College of Law > About > News > Alumna named one of Houston's 50 most influential women

Alumna named one of Houston's 50 most influential women

Law alumna Crystal E. Ashby (JD ’86) was named one of Houston’s 50 most influential women of 2012 by Houston Woman magazine.

Ashby serves as executive vice president for government and public affairs at BP America, where she manages a team of 70 government, regulatory and public affairs experts. The team supports BP’s business activities by working with state and local stakeholders, including government officials and business and community leaders.

“Ashby has a long and distinguished career with BP and its heritage company, Amoco,” said Houston Woman, which also praised her ability to create “a culture of courageous leadership founded upon ethical behavior and inclusion.”

Ashby’s time in Chicago is one that she remembers fondly now that she resides in Houston. “I moved to Chicago to go to law school and I stayed. DePaul opened up a world of opportunities for me. It expected me to be ‘more.’ My law school education and training is still being used daily in my role at BP. The value of a legal education, beyond practicing law, should never be underestimated.”

After receiving her JD from DePaul, Ashby served as a law clerk to Judge Odas Nicholson in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. She also worked as an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson and Jones Ware & Grenard, both in Chicago. Ashby considers herself lucky to have had Judge Odas Nicholson as a mentor. “I clerked for her right out of law school, when she was a motion court judge. She was a trailblazer and it was incredible to basically sit at her knee every day and listen to her discuss the pleadings that had been filed, the firms and the oral arguments that we had heard—to simply learn from her! For those of us who had that privilege, she is remembered fondly and missed.”

Her 20-year tenure with BP began as attorney in its commercial legal team based in Chicago. She subsequently migrated back to the litigation group. From 2004 to 2005, Ashby worked in London as the senior advisor to the group compliance and ethics officer. Following this appointment, she held several positions in the legal function, including managing attorney for U.S. retail operations and head of change management.

Ashby is the executive sponsor for the BP Houston Women’s Network and for BPAAN, BP’s African American Business Resource Group. In addition, she is the executive sponsor for BP to her alma mater, the University of Michigan. She also serves as trustee for the National Urban League and is a member of the Chicago United’s CEO Council, Greater Houston Partnership’s Executive Women’s Partnership Committee, and the Executive Leadership Council.