Episode 20

Championing Inclusion, Ethics & Compliance: Junna Ro, Head of Strategic Legal Initiatives, UC Office of the President

Episode summary

Introduction: 1:09

  • Introducing Junna Ro, Former General Counsel and Compliance Officer at Metromile

Taking a break from legal work and reflecting: 2:22

  • Understanding the importance of taking a break.
  • Reconnecting with your family.
  • Meeting other lawyers of Korean heritage living across the world.
  • What to do when you have no job title.
  • The value of community building.

Book recommendations: 9:23

  • Recognizing that passion doesn’t develop overnight.

Sharing the cultural context of your upbringing: 12:11

  • Growing up in a traditional Korean household in San Francisco.
  • Experiencing discrimination from an early age.

Existing as both a legal outsider and a legal insider: 15:16

  • Overcoming personal challenges and upbringing.
  • Lacking the same connections and role models as your law school peers.
  • The importance of representation and normalizing Asian women in leadership roles.

Finding the courage to speak up in high-pressure moments: 17:34

  • Holding a strong position when you disagree with your boss.
  • Valuing corporate compliance over business-friendly attitudes.
  • Refusing to sacrifice your integrity.
  • Speaking up more and taking up more space.
  • Overcoming the voices in your head that tell you to speak up.

Defining the difference between ethics and compliance in legal: 23:16

  • Establishing compliance guidelines in a highly regulated industry.
  • Maintaining a strong control environment.
  • Building an ethical corporate culture where people feel comfortable speaking up.
  • Developing a passion for diversity and inclusion.
  • Creating a culture of integrity from the top.

Moving into a General Counsel position at Metromile: 26:49

  • Asking the question, “Why not me?”
  • Finding an employer committed to change, innovation, transparency, and fairness.
  • The power of a strong corporate generalist.
  • Steering the ship in a start-up or small company.

Taking a stand against asian hate: 33:55

  • Leading a listening session to respond to nationwide tragedies.
  • Seeing the importance of a leader who recognizes the impacts of trauma.
  • Sharing your thoughts so others can share them too.
  • Allowing young lawyers to see someone who likes like her in a leadership role.

Advising executive teams on taking a stand on social issues: 39:23

  • Deciding who you are as a company and what your values are.
  • Examining what is at the core of who you really are and what you believe in.
  • Making sure all of the right people are present at the table.

Offering advice to leaders about tackling difficult topics: 44:16

  • Leaning in to your convictions and having the courage to do the right thing.

Reflecting on failures: 44:56

  • Discovering the futility of chasing titles and promotions without any personal reflection
  • Making sure to avoid burn-out.

Advice for young lawyers: 46:56

  • Leaving yourself open to taking non-linear career paths
  • Recognizing that the law is not always right and the importance of advocating for change
  • Giving back to the community with your legal skills.

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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Junna Ro
Head of Strategic Legal Initiatives, UC Office of the President

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