fiercely loyal customers.
  • Invent the future
  • Be intellectually persistent
  • Be outcome oriented
  • Nurture diversity, inclusion, and belonging

When we put our values in writing and commit to them, we’re saying something about what’s important to us as an organization, but also what’s important to our stakeholders, customers, and employees.

The best way to introduce our values is to let Metromilers speak for themselves. After all, values don’t mean much without the people who believe in them.

Metromile Values: Be Outcome Oriented

Be Outcome Oriented 

Brandie Smith, Senior Principal User Researcher, has been around long enough to see former versions of Metromile’s values. “Be outcome oriented” in particular, she said, represents a “mind shift” for Metromile.

“I think it’s going to set us up on a really helpful path. It offers much more flexibility to make adjustments if we need to rather than just stay the course to get it done,” Brandie said. “It’s not so much about what we’re building; it’s more about how we’re solving the problem to get the outcome we desire.”

Customer Experience (CX) Manager Ti-Jael Stafford advanced her career with the customer service team during her time with Metromile, and it’s given her historical context for how Metromile’s values have evolved over the years. When Ti-Jael started as a CX Representative more than three years ago, Metromile had a firm “penalty miles” policy that didn’t allow as much flexibility for customers. The process was updated to be more tailored and fair, and eventually, the Pulse device was updated to better prevent penalty miles from being applied to a customer’s account at all.

“The old policy was enforced mostly through an automated process, and updating it involved changing how we connected with the customer, and eventually the device itself. It would have been easier to only update the policy without changing the device itself,” she said. “But being outcome oriented means that we value and prioritize follow-through, not empty promises or half-finished projects. It’s not enough to have a great idea and create a plan, that plan must be executed and completed. And in this case, it was a big win for our customers.”

Senior People Operations Manager, April Slater says it speaks to confidence in each other and the process. “This value shows a lot of trust in the people and managers we hire. It focuses on the outcome, not the tasks that get us there—so we know it’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and ultimately get to the outcome we’re looking for.”

Senior Process Manager Megan Kurin sees being outcome oriented as propelling Metromile’s other values forward.

“We have to have those end goals in mind every day when we’re making decisions,” Megan said. “It’s just all woven together.” 


Thanks for sharing your perspective, Metromilers. Want to read more? Check out what Metromilers share about our Nurture Diversity, Inclusivity, and Belonging value, and look out for more on the other values soon.

Introducing our Values: Nurture Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging

We spent the spring and early summer months at Metromile refreshing our values to make sure they were aligned with who we are, the work we’re doing, and the future we’re building. The end result? Five updated value statements that express how we operate and treat each other:

  • Create fiercely loyal customers.
  • Invent the future
  • Be intellectually persistent
  • Be outcome oriented
  • Nurture diversity, inclusion, and belonging

When we put our values in writing and commit to them, we’re saying something about what’s important to us as an organization, but also what’s important to our stakeholders, customers, and employees.

The best way to introduce our values is to let Metromilers speak for themselves. After all, values don’t mean much without the people who believe in them.

Metromile Values: Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Nurture Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

“I’ve never worked at a company that is so involved in making sure that there is equality across the board…that there are women represented in leadership, that there are other backgrounds represented in leadership.”

Megan Kurin is a Senior Process Manager at Metromile. She works with Enterprise customers  – often other insurers – who are interested in licensing Metromile’s technology. Megan works across a wide variety of departments and outside organizations, and is a self-described ‘insurance geek.’

“Metromilers really do look at people from the work product that they do versus who they are,” Megan said. “I think that’s really important, especially as a woman in the insurance industry, I feel like I can always belong. I feel like I could always speak up and have a voice.”  

For Brandie Smith, a Senior Principal User Researcher at Metromile, the belonging part of diversity, inclusion, and belonging stands out.

“The company found it so important to create environments where everyone feels like they belong. That to me is really important to commit to as a company value because if it’s not happening, we can point to that value and say, ‘it needs to happen.’”

