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90 in 90: Chrissi Rawak, University of Delaware

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Lead with integrity

Do what is right, not what is easy. Act courageously with honesty, fairness, and dignity. You’ll be proud of yourself and those you lead will respect you.  And you can sleep at night.


Culture over strategy

I love the quote from Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  You can have the most sound strategy and the greatest resources, but if your culture is off, you won’t be successful working together.

Trust the process

The process is often messy and hard, but that doesn’t mean the end result isn’t going to be great. Stay true to the process and don’t over-complicate things along the way.

Leadership is hard, but so worth investing in 

Leading an organization or a group of people is challenging, but made easier when you commit to investing in yourself and others. It’s easy to push leadership development to the backburner in day-to-day work, but if you make time for it, that investment will always pay off.

Surround yourself with the right people

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.  Diverse perspectives lead to stronger organizations and better decision making.

Be you

If you are doing the work, you will change and grow on your leadership journey, and that is healthy. Know you will always lead best when you are being authentically you.

Learn how to embrace and thrive in change

Change is a part of life, it is inevitable. You can resist it, or you can embrace it. Take it as an opportunity to learn, grow and try new things.

Relationships matter

Build and maintain relationships throughout your life. People are your most important resource, they’ll support you when you’re struggling, challenge you when you need it, make connections for you, and be your best champion. 

Don’t let perfect be the killer of good

Inevitably you’ll make mistakes along the way. No one is perfect. Don’t be afraid to try things, implement things, change things. It likely will not be perfect but you can build to make it better.   Learning should be fun!

Teamwork makes the dream work

Working together is key – when your people and teams are working together, success for one is success for all.  All boats rise when everyone is working together towards common goals. Nothing bad will ever come from rooting for each other’s success.

Chrissi Rawak is the director of Athletics & Recreation Services for the University of Delaware. 


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