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Independence Chief People Officer discusses workplace trends at two events

Crystal Ashby

Independence Blue Cross Executive Vice President, Chief People, DEI, and Communications Officer Crystal Ashby was a key participant in two February events focused on workplace trends and topics.

The first event, “Why Philadelphia must solve the riddle of Gen Z,” hosted by Campus Philly, was inspired by an article of the same name in the Philadelphia Business Journal. The article’s author, Ryan Mulligan, moderated the panel discussion. The panelists included Ashby; Jasmine Senior Bostic, associate director of Global Early Career Programs and Development at CSL Behring; Dr. Jennifer Kebea, president of Campus Philly; and Lisa Sordilla, chief people officer of Energage.

The panel discussed the impact of the Gen Z population shift and how companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region are reacting to and/or adjusting their recruitment strategies for emerging talent. The number of young people set to age into the local labor force over the next 15 years is nearly 87,000 less than the number of workers who will reach retirement age, according to a Business Journals analysis of U.S. Census data.

Responding to a question about strategies companies can use to attract and keep the Gen Z population, Ashby shared that organizations should work to “create space where people want to be” by “engaging them early and often on what they want.”

She added: “This generation is not more sensitive, and their needs aren’t different. Rather, they’re asking for what they feel they deserve. And — perhaps more than earlier generations — they’re not afraid to ask.”

The second event EVP Ashby participated in was the Boost conference held in New York City. Boost is a program within Princeton University’s largest undergraduate business organization, Business Today. The organization engages Black students from around the country in conversations of business and leadership through interactions with today’s top Black executives.

Ashby spoke at an executive seminar moderated by a Princeton student. Topics included DEI programs, short-term and long-term policy goals, investing in employees, personal growth, and success.