Brandie also appreciates that everyone is held accountable for living our diversity, inclusion, and belonging value.“ Rather than leaving it up to one person to fight against it, we have this stake in the ground. It shows it’s important to us and we expect everybody to contribute.”

Having that stake in the ground is key, Megan said, not just as a company goal, but as a part of daily work.

“There are always groups that are driving more conversations about it. It’s easier because it’s just present every day. I don’t always have to be thinking, ‘okay, how do we get more women in leadership’? Or ‘how do we get more backgrounds in leadership’? We have a team that consistently works to make sure it stays that way and that we continue to get better and learn more.”

For Kailee Rackham-Wojtasek, a Customer Experience Trainer at Metromile, it’s clear that diversity, inclusion, and belonging are central to Metromile’s culture.

“We are a united front. I’ve worked at a lot of places which profess to have strong culture and values, but there is no company-wide alignment on those values. I never have any doubt that I can reach out to a Metromiler with my questions or curiosities.”

Metromile Recruiter Brigitte Garay agrees, saying “Because we understand the value that everyone brings regardless of age, race, sexual orientation etc., nurturing, diversity, inclusion, and belonging is who we are daily.”

“It’s literally in the fabric of being a Metromiler”

* * *

Thanks for sharing your perspective, Metromilers. Look out for more on the other four values.

Why I Work at Metromile: Choosing Meaningful Work

Metromile was Matt Stephens’s first job out of college. His degree in computer science from the University of Michigan gave him options, he said. He looked for jobs in cities he’d like to live in—Boston, L.A., or San Francisco—before accepting the engineering role at Metromile.

“When I interviewed, I thought that the people I spoke to at Metromile, the people who I ended up working with, were far and away the best team that I had talked to,” he said.

Five years and a couple of promotions later, Matt, who’s based in Boston, is a senior iOS mobile developer and also serves as the Squad Lead, relaying updates from the mobile team and coordinating with the rest of the organization.

“One thing we talk about a lot on the mobile team is the ‘fiercely loyal customer’ goal,” Matt said. “What the apps do is they create brand awareness—if you’re in the app store and you’re looking for car insurance apps, we’re among the top results—and I think of myself as adding that extra bit of brand loyalty that can turn a potential user into a joining member of Metromile.” 

Part of building a “fiercely loyal customer” is providing a high-quality product. That motivates Matt to keep innovating and tweaking to deliver on those expectations.

“Just the act of designing and building something out, that’s something I’ve always liked,” he said. “It’s a motivator for me, seeing something I put a lot of hours and thought into actually be usable, it’s a kind of instant gratification. It’s gravy that, working here, it often goes directly to the users.”

That commitment to quality is a feature of the Boston Metromile office, Matt said, along with a warm culture. This is true even now with the whole office working remotely.

“We have a good culture of welcoming people to the Boston office. We’ve had people move to Boston from San Francisco, and every time someone pipes up in the Boston Slack channel to say hello, make introductions.”

Metromile is Matt’s first career job, but it wasn’t his only interview. Metromile stood out because it was clear Matt would get to do meaningful work that he could own.

“At some of the bigger companies, you get the feeling you’re not going to be a very important member of the team. They have 3,000 engineers and they’re hiring for a team that’s going to build out a tiny feature of a very narrowly used product,” he said. “For some people, they want the prestige of that big name on their resume, but none of that really resonated with me. After those big tech interviews, I knew I wanted to be on a team that was small, but doing impactful work.”

It’s sometimes hard to gauge company culture from the interview process, but Matt knew Metromile was where he wanted to be.

