The Fellowship Blog / February 11, 2020

A Celebration of Black History Month: Getting to Know The ELC’s Interim CEO Crystal E. Ashby


Crystal E. Ashby is an accomplished senior executive, board member and lawyer with more than 33 years of leadership success, significantly in the energy sector. She was most recently vice chair of The ELC. Her corporate leadership experience was gained over a twenty-two-year career with BP where her roles spanned government and external affairs, law, compliance and ethics, university relations and retail.

Q: Tell us about your history with The ELC

A: My association with The ELC goes back more years than I would like to admit. I have such a strong affinity for this organization, our members, and its purpose and mission. I am honored to have this opportunity to help The ELC pursue its Strategic Vision 2021 and commitment to excellence, particularly as we look towards our 35th anniversary in 2021.

Q: You often quote an African proverb, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” When did you first start using this quote and what sparked it?

A: I think of it often when I am in situations where teams are trying to come together and achieve things. Coming to ELC in this role, at this particular time in our history, I recognized that it conveyed directionally, what we are doing – that is why I chose to use it now.

Q: Prior to becoming the Interim President and CEO at The ELC, in your more than 30 year career as a litigator, commercial attorney, and then Executive Vice President at BP, what has been your greatest professional accomplishment?

A: Continuing to support and advance the college students that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years. My role for BP as the Executive Sponsor to the University of Michigan College of Engineering and continuing as the Executive Sponsor to the Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Energy & Science (MUSES) at Michigan gives me an opportunity to continue to impact our future through that engagement with our young, bright minds.  I learn more from them than they do from me.  But that may be it!

Q: Is it better to be perfect and late OR good and on time? Why?

A: Being late can have lasting consequences, and usually a knock-on effect that can impact other phases of a project or someone else’s time, which is very precious. I don’t want to say we shouldn’t strive for perfection, but I did learn at a certain point in my career that sometimes the 80/20 rule is what you have to go with!

Q: How do you define professional success?

A: It’s having any opportunity to do extraordinary work that will have an impact beyond me.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to those coming up the pipeline what would it be?

A: Believe in yourself and listen to your own voice!