Team Spotlight: Customer Support Team Lead Danilo Andrade on How Life Can Surprise You
From being an actor in Brazil to leading the Spanish Customer Support team at N26, Danilo Andrade has had lots of adventures. Learn what performing taught him about leadership skills.
5 min read
Danilo Andrade’s career has had its share of twists and turns, from helping out in a tourist shop at 15 to working as a professional actor in Brazil. Now, Danilo leads the Spanish Customer Support team at N26—although he doesn’t make a fuss about the title. “Sure, I’m one of the market leads, but in reality, we all work together. We’re a team.”
We sat down with Danilo to learn about his path to N26—and how one class in college changed the trajectory of his life. Our interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tell us a little about yourself—including where you’re from, and what your role is at N26.
I’m from São Paulo, Brazil, and I’m the Customer Support team lead for the Spanish market. In May, I’ll complete three years at N26. In fact, I was a satisfied N26 customer before I joined. I really liked the app—it was super simple and easy to use. Plus, it was great for withdrawing money for free and making transfers. So, when I saw that N26 was hiring, I decided to apply.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was nine or ten years old, I wanted to be a dentist. You see, I actually like to go to the dentist—I’ve never had any serious problems with my teeth! But when I was 15, I spent my holidays working at my friend’s mother’s store—then in college, I worked in events, and eventually led whole teams. So, this was the start of my love affair with customer service.
What was it that drew you to customer service?
In São Paulo, there’s a lot of pressure to sell things and really engage with the customer, and I never liked this. I always tried to read the person and to see what they needed. For me, it’s about connecting with the customer and treating them as you would treat a friend. Ironically, I was able to sell more this way because the customers felt respected.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I went to college in San Paulo at the University São Judas Tadeu, where I studied “Social Communication”, with a focus on Radio and Television.
Tell us about your experience there. Was there a particular class that had a meaningful impact?
There was a class called “TV Production” where we needed to produce one TV program per week. In it, you would rotate positions in order to test out all the crew roles—one week, you’d be the director, the following week you’d be the producer, and so on. It really fostered an environment of trust and teamwork. Our teacher always emphasized how important this group mentality is, because on set, you’ve got very strict time limits—you’re renting a studio space, paying actors, etc. This means that you have to communicate very effectively, be respectful, and remember that everyone is stressed out and doing their best.
I have wonderful memories of this time, and it’s something I take with me to this day—teamwork, effective communication, respect for others. In fact, I’d say that this class really changed my life, because it brought out an important aspect that is still a big part of my career.
Well, one day, an actor that we’d hired didn’t show up and we needed to shoot. So, the team said, “Just have Danilo do it!” And I actually ended up doing well—my classmates couldn’t believe that it was my first time in front of the camera. After that, my teacher suggested that I take some acting courses. I followed his advice and started to do some vocational acting training—eventually landing a gig for a commercial. After I finished college, I kept studying acting and became a professional actor doing commercials, short films, independent movies, TV shows, and theater.
How has your acting career impacted your role as a Customer Support team lead?
It really helped me become a better leader. In acting, you need to understand the character, as well as the other person’s motivations. Because I’m trained in it, I'm quite good at reading body language and building connections with others. I always try to really understand what another person needs. When it comes to communication—and respect—I bring a lot from acting to my current role.
Talk a little bit about your career path and how you ended up at N26.
After my studies, I started traveling around South America, acting and working various customer service jobs. I lived in Buenos Aires for three months because I wanted to learn Spanish. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to try something new, so in 2015, I decided to move to Ireland. I spent several years there, working all kinds of different jobs—customer service, pubs, everything. Eventually, I landed a job at a social media company. After a while, I felt ready for a new challenge, which was when I applied for the role at N26.
What’s a typical day like for you at work?
That’s one of the things that I like about my job—it’s quite varied. I’ll have a week where I need to do one-on-ones with my team, then there are days I need to do evaluations. Once a week, we need to check our market numbers—analyzing what went wrong and how we can improve. Then we have a report we need to deliver once a week. In addition to our core team, we have a team of externals in Athens, so I need to touch base with the leads there to share learnings. When I think about it, there is no typical day—it’s a bit of everything.
What advice would you give current university students as they prepare to enter the workforce?
I would say: don’t worry too much if you think you’re deviating from your chosen career path. I studied Radio and Television, but working in events and retail, I learned so much that I use in my role today. Even in my side jobs, I always tried to learn something. Most of my English skills, for example, are from working events—I kind of taught myself. So, if you think you’re going too far from the career you had in mind, don’t worry. There’s a reason for everything. All the little things you’re doing will teach you something for the future. Looking back, I was too stressed when I was young. I wish I could go back and tell my former self to relax—that everything would work out just fine.
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