By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Livers-Powers is the newest member of the Riley Hospital for Children communications team. As manager of internal communications, she will lead efforts to provide information, stories and updates to team members as they work to make a difference in the lives of Riley patients and families.
Livers-Powers has led communications teams at high-profile employers around the city, including Eli Lilly and Co. and Indianapolis Power & Light. She has a degree in Journalism and African-American Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington.
A mother to three girls (and a dog named Sundae), she loves the beach and looks forward to playing in the sand with her daughters and nieces when it is safe to travel again.
Q: Why did you choose to come to work at Riley?
A: Riley’s reputation in our community is certainly something that stands out to me. I have a special spot for children (mom of three daughters, longtime volunteer for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, auntie in a big family, etc.) and a love for communications, so an opportunity to combine those passions while supporting people who help children means something to me.
Q: What are your most immediate tasks/goals?
A: I am responsible for leading communication efforts to our leaders and team members. I am in learning and listening mode now. I will be focused on telling the Riley story and helping Riley team members have the information they need to do their best work.
Q: What are your early impressions? Do they match what you expected?
A: I have been pleased to be welcomed into a culture with values that I respect and that align so closely with mine. While all of the hiring activity was virtual, I had several interviews and conversations that helped me to develop a good understanding of Riley’s culture and work ethic.
Q: As a new team member, your perspective is important. Any surprises (good or bad)?
A: I have been impressed by how my new colleagues live and model the Riley values. I have been struck by their compassion for each other and for the patients and families we serve. I don’t think I’ve been in a meeting yet where I haven’t seen that on full display. It has not escaped my attention how devoted and immersed they are in helping people, particularly in the midst of the COVID crisis.
Q: How did your past professional and personal experiences prepare you for this job?
A: I’ve been very fortunate to work for some of the best companies in this community. Originally from Evansville, I began my career here at The Indianapolis Star, where I had the opportunity to learn from and work with so many great journalists. I’ve also worked for Indianapolis Power & Light Co., where I worked with people who were dedicated to providing a vital service to the community every hour of the day and every day of the year. And I’ve worked for Eli Lilly & Co., where I had the opportunity to experience bringing life-changing and life-saving solutions to people in a way that I hadn’t been involved with before.
And then there was my work as a longtime volunteer for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, which allowed me to help girls and women develop and use leadership skills and give a voice to issues that matter to me and to them. Community and service have been a big part of my professional and personal life. I look forward to using all of those experiences in my Riley career.
Q: How does it feel to take on a new job in a hospital during a pandemic?
A: I’ve watched the pandemic play out like so many others on the outside – fearful and uncertain of what to do next; hopeful and appreciative of what people are doing to help others. It’s been humbling and reassuring to get a look at all of that effort, expertise and care from the inside.
Q: What is your take on IU Health’s focus on diversity and equity efforts?
A: Diversity and equity are very important to me both personally and professionally. It has never been more important for everyone – from individuals to companies and organizations to educational and health-related institutions – to take actionable steps that create a climate of true diversity, equity and inclusion for all people. Not only is that ethical and humane, but our children are watching and will follow our lead.
Q: What should I have asked you that I did not? Any special talents or interests?
A: I have a big family, including five sisters and a bunch of nieces and nephews. I am the favorite auntie, and all the babies love me (LOL). When they get to be pre-teens and teenagers, not so much. I played the flute in grade school, high school and college. So a few years ago, I bought myself a beautiful teal-colored flute, only to find I don’t even remember very many of the notes. I hope to take lessons someday.
I get cabin fever, so social distancing in the house has been tough. During COVID, I took up gardening with a friend, even though I don’t really like being in the dirt. I’m struck by the beauty and by nature’s timing. But when I saw my first tomato worms, that was almost enough to drive me indoors!
I discovered the DJ “D-Nice” (part of the hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions) and his Club Quarantine. I’ve been to so many virtual party nights – it’s really been the highlight of this time. When the world opens up and D-Nice has a live party, I’m going no matter where it is. Something funny about this is that I did NOT know him well before February/March. I’m usually more of a Kem, Mary J. Blige and Anthony Hamilton fan.
Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, email@example.com