From overthinking to thriving: Kameka Walker’s Pathways Experience

5 minutes read

The Rumbletown Pathways Scholarship – pioneered by Aruga and its Rumbletown agency partners in 2021 – provides one BIPoC, CALD or mature-age QUT student annually with financial support and access, experience and mentorship across the disciplines of Advertising, Digital, Media and Communications.
Kameka Walker, currently studying Business and Film at QUT, is the 2023 recipient of the annual scholarship. We asked Kameka to summarise her experience working with Aruga as part of her placement. 

When I got the phone call letting me know that I received the 2023 Rumbletown Pathways Scholarship, I was at a loss for words but thrilled about what this 16-week journey would entail.

My first agency experience started at Aruga and I arrived with few expectations. Despite knowing very little about what goes on within a PR and communications agency, I came in willing to learn as much as possible.

If I had to describe how I felt on my first day in three words, they would be: overwhelmed, excited and nervous. I was in my head a bit and overthinking everything. Everyone in the office was encouraging, supportive and willing to answer any questions I had, no matter how small. Soon the insecurities disappeared.

Over four weeks, I gained practical experience, knowledge and skills to take with me including foundational skills that will further my goal of helping small businesses back in my hometown after university. These skills also help me think about how to keep an audience engaged and will assist my future creative writing career. 

Image: Account Director, Beth Uttley and Pathways Scholarship recipient, Kameka Walker attending a Brisbane Festival show.

The one-on-one meetings with each team member were something that I really enjoyed. They allowed me to better understand various roles and how everyone works together to produce the best outcomes for clients. 

I received training on multiple platforms including Mailchimp, WordPress, SourceBottle and Telum Media. The opportunity to try these new platforms allowed me to gain a better understanding of their individual advantages. For example, I saw how SourceBottle can leverage reactive media opportunities to generate national coverage for a client. 

The opportunity to develop content for the Aruga eDM was a highlight, particularly the spotlight section on Brisbane Festival. As a creative writer, receiving weekly feedback and seeing progress in my writing has been powerful. It has taught me not to overthink as much and to give everything a go.

I gained valuable insight by attending client meetings, researching the latest media trends and writing pitches to journalists. It was interesting to learn how to identify the right journalist to pitch to. Plus, it was fascinating to see how quickly or how long it can take to secure interest in a story and why some ideas fall flat and others succeed. It was stimulating yet nerve-racking to research and submit ideas to pitch. However, I was always met with constructive feedback and tips to leverage media trends while they’re fresh.

As a business and film student at QUT, attending events that spoke to both of my degrees was amazing. 
Kameka Walker | Pathways Scholarship recipient

Highlights out of the office that were particularly fun included sitting in-studio for a Dream Boldly podcast recording with Aruga Co-Founder Adam Brunes and La Boite Artistic Director Courtney Stewart. This was my first experience with how a podcast was produced and recorded and seeing the studio setup was awesome.

Another was seeing the production Children of the Black Skirt with my Pathways Experience Coordinator, Lilly CaldwellAs a person who rarely gets to the theatre, this was a pleasant surprise. The performance was set in a church which made it such a unique experience. 

I had the pleasure of attending the VIP Media and Influencer preview night of Lightscape – it was such a surreal experience. Despite a drizzle of rain, the City Botanic Gardens looked beautiful. Not only was it visually captivating but the soundscape made the 2km trail feel even more immersive. The rain couldn’t take away from the buzz the event generated with hundreds of influencers coming through the gates and raving about their experience on social media. 

Kameka Walker, Lilly Caldwell and Natalie Ogbourne attending the VIP Media and Influencer preview night of Lightscape, Brisbane.

As my four weeks with Aruga drew to a close, I definitely found my confidence lifted. From daily check-ins with Lilly to a weekly coffee with my office buddy, Rylee Bowser, the support of the entire office made this experience one that will be hard to forget. This scholarship showed me how much respect the Rumbletown agencies have and are willing to share. I am grateful for the opportunity to gain crucial experience in public relations, marketing and advertising; it has given me tremendous insight into the kind of workplace environment I want.

Growing up, I was taught to be respectful, inclusive and take pride in and share my culture. 

Knowing that this scholarship was built to amplify voices and encourage diversity within the industry resonated with my values as a First Nations woman. 
Kameka Walker | Pathways Scholarship recipient
Kameka’s key takeaways:
  • Reeling them in. Copywriting, from the first word to the last, must engage, entertain and retain the audience.
  • Work smarter, not harder. In an agency environment, I could see how planning ahead and managing workloads ensures everyone works harmoniously together. 
  • Eyes on the prize. By researching trending topics within the media, you can spark new angles and pitches for your client to land coverage.  
  • Just keep swimming. It can feel like you’re drowning when you don’t know what you’re doing but there is never any harm in having a red hot go! Remember you’re not alone, this is a team environment so never be afraid to ask for help. 
  • Everyone communicates differently. By finding the best way to communicate with your team, you can build a better relationship and generate impressive results.
  • Workplace environment. It’s so important to have a welcoming workplace with a good vibe that makes you want to be there. As a self-appointed foodie, I was in heaven with all the tasty eats in West End. The crew’s recommendations did not disappoint; we often ventured out to find the best bahn mi and top-notch fish tacos.