“If you like working on your team, that’s crucial,” he said. “Especially on the mobile team, it’s a highly collaborative team. I was the new hire, fresh out of college. They were all eager to teach me the right way to do things, rather than being really protective of their own knowledge. They were more concerned with making sure that I had the tools necessary to do my job well. Ultimately when everyone’s a high-level contributor, it’s better for the entire team than when one superstar is carrying all the weight”

Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Swapnali Kulkarni

Swapnali Kulkarni was looking for a new role where she could see the impact of her work more clearly, one where things moved a little quicker. Working for a 15,000-person healthcare company, she felt removed from the users implementing her software.

“These projects were elaborate one-year projects that, by the time they went online, you’d have started working on something else. I didn’t really feel like I was making a change. I felt like I was not being seen,” Swapnali said. “I was looking for a smaller company where I’d be able to truly see the impact of my work and grow in my understanding of the customer experience.”

At Metromile, Swapnali’s role is fundamental to the business model, and the ways her contributions add to Metromile’s success are clear.

To provide drivers an insurance quote with Metromile, it helps to know how many miles you drive. But most people don’t know how many miles they drive, so Swapnali helped develop Ride Along™ for drivers who aren’t already Metromile customers.  

“We developed the Ride Along feature for people to get a quote. You just download the app, and it uses the data from a few weeks of your driving to give you an estimate of your monthly insurance cost,” she said. “I joined the company in December of 2019, and Ride Along started development in February 2020. I was more or less the only backend engineer supporting that project until near its release in June of that year. Even the CEO was talking about that feature! People are seeing what I’m working on in a way they didn’t before.”

Not only did she jump headfirst into challenging and high-visibility work, but she was also getting the kind of immediate feedback she’d been searching for.

“The customer experience teams were going out and working with actual customers and coming back with suggestions,” Swapnali said. “They’d suggest tracking slightly different data points, different tweaks we could make to improve the feature; I was getting that feedback almost immediately. It gave me a real sense of ownership.” 

The speed of change, feedback, and improvement at Metromile keep Swapnali on her toes, she said. Engineers can release updates to features as often as every week and get feedback from users immediately.

“That’s something that excites me as an engineer because it keeps me feeling challenged, looking for ways to make the product better.”

The speed and efficiency of product updates keep Metromilers happy and challenged at work, and it directly contributes to a better product and customer experience. Because engineers get user feedback so quickly, they’re able to make real-time improvements to products. 

At Metromile, Swapnali said she feels like a true contributor to her team’s successes. It’s gratifying to know you’ve improved a product in a tangible and measurable way, she said.

“I feel like my team and my projects are a very big pillar of what Metromile is. Potential customers first come in and experience my project. It’s what makes them decide if they want Metromile or not,” she said. “The price of the quote obviously matters, but so does the experience, the quote process. It’s so easy to uninstall an app if you have a bad experience; it’s the small things that can really matter when you have to make a decision. I feel that we’re the face of the company.”

Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Bella Li

Three years ago, Bella Li was one of Metromile’s first customer success engineers. She learned the ins and outs of the industry by developing improvements to Metromile’s products based on customer feedback that wasn’t included in the product roadmap.

“I gradually learned all the systems step-by-step. Insurance is a big product, more complicated than it looks from a customer standpoint,” Bella said. “I was a firefighter — resolving issues and working on corner cases. Later on, I got more into the product, and I got interested in writing more code, so now I’m a backend engineer.”

Bella had aspirations of working in the tech industry before she joined Metromile. The combination of a traditional product like insurance and the “techie” culture and product delivery made Metromile stand out.

“All the engineers are super friendly and willing to share. They helped me to ramp up and understand the product. I understood insurance, I have car insurance, but I didn’t know anything about insurance products,” she said. “So, learning all that was very interesting. And there’s the tech side of it, too, like the Metromile Pulse device that counts your mileage and can even help you find your car if it’s lost or stolen! Our product is smarter than traditional insurance offerings. Every insurance should have that.”

By design, the culture at Metromile encourages Metromilers to speak up, share ideas, and offer suggestions. It’s that culture that helped Bella go from customer success to backend engineer.

