Earlier this month, BLI Advanced Leadership Fellow Rashi Watwani was interviewed by the team at M-LEAD for part of their new series, Leadership Lens.  You can follow the series on LinkedIn and learn about the leadership journeys of students from across campus. 


As an Organizational Studies student with minors in Business and Quantitative Methods, I have learned to take a multifaceted approach to problem-solving. On campus, I am a Lead Peer Facilitator at the Barger Leadership Institute and a Peer Advisor at the University Career Center. I also work to promote affordable sustainability via startup 3 Degrees in efforts to increase distribution of eco-friendly packaging in Ann Arbor. In my free time, I enjoy listening to podcasts, spending time with friends, and trying new foods. (fun fact: 3 Degrees was part of the BLI Capstone 2020 cohort!)

What have you read, watched, listened to that you think everyone should check out? 

Over winter break, I read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. As someone who has been studying economics for the past 4 years, it was completely refreshing to read about humans as non-rational decision makers. Human reason is flawed - full of biases, shortcuts, and illusions. Reading this book allows us to question the stories we tell ourselves and be vigilant of our decision-making.

What makes a leader great?

Understanding that leadership does not have to be transformative. I used to think that leadership needs to create big change or perfect outcomes, but every person can be a leader by focusing on small wins. 

What is a way you've seen your personal leadership style grow in the past year? 

Growing up, I was taught that leadership meant treating every individual the same. In the past year, I learned that treating people the same can be alienating because each person struggles with unique challenges in their lives. Work opportunities are not equitable and as leaders, managers, and recruiters - we need to be mindful of that. 

What is one thing you do/demonstrate daily to exercise your leadership? 

My morning routine includes 5 minutes of journaling. I write down one good thing, one bad thing, and one thing I would like to change from the previous day. It is a quick and easy way to Pause and Reflect, as the Barger Leadership Institute likes to say! 

What’s the best advice or lesson you have ever received or learned in 2020?

In 2020, I learned that saying no to projects does not mean you are a less accomplished or less competent candidate. Understanding my bandwidth and prioritizing tasks by importance and urgency has helped me tremendously in my personal and professional life.