DSS Alumni Stories – Meet Viktoriia Akhankova

We present the alumni Viktoriia – a Marketing and Communications Specialist. Discover her career and professional journey!

Where are you from?
Kyiv, Ukraine.

Where are you now?
Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Where do you work?
I am currently working at Spatial Experience, an innovation hub for specialist real estate, in Amsterdam.

Tell us about your career path
I’ve immersed myself in the world of communications since 2017. I started my path at the University of Amsterdam, where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and a Master’s degree in Corporate Communication. During my Bachelor’s I got an amazing opportunity to get some experience at Digital Society School, which helped me tremendously moving forward. After graduating my Master’s program, I was lucky to get an internship at Spatial Experience, where I am currently continuing to work as a Marketing and Communications Specialist.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Books and people. Other people, my friends and my family, inspire me to learn new things and become a better version of myself. And I love reading books and experiencing certain things through the eyes of the main character. It helps me empathise with other people more and to learn more about life in general.

How would you describe your time at DSS?
It was indeed an experience that I could not get at any other place. The freedom, self-exploration and knowledge that I gained during my time here is irreplaceable. Even though my team and I spent only 6 months together, I created genuine connections with others, who helped me get to know more of myself. Regarding the professional side of things, I learned about the importance of listening to others’ ideas carefully and trying to understand their point of view more, which I think I lacked before. As a team member, you learn a lot about how to work in a multicultural team. It is so interesting how the way we were brought up and our environment influences how we think, assess and react in certain situations, and it is of utmost importance to understand that and be conscious of these differences.

Is there something in particular that impacted you?
I think it was the project that I got to work on, which was ideating and developing technology that would improve fan experience for visually impaired people at Johan Cruijff ArenA. Some of my tasks included extensive desk, qualitative and field research. Living through some of the experiences that our target audience goes through every day and thinking of a way to help them was eye-opening. We usually don’t think about things like these on a daily basis, everyone goes about their day, thinking about their own problems and how to overcome their own issues. This project helped me be more aware of the things happening around us and be conscious of matters that concern other people.

What does digital transformation mean to you?
To me, digital transformation is using technology to the best of its capabilities to change the world for the better. In a fast-paced and highly competitive world, companies find themselves racing to generate new digital solutions for the needs of society and wants that people themselves do not yet know they have. However, we should not be blinded by the solutionist desires that often surround digital innovations. I think that digital transformation should also mean remembering who it is that our innovations affect and focus on enhancing experiences and improving the way we live through digital transformations.

Any advice to share?
Don’t be afraid to try anything new. When I was applying for a trainee position at DSS, I had no prior experience working with digital transformation but DSS let me learn, grow and discover myself in ways that I couldn’t have found anywhere else.

Never stop yourself from applying for a new job or picking up a new hobby just because you think you are not good enough. Take on that challenge and go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?

What’s next for you?
I am planning to improve myself as a professional within content creation and writing, while enjoying my time in Amsterdam.

Connect with Viktoriia