Boldly Lead Student Spotlight: Xaria Williams
Pioneers are encouraged to do things boldly, and in a nod to the university’s motto “Boldly Go,” the Center for Student Leadership is launching a series to inspire student leadership. We don’t want our students to just lead, but to Boldly Lead in all aspects of their lives.
This series highlights various students, staff and allies who serve as prime examples of bold leaders. With that in mind, the Center for Student Leadership is proud to showcase the Boldly Lead Spotlight Series.
Our first profile subject is Xaria Williams. Xaria is a psychology major expected to graduate in December 2022. Xaria is involved with the Center for Student Leadership as a member of our Legacy Leader Scholar program and a founding member of the CSL’s Toastmasters Chapter.
What does leadership mean to you?
Before, I used to have a limited understanding of leadership. I believed that leadership was solely someone who had a vision, plan and purpose all figured out. I did not initially think I was a leader based on that definition.
But thanks to my time in Legacy Leaders, I realize that leadership is a lot more than that. Leadership is being aware of what is important to you, your values, what makes you strong and your influence on others. I believe that leadership comes down to how you connect with others and influence those that hear your message. Being able to connect with somebody and being able to build those relationships.
Tell me about some of your experiences as a leader, either before attending TWU or while attending TWU.
In the community, my first real leadership role was as a youth coordinator for my church. I would help direct and lead service for people and schedule out the practices and performances for those who would be singing during the service. I also served on the teen advisory board in my local library and planned food banks, book fairs, and the teen expo. The teen expo was an event that helped educate teens in the community about library resources.
Public speaking has been a recurring leadership role for me. Starting with speaking as a salutatorian for my graduating class. It was nerve-wracking but being able to show others that you could go outside of your comfort zone. This led to college where I have been able to co-present at the Pathways to Texas CCMR (College, Career and Military Ready).
Tell me about some opportunities you have had to develop as a leader.
Legacy Leaders has given me the opportunity to hone my public speaking skills through the opportunities I talked about before. They’ve also given me various workshops to attend such as Crucial Conversations and symposiums in order to build up my skills. I’ve also been able to get coached on my strengths and through our ePortfolios I’ve been able to reflect on leadership. Plus, being able to be involved through the Legacy Leader Liaison Group and Bigs & Littles has allowed me to help incoming students as well. I have also been able to see different communication and leadership styles from the various leaders within the group.
Another experience I got was training a new hire in the Office of Admissions, in order to get them acclimated to the social aspect of the job. It was nerve-wracking because it was the first time that a supervisor specifically told me to mentor somebody. I have always done that on my own, but being trusted to do that from a supervisor helped me see that it was a natural talent for me.
Do you think it is important to have bold leaders? If so, why?
Oh for sure! It is as important to have bold leaders as it is to have those behind the scenes that make things happen. Bold leaders acknowledge someone else and also create an impact. Even though they don’t know who is watching, just by affecting one person they are creating a tidal wave of force and change. By being that voice in the spotlight, a bold leader is willing to open the door for someone behind them. It also means they are fighting a battle next to someone who thought they were alone.
Do you think you have had an opportunity to demonstrate bold leadership or is there someone else you have observed demonstrate bold leadership?
As far as someone else, I have had several examples. My mother, I love her, she is always the person I use as an extraordinary example of leadership. She’s held so many leadership roles going back to when she was a child. My sister, if she were at TWU she would definitely be a Legacy Leader. I have also seen it with my peers in Legacy Leaders, people like Serena, Lesly, Greyson, Constance, Anna, Andy, Brenna, Anahi and Adriana. They are also doing something, developing their skills, and are passionate and outspoken about their beliefs.
For myself, I think I have been a bold leader. It has been when I have spoken passionately about something. Motivational speaking is my passion and whenever I have gotten the chance to speak there is always someone that is happy to hear my story and perspective. Being able to be in those positions have allowed me to be a bold leader.
Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a leader? Why or why not?
If it was based on my previous understanding, I would have said no. Now that I have a better understanding of leadership, I would say yes! It is not a cookie-cutter activity. If you are influencing or impacting somebody, then you are being a leader. It is really difficult to gauge someone on leadership. There are so many different audiences and contexts, and it is near impossible to truly say what the “perfect leader” looks like. If you are making an impact then you are a leader. Everybody has skills that are specific to them that can cause a wave or movement.
What are your long-range goals?
Not going to lie, I have been struggling with this question since 10th grade as I have been trying to figure out where I am going. The biggest thing right now is to graduate and find a stable job. That way I can have a better idea of “adult living” and find another perspective to speak from. Right now, I have been looking into success coaching and advising. I have had negative experiences where I was not connected to resources or been made aware of what could help me. Because of that, I am hoping to make a positive impact and be a “middleman” to connect people to the resources that they need. My primary target is high school students and being able to market more resources and opportunities to them. I hope to be able to take all of the resources and lessons I learned in life, and help people get those things at a younger age.
When it comes to my goal of being a motivational speaker, I have two main areas I would like to focus on: Imposter Syndrome and food insecurity and its connections to the Black community and Black mental and physical health. Imposter Syndrome is something I strive to learn more about, and is why I decided to take psychology as my major. Food insecurity has been a prevalent issue in my family and my community, COVID made it even more so. It is especially prevalent in “food deserts” and areas where there aren’t as many role models for physical health.
How do you think the leadership opportunities you have had while at TWU can possibly help you in your future career?
Professional speaking will help me in any career. The different Legacy Leader symposiums have allowed me to see various examples of leadership in a real-life experience. Learning open communication has allowed me to learn how to listen and will serve me for life. Being able to witness TWU’s food banks have also inspired me when it comes to my goal of dealing with food insecurity in the Black community. All of those different things have allowed me to see how much impact a college student can have. I have seen how a college student can get staff to move, how they can be actively involved in government and re-center resources on campus to help others, and get directly connected to organizations to the point of being able to develop their own.
The Center for Student Leadership is planning to start a BOLD Leaders speaking series where the
B stands for Barrier Breaker
O stands for Opportunity Creator
L stands for Limitless Thinker
D stands for Dream Chaser
Which of these letters, if any, do you most identify with and why?
Right now, I am a Limitless Thinker. Intellection, reflection, understanding and making connections. It is most prevalent for me right now.
As an aspiration, I am working toward being a Barrier Breaker. Those are people who produce results and people who show initiative. I am someone who likes tangible results. I want to get into that field in the future.
We hope you have enjoyed reading Xaria’s insightful answers to our questions! Be on the lookout for more articles highlighting our various Bold Leaders at TWU. 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 CScanlan1@twu.edu.
Page last updated 9:12 AM, August 24, 2022