Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
At age 23, many young people are either on the verge of pursuing their dreams or are still undecided about a career path. Tamara McKayle's journey began at an early age; the moment she realised that with hard work and determination she could be successful. Hers is a journey of trials and battles but she has been guided by a spirit that keeps her going forward.
Still relatively young, she has already accumulated a wealth of knowledge and achievements that have surpassed her own expectations. She confessed that she is on a path to use media as an effective force and gateway to channel positive changes into people's lives similar to hers.
McKayle is currently a television host/producer/writer. She has been managing her new public relations and media production company, TNM Communications International started in 2012, while maintaining her duties as a Jamaica youth ambassador for disabilities among other numerous responsibilities.
"I am grateful for how tremendously blessed I am. Every experience in my life both good and bad has been shaped by God who has formed me into the person I am today and I am thankful," McKayle said.
McKayle almost didn't make it to university after graduating from Manchester High School as the sixth-form valedictorian. "I had some financial challenges upon graduation. My parents didn't have it so I started working for that summer and also applied for scholarships," she said.
"I had written in my journal from a year before that I was going to get a full scholarship to pursue my tertiary studies and so I just kept the faith that I would, while actively seeking," McKayle added. By the end of that summer she received the All Island Tertiary Scholarship Champion a full scholarship from the National Commercial Bank (NCB) Foundation.
By the time she moved to Kingston she was doing numerous radio, television and print interviews and appearances regarding her scholarship win for programmes such as the one she now ironically currently produces and hosts The Achievers a motivational segment on a television business show; as well as other TV programmes.
McKayle began her professional journey into the media in 2009 while in her second year of university landing a job after much persistence as a producer for a radio show on Newstalk 93FM and also as a student co-host for 'Evening Edition' with Lloyd D'Aguilar.
"I remember I kept going over to the station every chance I got and literally nagged the operations manager at the time to hire me even without pay but just to get the experience. My persistence eventually paid off when they had an opening," McKayle said.
McKayle had gained exposure to the media before her university days having been a part of her sixth form debating team at Manchester High School which made it to the television rounds of the Burger King National Schools Debate then televised on TVJ.
By 2010, she a cast member of Jamaica's first reality show to seek journalists. The show a production of CVM television was called The Anchor and had major and minor personalities as cast members and featured Michael Anthony Cuffe as a judge. By the time the show reached the top seven; audiences came to love more and more of the bright, quick thinking, and jovial McKayle who was by then the youngest person left in the running to win a contract with CVM Television.
After one week, however, she was brought back and was subsequently voted by season's end as the show's winner; at the time beating out a well-established actress and film personality. "When I won it was one of those incredulous moments. I kept thinking wow! I had just turned 21 like a few weeks before!
co-hosting on CVM
She then started in a matter of weeks the job of co-hosting 'CVM at Sunrise.' Later as she developed, she started producing and hosting her own features with her weekly 'Consumer Watch', which became a staple on the show. Upon the completion of her contract from the competition, she was then offered a new contract but opted to complete her degree.
McKayle recently graduated from the UWI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communications-Public Relations and a minor in International Relations.
Her vision is broad and includes helping her physically challenged sister, family, friends and people in general.
"I have always been told 'to whom much is given, much is required,' so in the same way others have been there for me, likewise I want to reach out and effectively help others to positively transform their lives and to live lives of purpose and vision," McKayle said.