Being an owner of multiple small businesses in the public relations and creative space means Donna Kramer is very hands on across multiple clients, strategies, teams and projects.
As the Co-Founder and Strategic Partner at Aruga, she has been involved in helping QUT students enhance their higher education and make inroads for an exciting career in advertising, marketing and public relations.
QUT alumnus Donna shares her story about her career journey, the secret ingredients of successful partnerships, and reveals her top advice for current students navigating university waters.
Rumbletown has a scholarship partnership with QUT – how did that come about and how is Aruga involved?
After winning a few Australian PR Agency of the Year titles, we noticed that we were often pitching to the same ‘type’ of people all the time. So, we decided to commit to supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students in their final year of study across the five agencies that make up Rumbletown, with the goal of providing a pathway to employment. As we had already partnered with QUT since we opened the business in 2017, it made turning our Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship into reality so much easier thanks to that existing relationship.
In your opinion, what are the key elements of a successful business or community partnership?
People do business with people they like so making time to get to know your partners personally has always been something we’ve prioritised. Partnerships should always be mutually beneficial and respectful, and that’s why it’s important to take time out to invest in the relationship not just the project.
What has been challenging/rewarding about your career and what would be the highlight to date?
The most challenging thing I’ve encountered is delivering campaigns for people I don’t respect or who have values that don’t align with mine. Luckily as an agency owner I can now choose who we partner with when it comes to our clients and suppliers but in the early stages of my career this was not a luxury I could control. In terms of highlights, it would be building a business our team is proud of and coming such a long way in our first five years. The future feels exciting!
How did your QUT degree impact your career journey?
My QUT degree shaped the foundation of my career via the university organised internships. During the second year of my degree, I interned in the fundraising and marketing team at the RSCPA and through this experience I met my first post-graduation employer. Making valuable connections through work while still at university has meant that I’ve never had to apply for a job in the traditional sense.
What is one skill you couldn’t live without?
I’m not sure we’d call determination a skill, but I’ve always been very driven to do as much as I can and do it well. I’ve also always been a good storyteller, which I believe is the core skill of a good publicist.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share with current students?
Take time to get to know your fellow students, in coming years they will become invaluable business contacts. Also, make time for fun and enjoy university life, it really is over too quickly!
Find out more about the Rumbletown scholarship by reading the story of the first Rumbletown Scholarship recipient forging a new pathway at Aruga.