An Intentional Journey: Meet Crystal

Crystal, Minerva's Business Operations Associate, holding several record vinyls.

Crystal Isbell is the newest member of the Minerva Strategies team! A native of East Chicago, Indiana (named so due to its proximity to the major metro area), Crystal took a leap of faith, with a healthy splash of fear, to take her experiences from the University of Kentucky and Indiana University and apply her solutions-oriented mindset as the Business Operations Associate at Minerva Strategies.

She spoke to Senior Associate Elise McGlothian about what attracted her to Minerva, what’s currently playing in her ear, and the milestones she hopes to reach in the future.

What led you to Minerva Strategies?

What led me to Minerva Strategies was the boldness of the company and the boldness of what Minerva represents to me. It epitomizes walking the walk and talking the talk. I think that any company who fearlessly goes this bold in the world we live in today is something that I want to be part of and contribute to. Minerva felt like a place where your passions are celebrated, and you can move in your truth.

What’s something about your personality that makes you feel confident?

I can be direct in my communication, and I strive to move forward. These attributes align with the new work that I’m doing. I’ve pivoted in my career and gone into the direction of newness and fear—which is the direction that we should all move in. I think when we step in the direction of comfort, we are not always showing up as our best.

I’m hearing that you want to keep pushing yourself and not be complacent.

Yes, I saw this quote about moving in that direction of fear. And it just stuck and resonated with me so deeply. People often don’t think they’re capable, so we downplay our skillsets. Or we think, we can’t do this because we have to stay in what we know. But that’s not true. A lot of the skills that we have are transferable across a lot of industries. You are triumphant when you are able to acknowledge your skills and bring your competence into new roles.

One of our values is to make time for yourself. In that light, what are some things you do for your own mental health and wellness?

Four of Crystal's plants sit on a wooden floor.
Proud Plant Parent – helps to bring nature into her home and support grounding/calming techniques.

I’ve evolved more to a spiritual person. I really, truly believe in centering the self, and being intentional with the practices that I enjoy, such as meditation and getting massages. Energy healing is a huge deal for me.

I’ve come to understand that we’re all connected. We have our joy, our exciting moments in time. But we’re also connected by our struggles. Recognizing these connections and centering on gratefulness and gratitude has been huge for me, especially when it comes to my mental and emotional health.

Exercise puts me into a great mood. I mean, those endorphins are kicking! I also love to sing and listen to music. The psychology behind some of the songs that I listened to puts me in a better place and keeps me sustained and balanced and helps me to remember who I truly am.

So, what’s currently in your ear?

Probably a Christmas Jazz song. I love a lot of genres of music, but I’ve been rotating this playlist of like 80s and 90s R&B. I love it!

I love vinyl, too. So, I listen to vinyl when I can. To me, it’s an experience because you can listen to all those little idiosyncrasies of the vinyl. You can hear the crackling. It just makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m back in time. I get a bit nostalgic.

It also reminds me of my father who passed away two years ago. He was a huge vinyl collector. So, I go back to that time and think maybe he went to that artist’s concert. The story behind it really warms my heart.

Are there any other principles that resonate with you the most?

Crystal, Minerva's Business Operations Associate, holding several record vinyls.
Crystal has an expansive vinyl collection and the few records in the picture are some of her top favorites.

“Be Magnetic” is one of my favorites. People recognize the way you show up in the world, in your relationships, or even at work. And as humans, we mirror each other. If folks see you in a certain light, then they may want to be a better person, and they can use those attributes to move forward in life.

Is there a principle that you’re still working on?  

I want to say, “make time for yourself.” Last night was a perfect example of why I’m saying this because I was still working at seven o’clock! I’m excited about my new role and want to incorporate all that I’ve learned from the team. I had to tell myself that I didn’t need to get it all figured out in one day.

I really look forward to working on that and being better at setting boundaries. Rest is radical and I really want to lean into that more, especially with my work.

What milestones do you want to reach?

As I begin a new chapter with Minerva and in my career, I am excited to understand all things business operations and help build upon culture and existing processes. Creating solutions that are clear and fair, and remaining in the posture of lifelong learning are key to the ever-evolving nature of this work. The ultimate milestone is comprehending and applying these elements.

To add, I would love to reach the milestone of sitting on the board of an agency that speaks to social issues I feel strongly about and facilitate change from that perspective. Leadership development and connecting to diverse thought processes remain a true passion of mine.

About The Author

Elise McGlothian

Elise McGlothian


Elise thrives when creating a positive social impact through communications. She has a passion for equitably relaying information and moving people to support organizations tackling critical social challenges – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Elise.