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July 21, 2021

New Independence executive tasked with expanding diversity initiatives

Crystal E. Ashby joins the health insurer after heading a nonprofit that develops Black business leaders

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Independence Crystal Ashby Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Independence Health Group has hired Crystal E. Ashby to serve as executive vice president and chief people officer.

Independence Health Group has hired a longtime corporate executive with a background in leading diversity and inclusion initiatives to oversee its human resources division. 

Crystal E. Ashby has been appointed executive vice president and chief people officer. She has joined Independence after serving as the first female interim president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization that supports the development of Black executives. 

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Ashby will take the reins following the July retirement of Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jeanie Heffernan, who helped launch Independence's diversity, equity and inclusion strategy after her arrival in 2011. 

Crystal Ashby IndependenceCourtesy/Independence

Crystal E. Ashby

"Crystal's experience will allow us to continue building upon the strong foundation and culture of engagement and inclusivity Jeanie helped us create at Independence over the last decade," Independence CEO Gregory E. Deavens said. "Crystal's business acumen, compassionate advocacy for people and strong leadership through times of change, make her a perfect fit for this role at Independence." 

Ashby also spent 22 years at BP, where she began in 1993 as a commercial attorney. She advanced to serve as an executive vice president who oversaw public affairs and university partnerships. The role required her to building relationships with key partners and boost talent recruitment. 

"I am thrilled to join the Independence team, where I will focus on fostering empowerment and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels, key values which have been critical throughout my career, and which I am extremely passionate about," Ashby said. 

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