“As I’m getting more familiar with the products, I’ll give feedback to our project manager about things we can do differently or better, like how we’re expanding into new states. We have taken a lot of experience from the past forward,” Bella said. “They take that feedback and build it in as we’re expanding. It pushes me too; there are always new ways to look at things. I get bored if I’m doing the same thing all the time, so getting to learn new things and grow is really great.”  

A sense of ownership of projects and a tangible stake in company outcomes is key to employee satisfaction; Bella knows this first hand. Her previous roles at much larger companies were more “boundary-defined” without much room to go outside those boundaries.

“You feel like you’re just working on these small sections; you never get to see the larger picture. When you work on something, it’s not yours. You’re working on a very small part of a big team project,” she said. “At Metromile, it’s different. You have tasks, yes, but the boundaries aren’t so rigid; you can [reach] out in different places to solve the problem. I feel a real sense of ownership over the things I’m working on.”

While Bella has become a backend engineer, she continues the Metromile tradition of knowledge sharing and support.

“I still hear from people doing the customer success tickets; if they get stuck, they’ll come to me. I’m very happy to share and help them,” she said. “I feel like I can be a translator to the other engineers now, too. There are lots of codes and acronyms, so customer success can sometimes sound like another language. Sharing that knowledge is my favorite part of the job. I often realize that I know more than I thought.”

We’re building a community of drivers who come to Metromile for the savings and stay for the experience. Our diverse team combines the best of Silicon Valley technologists with veterans from Fortune 500 insurers and financial services giants focused on using technology to reinvent insurance as a tool for financial resiliency.

Check out open positions at Metromile or give our pay-per-mile auto insurance a try by taking a free Ride Along™ trial from the Metromile app.

Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Prachi Shah

Three months after Prachi Shah joined Metromile, the company transitioned to remote work in response to COVID-19. At many companies, the change would have made getting to know teammates and building strong relationships tougher. But according to Prachi, that was not the case at Metromile.

“I feel connected with my colleagues as we have built trust and established effective communication, even though it’s all done during remote work. When we were in the middle of the pandemic, many employees were stressed, which was impacting their mental health. Metromilers did their best to stay connected as well as establish a culture of positivity and motivation during those tough times,” she said. “I think that kept us going because, while we were social-distanced, we had our team.”

Prachi has been a software engineer and a technical leader for more than 11 years, primarily working at financial-technology firms. After spending many years in fintech, she wanted some change, she said. When she found Metromile, “it just clicked, and everything worked out very well.”

Prachi is a senior software engineer working on the quote experience team. From the moment you visit Metromile.com and start a quote through enrolling in a policy, you are interacting with the product Prachi has built. She is also working on expanding Metromile’s footprint, leading efforts to expand the quote experience to more states. 

“It’s a very high visibility, high-pressure team. For me, this is great because that’s how I naturally operate, and so I fit in very well. I’m working at my highest potential, and I know I can do better, so I have to keep on learning,” Prachi said. “At the end of the day, when I do meaningful work and make an impact, then I’m the happiest, and I have a sense of fulfillment.”

The culture at Metromile contributes to a great work environment for employees and measurably better products and services, Prachi said. Teams have evolved to break down traditional silos, so the best ideas make it into production.

“Metromile has a great mix of talented individuals who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas. I work with individuals who are adaptable, open-minded, understand priorities and always go that extra mile for our customers. I think that is the biggest value of Metromile: smart thinkers and leaders add valuable contributions to our products and services.”

For Prachi, the size and operating norms of the company also make a difference. 

“Compared to some bigger firms, working at Metromile is different because I not only solve good technical challenges, but I learned the domain very well and became a subject matter expert,” she said.

As Prachi looks toward her two-year anniversary with Metromile, summing up her experience and advice for others came naturally to her.

