In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are highlighting compelling stories from DA employees and what inspired them to pursue a career in public service.
Meet Jerrilyn Malana, who serves as Chief Deputy District Attorney for Human Resources at the San Diego County DA’s Office, where she is responsible for the overall management of the human resources function for the office. With approximately 1,000 employees, we are the largest legal employer in the County of San Diego and she and her team of HR professionals handle a wide range of areas including administration, recruitment, hiring, retention, performance management, leaves, compensation, payroll, HRIS, staff training, employee programs, etc. Jerrilyn also serves as the office liaison to County Counsel’s Office on civil matters, and on District Attorney Summer Stephan’s executive team.
Why did you decide to work at the DA’s Office?
“I joined the DA’s Office as an opportunity to enter public service after spending many years in the private sector. Prior to the DA’s Office, I was a shareholder (partner) at a global employment law firm for nearly 17 years. I represented Fortune 500 clients and local businesses in all types of employment-related litigation including claims for discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage & hour violations. My practice also included advice and training for employers to avoid employment-related claims. However, throughout my career, I had made community service and giving back as priorities. I viewed joining the DA’s Office as the perfect transition when I was looking to make a career change as the DA’s Office serves the public and has strong community outreach programs. I had been very active with various bar associations and community organizations, and I had served as President of the San Diego County Bar Association. So, over the years, I had the pleasure of meeting so many DDAs and learning more about the DA’s Office. The mission and values of the DA’s Office really resonated with me. I also knew that equity, diversity, and inclusion were priorities, and that was a great fit for me as I had been working on these issues in the legal profession for many years including with the State Bar of California. Also, prior to becoming an attorney, I worked as an HR professional for several years. So, joining the DA’s Office is really coming full circle for me. I’m proud to support our dedicated and hardworking DA employees who serve the public and keep our communities safe.”
Why is AAPI Heritage Month important to you?
“AAPI Month is important to me as it celebrates the diverse history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the growth and success of our communities and our nation. It also provides positive and uplifting “visibility” to our diverse AAPI community. The AAPI community represents multiple countries, ethnicities, and backgrounds; and we don’t belong to a monolithic culture. Our diversity is beautifully represented in our unique cultures which can be celebrated by sharing our history, language, food, music, traditions, and so much more. Moreover, through storytelling, the AAPI community can both be seen and heard. By raising such visibility paired with advocacy, we can help to dismantle AAPI stereotypes and create change, which is so important in our current social climate.”
Read more stories for AAPI Heritage Month: