Sara Vilas

I’m a Product Design Leader with over 15 years of experience as a Designer and 7 as a leader.

I have a domain expertise in FinTech, HealthTech, LegalTech — products that make complex tasks easy.

Scroll down to find out more about my current adventures, leadership style, design portfolio, and publications.

Sara Vilas

I’m a Product Design Leader with over 15 years of experience as a Designer and 7 as a leader.

I have a domain expertise in FinTech, HealthTech, LegalTech — products that make complex tasks easy.

Scroll down to find out more about my
current adventures, leadership style, design portfolio, and publications.

CONNECT WITH me on LinkedIn

Previously designed, consulted, and lead teams for

Current adventures

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Designed.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that brings Design Education to all. We have over 3,000 designers and 1,000+ mentors in our community.  Managing a team of 40 to 60 volunteers.

MENTOR & COACH

Since 2016, I help career-changers at Designlab learn  Product Design and land their first job. My 115 mentees have landed jobs at places like Squarespace, Accenture, Indeed, Bloomberg, Cisco, or HSBC.

Design Lead

I work hands-on with companies that require a strong Design direction for highly complex products in FinTech, HealthTech and software that improves day-to-day workflows.

I'm also HAVING FUN

⛵️ Sailing in the Mediterranean
💞 Enjoying time with family
🚐 #vanlife! (as much as Covid allows)
🛍 Tesorun (side project) helping local businesses
✍️ Writing a book about Design Leadership

+ member of

Leadership Style

STRONG DIRECTION

With an MBA under my belt, I’m not afraid to contribute to the strategy of the company. Once aligned, I translate the business goals into design objectives to guide my team through a strong vision. Recently, I drove up the NPS score of a core product from 30 to 91 in under 7 months and contributed to closing a $17 million deal. I’m also naturally comfortable under complexity, bringing order to chaotic situations.

PEOPLE-first

I like to know my team individually: their goals, strengths, what they love, what frustrates them. That allows me to match the right people with the right projects. In one of my roles, I designed and implemented a rotation program to drive motivation and retention. I’ve also implemented career ladders, hiring processes, performance management at scale for 400+ mentors, and established processes and rituals, too.

BEYOND THE COCOON

Let’s face it: Designers can be a bit special. With our creativity and our unique processes, we can be like the weird cousin in a family reunion. That’s why I champion my team beyond our comfort zone. I go out of the way to build relationships with all the departments, and ensure that the company leverages the power of design.

giving back

There’s no doubt that a leader should have influence ouside the organisation. Even though you won’t see me on public events or fancy talks, I spend at least 10 hours per week giving back to the design community by leading a Design Education non-profit (Designed.org) and  mentoring designers. I also write articles and I’m currently writing a book.

DESIGN PORTFOLIO

Sara as a Designer

I’ve been a designer since Macromedia Dreamweaver was cool. I love the craft, so it’s hard for me to stay fully hands-off. I typically work on FinTech and highly complex products that need a lot of Information Architecture work, and scalable guidelines. As a Designer, I see myself as a mediator between the user, the business, and the technical constraints.

Currently working at these awesome places