DSS Alumni Stories – Meet Matilde Cantinho

We present the alumni Matilde, a digital content producer from Portugal. Discover her career and professional journey!

Where are you from?
Faro, Portugal

Where are you now?
Amsterdam, NL 

Where do you work?
Koos Service Design Agency as a Digital Content Producer

Tell us about your career path
I studied in Lisbon, BA in communications studies and right after I did an internship in content marketing at FNAC. With this experience, I discovered I didn’t find retail fulfilling and I needed to contribute in a more active and positive way to the world. At the time, my sister was based in Amsterdam which encouraged me to move to the Netherlands. I did an internship at a social and environmental enterprise called Sapient, doing social media content about food waste. It felt good to be part of an actionable and positive impact. This encouraged me to look where I can  have a more hands-on impact. 

During Spring 2021 I joined DSS, which was enlightening and slightly overwhelming, since it was corona which meant fully online, but offline towards the end. Since I don’t have a design background, it was insightful and a turning point in my career by being exposed to new areas in design such as service design. After DSS, I came across Koos, where I started as a part-time copywriter and now I’m a full-time digital content producer. Over time, I’m trying to shift toward service design and leave a bit behind my communications field. 

What are your sources of inspiration?
My peers. I noticed a big difference between Portugal and the Netherlands. A lot of people I met here at DSS inspire and push me to improve. DSS encouraged me to look into nature and introduce its values into the professional world. 

How would you describe your time at DSS
It’s a place to strengthen your soft skills, empathize and connect, both professionally and personally. For me, it was especially valuable in that matter, more than hard skills. For me, it’s a proper experimental playground – I got to try out things comfortably. 

I was part of the Systems for Sharing track, and my project was Greennet – a Sustainability Community within the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. After the semester ended, the team had the chance to continue and see this project come to life, as Project Manager.

I developed an adaptable mindset through the methodologies I learned from Design Thinking,  which helps every field, even mine which is communications and I didn’t expect this.

Is there something in particular that impacted you?
In the ideation phase, since we got to do offline and explore different interactions and power dynamics between stakeholders. The community feeling at DSS is very special, it’s a very nice bridge between your studies and the professional world. Mine were very theoretical and not practical at all so I appreciated the help with the transition before going into a full-time job.

What does digital transformation mean to you?
The first thing that comes to my mind is digitalising and digitalisation. I believe it’s not about making something digital like an app but rather transforming and adapting systems by using the tech that already exists to shape the world in our favour.

Any advice to share?
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and enter a new and exciting (but also daunting) field. Nowadays life is flexible, so experiment, change and go for it. Take a chance!

I thought it would’ve been impossible to find a job in The Netherlands but I discovered that it doesn’t matter what’s on paper but rather one’s culture and mindset. If you fit the company’s culture just trust yourself, your values and capacities and people will do the same.

What’s next for you?
I want to remain in my field of comms and marketing but slowly keep absorbing knowledge about design within my company and then who knows if I’ll join as a designer one day.

Connect with Matilde