“If you want to level up, solve interesting problems, and contribute to products that make a difference, then the whole culture at Metromile is set up for you to do that. Metromilers have plenty of chances to make meaningful decisions, showcase their work, and get the required support and appreciation from their peers. No idea is rejected. Everyone’s perspective and ideas are listened to.” 

We’re building a community of drivers who come to Metromile for the savings and stay for the experience. Our diverse team combines the best of Silicon Valley technologists with veterans from Fortune 500 insurers and financial services giants focused on using technology to reinvent insurance as a tool for financial resiliency.

Check out open positions at Metromile or give our pay-per-mile auto insurance a try by taking a free Ride Along™ trial from the Metromile app.

Why I Work at Metromile: Behind the Scenes with Khalal Walker

Metromile aims to put people first. We’re focused on using data science, customer-centric design, and the latest technology to reimagine insurance and make it more affordable, equitable, and flexible.

Our data scientists, engineers, and technologists are obsessed with savings, service, and features that drivers will actually want to use — not buzzwords like disruption, innovation, or other “techie” branding.

For Khalal Walker, a senior software engineer, the realization he didn’t like coding all that much had a big impact on the start of his career. Khalal said he was halfway through his degree program at Jackson State University when the realization struck.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to find a job that has nothing to do with coding.’ I got my first role out of college as a software QA tester, testing code that developers wrote to make sure it matches requirements,” Khalal said. “After a few years of that, I didn’t feel challenged in the role. It was government work, and the iterations were a lot slower. I started looking somewhere else because I wanted to be on a team that was more agile, moved faster, and I came across Metromile.” 

That desire for a challenge was met in his role as a front-end engineer in Metromile’s quote and enroll platform. Anyone who’s seen a Metromile ad or found their way to getting an insurance quote has interacted with that platform. Khalal’s role is to make it easier to become a member of the Metromile community. He develops and tests changes to the platform to see how they impact the user experience and optimize the experience. 

“People say first impressions are everything, and this is the piece of software seen by pretty much everyone who has a policy with Metromile or even just checked us out. They’ve all touched this software,” Khalal said. “I think we play a big role in things… at larger companies, people don’t always feel like they’re affecting the bottom line of the company. But everyone sees this code; it’s very impactful. To have that amount of visibility within a company and outside it, it’s cool.”

But a career is made up of more than the tasks and projects that take up a day’s work. At Metromile, it’s the culture and the people who are just as important as the product and software itself.

“There are a lot of bright people at Metromile, and they’re so willing to answer questions, to share information,” Khalal said. “It’s probably one of the biggest things I enjoy, that work culture that encourages asking questions and gaining more information. Some companies are really competitive, where questions are seen as weak, or you’ll be passed over for promotion if you don’t know some piece of information.”

It was the company culture that brought Khalal back to Metromile recently. 

When a friend joined a startup that helps make it easier to donate stocks to nonprofits, Khalal saw it as his chance to “do some societal good.” But after three months, he knew it wasn’t the right fit.

“When I was contemplating leaving, I wasn’t applying anywhere else; I just wanted to go back to Metromile,” he said. “When you go to a smaller startup, funding, benefits, the people you work with, the working hours, they’re different.”

Khalal wanted the “different” he’d experienced at Metromile.

“All of us on the front-end team have a meeting every Friday that’s just 30 minutes, but it’s not about work; we just catch up. It’s a virtual happy hour; we just chat about life, how things are going,” he said. “I think those things are really important because we’re not robots, where the only conversations that we have are work-related. We’re still people. A company is made up of people first.”

We’re building a community of drivers who come to Metromile for the savings and stay for the experience. Our diverse team combines the best of Silicon Valley technologists with veterans from Fortune 500 insurers and financial services giants focused on using technology to reinvent insurance as a tool for financial resiliency.

Check out open positions at Metromile or give our pay-per-mile auto insurance a try by taking a free Ride Along™ trial from the Metromile app.

AAPI Heritage Month Employee Spotlight: Junna Ro

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. 

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