Skip to main content

Select your location

Meet Ceci Alvaro, designing to grow

Headshot of Ceci with a design that reads "Kin+ Ceci Alvaro"

Our name is intentional. “Kin” refers to family and “Carta” refers to maps. When together, we’re Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today’s digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Kin+ is a series that uncovers the experiences, stories and lives of the people who make our collective “Kin” exceptional.

Ceci Alvaro joined Kin + Carta in 2015 as the firm’s first UX Designer in Buenos Aires. As the only local designer at the time, her expertise was relied upon for growing the firm. This included things like stellar client delivery, improving the design of the office space and later building a team.

From analyst to consultant to principal to now Director of User Experience Design, Ceci has exhibited growth and driven large-scale, global impact in the past seven years of working at Kin + Carta. It’s a privilege for us to share some of her experiences with you.

Headshot of Ceci with a design that reads "Kin+ Ceci Alvaro"

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been interested in anything and everything creative. And it was due to me wanting to flex my strong right brain that I quickly began to explore what path my hobbies and my creativity could take me down. This, somehow, led me to sci-fi. Movies like Star Wars and Back to the Future quickly piqued my interest, as I was inspired by the technologies shown within the movies. 

From Back to the Future, specifically, it was the flux capacitor that went into the DeLorean that blew me away. The characters were surrounded by tech-y devices and I was obsessed. It made me think that I wanted to do that. And if I could, if I could be surrounded by tech, too, then maybe I could travel to the future. 

Headshot of Ceci with a design that reads "Kin+ Ceci Alvaro"
Ceci at a young age with her family members.

However as I got older I found that I could travel to the future in different ways, studying graphic design being one of them. I earned my degree at the University of Buenos Aires and started working as a graphic designer with agencies, mainly doing print work. Then my cousin, who works in IT as a developer, told me I should check out web design because it might interest me. So, I studied web design, CSS and HTML and eventually got into UX. I got my first UX designer job and came to Kin + Carta, now almost eight years ago. 

I was the first designer hired in Argentina, and at the beginning I will be honest in that it felt a little lonely. At the same time, though, I think it was good for me because I was constantly surrounded and learning from all of the developers and scrum masters. That helped me understand how to collaborate cross-functionally and better understand what my team members would expect from me. Alongside my day-to-day role, I also had the opportunity to get scrappy. As the only designer for our small local team, I used my design knowledge to select colors of the wall in the office and the kitchen cabinets. My creative brain and skills related to design helped make sure everything was aesthetically-pleasing, aligned to the culture we were building and, most importantly, welcoming. 

Now with 22 designers on the team in Latin America, it’s incredible to look back upon these early days and reflect on how much we’ve grown. This represents all of the hard work we've done in Latin America. And, it’s such a benefit that our team has scaled from me being the only one to where we are now, as I’ve been through everything that my teammates are going through — I can help guide them. I remain focused on never forgetting what the feeling of being ‘new’ was like.

Ceci with her teammates holding branded Solstice books
Ceci with her teammates holding branded Solstice books

One of the most amazing projects I worked on was when I traveled to Chicago for the first time to work on a concept car for a multinational car manufacturer. Our team at Kin + Carta was in charge of designing the infotainment system. This was so cool! I remember sitting in a car while it was parked in a parking lot with three of my teammates. It was there where I had to begin designing the inside of the car and begin testing alongside my team members. I felt so proud of what we were doing and I never thought work could be so much fun. This experience reminded me so much of my dream I had as a child, to work on computers just like they did in Back to the Future. It was in this moment that I was building the future, no time machine needed.

Another moment which made me feel incredibly proud was when María Iglesias (now a Kin + Carta alum!) and I set out to speak at a conference called Interaction Latin America. Most of the speakers were pretty famous, but we decided to apply anyway. To our surprise, we were accepted as speakers, and upon arriving, we saw the stage and immediately thought: ‘Oh no, this is huge!’ We didn’t think we could do it and we were so nervous. But, we successfully presented our topic and received a lot of questions from the audience. What I most loved was the people who came up to us to speak more afterward. This felt great because it meant that they were listening and enjoyed what we had shared. It was an absolute dream to be there.

After this first conference, we started a tradition with the designers in the team that every year we’d apply as speakers. The next year of this conference happening, we were invited to be speakers for two other talks, so, we went again, new designers presented and we had so much fun. Seeing my team members speak on that massive stage brought me to tears. I felt so honored to do this together as a team.

Ceci at the Interaction Latin America conference
Ceci at the Interaction Latin America conference

I often tell my team that sometimes when you feel uncomfortable doing something, that's when you're learning. Like when you're a kid, you get taller and your body aches. I remember being in situations, like that conference, where I would think: 'I don't know how to do this, and I don't feel ready.’ And suddenly, you just get to a point where you’re doing the thing and feeling comfortable. It’s then when you look back and realize you’ve learned from the process of being and working through the discomfort. 

And I frequently tell myself: ‘Remember where you are now because in six months, you will look back, and you'll be a different person.’ In my role and growth at Kin + Carta, I’ve felt that so many times. Across every project, there has been a different challenge that’s taken me out of my comfort zone. Through this, I’ve been able to learn with the support of mentors and team members who have helped me along the way. They were listening to me and understood what I was going through. For my team, I strive to be the same leader.

These last seven years have been incredible, and I've seen so much change. I know this will continue as our practices keep growing and technology evolves. I’m eager and excited for whatever is next. What is the technology just over the horizon? What leadership skills will we need to have? How do we optimize the coaching of our clients? You never know what the future holds, and this is something that invigorates me.

Ceci wearing an oculus
Ceci wearing an oculus in Kin + Carta Buenos Aires office

At Kin + Carta I get to be who I am, which is very important to me and has been a key reason for my success. What’s more is that this isn’t just true for me, but it’s reflective for the whole team. You can be whoever you want to be here. 

It also feels very much like I own this, and we did this. It’s a little funny to think about but since I've worked at Kin + Carta, I've moved houses three times. What’s remained the same, though, is the office I go to to work at. This is why it feels so much like home to me. And, this directly represents my Kin + Carta experience — I have a sense of ownership, comfort and investment in something we’ve built together. Our team gave me the trust and the opportunities to do that.

It’s essential in everything I do that I can put my entire self into it, see the results and be completely involved. And I think that's the reason why I'm still here, because I have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact and to, most importantly, be me.

Surround yourself with Kin, like Ceci, who are always striving to see the potential.

Apply now

Share this article

Show me all