Boldly Lead Student Spotlight: Sahian Salas

Sahian Salas

The Boldly Lead Student Spotlight series highlights CSL students who embody what it means to boldly lead. Today, we highlight Sahian Salas, a graphic design major who is expected to graduate in May 2024.

Sahian is part of the President’s Leadership Council. She has effectively served a graphic design internship for the CSL and helped design the Corazon Radical mural displayed in the Student Union at Hubbard Hall. Check out some of her insights below!

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means guiding and supporting others to a common goal or purpose. For many years, I believed that leadership was an attribute only seen in CEOs and world leaders. That they have to have a dominant personality and be able to make all the decisions. However, throughout my time at TWU, I learned that leadership is a characteristic found in all of us! A leader doesn’t need to dictate the outcome of situations, but rather assist the team in reaching their common goal. A true leader provides a safe environment for other leaders to thrive.

Tell me about some of your experiences as a leader, either before attending TWU or while attending TWU.

Some of my experiences as a leader at TWU are holding various officer positions in the Asian Student Association and being a member of various organizations. Since January, I have shifted my role from vice president to co-president, which has allowed me to lead a team in spreading Asian culture throughout the TWU campus. I’ve been a part of the President’s Leadership Council and an avid member of AIGA. 

Tell me about some opportunities you have had to develop as a leader. Have you experienced any challenges or obstacles along your leadership path?

I had the opportunity to develop as a leader when I attended the LeaderShape Institute, a week-long intensive leadership training program, with TWU. When the program first began, I started to experience imposter syndrome. I felt like I didn’t have any of the characteristics to be a leader because I was anxious to speak to new people and present in front of a large group. However, as the program progressed, I started to become confident in my leadership through the different workshops and with the support of my program family. Many of the workshops encouraged presenting in front of the whole group, which led me to become more comfortable with public speaking because the action became normal to me. However, the part that made me embrace public speaking was having the support of my institute family. When any of us would present, we would give each other a thumbs up to comfort each other in knowing that someone was cheering us on in the crowd. After this experience, I have become very confident in leading meetings and standing in front of a group because I know someone is always cheering me on.

What do you think are the most important traits or characteristics of a leader?

Empathy and delegation are the most important characteristics a leader can have. When you lead, you’ll be working with a variety of people, so it’s important to be compassionate about everyone’s experiences and what they can bring to the team. Sometimes we can get clouded with the end goal and we can forget to check in with our teammate on their experience. However, we need to ensure everyone is allowed to bring something to the project. As a result, delegation is very important not just to provide a role to everyone but to ensure that the role they receive benefits them and the whole project's outcome.

What do you think it means to boldly lead?

To me, boldly leading means pushing beyond the stereotypical roles of a leader. Everyone can become a leader. However, becoming a bold leader is being able to guide and inspire others into being leaders themselves.

Do you think it is important to have bold leaders? If so, why?

Yes! I think it’s important that we have bold leaders because we need people who can inspire and encourage others to take on those leadership roles. Sometimes it can be hard to take on those roles because there is no one to look up to or that makes us feel comfortable taking on those roles. However, when someone can boldly lead, they are opening up opportunities for others to take on those roles and feel like they belong in those roles.

Do you think you have had an opportunity to demonstrate bold leadership or is there someone else you have observed demonstrate bold leadership?

Yes! I think I have had the opportunity to demonstrate bold leadership through my various roles. However, I have seen someone demonstrate bold leadership extraordinarily. My friend Stephanie Vo has taken on the role of vice president for AIGA and has improved the organization. Before joining the organization, there were many issues regarding communication and coordination with all members. However, when she joined, she implemented an effective structure by implementing an events calendar (planned months in advance) and by encouraging constant communication between officers and members of the group. As a fellow member myself, I have seen the changes and I feel more comfortable attending because I know my time will be used wisely learning from AIGA.

Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a leader? Why or why not?

Yes! Everyone can be a leader! There is no specific mold of what a leader is or has to be. There is a leader inside all of us, we just need to find the place and people who help us unleash it!

What are your long-range goals?

My long-range goal is to work as a package designer for a food corporation, hopefully Takis or Gamesa. I feel that a lot of businesses are morphing their design into a simplistic style, which is making food less fun and exciting. So, I have made it my life mission to bring back maximalist and innovative designs into the packaging world.

How do you think the leadership opportunities you have had while at TWU can help you in your future career?

The leadership opportunities I have had at TWU will help me in my future career by giving me the confidence to lead future design teams into breaking the design norms when working on product campaigns with clients.

If you would consider yourself or another TWU student a bold leader and want to see them highlighted, please reach out to Chris Scanlan at

Page last updated 3:11 PM, April 10, 2024