Samantha Fechter recently received the Gaber Young Alumni Award from Rockhurst University for leadership and service to the community. Among other things, she’s involved with the Rockhurst Alumni Council. Fechter is a partner with Seck & Associates, where she focuses on assisting entrepreneurs with a range of services from starting to selling a business.
What does it mean to you to be an active Catholic, and how does your faith influence your life?
For me to be an active Catholic means getting involved in your parish, community and being engaged with loved ones. Many days can feel like a blur between work, extracurriculars and chasing around a 18-month-old, so my faith helps keep me grounded and puts things in perspective. Often, it is too easy to rush through things based on what seems like my never-ending to-do list; however, using some of the tools of contemplation in action, I strive to slow down and be more aware in my day-to-day actions.
What did attending Rockhurst mean to you in your career and growth as a person?
Attending Rockhurst set me up for success in my life personally and professionally. Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools, I attended a Catholic university because I value a holistic approach of how faith, education and business interact. Rockhurst, as a Jesuit university, taught me the importance of men and women for others, meaning getting involved in the community, as education is about more than time spent in a classroom. Rockhurst provided numerous opportunities to take on leadership roles on and off campus. This mindset of getting involved and giving back is something I continue to value after college and helped me succeed personally and professionally. I met my husband, a Rockhurst grad, and found my job because of Rockhurst, so I owe a lot of my success to my experiences at Rockhurst.
Why is leadership and service to the community important to you?
I moved to St. Louis from Kansas City less than five years ago, knowing a handful of people but wanting to get involved in the St. Louis community. I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow their companies and stay engaged in St. Louis, so I became involved in organizations valuing that. I became involved in, for example, Venture Café, located in the Cortex District in the Central West End, a weekly gathering open to the public to allow innovators to connect and educate the public about entrepreneurship and innovation. Another example is Brazen, an organization focused on helping women entrepreneurs find resources for their businesses to succeed. After living in St. Louis for a few years, I, along with other young professionals, launched a nonprofit, the St. Louis Startup Ambassadors. Our mission is to help St. Louis entrepreneurs feel connected to the community so that they stay in St. Louis and grow their businesses here.
Why do you find your work rewarding?
I find this work to be rewarding because I can see the direct impact we have on business owners, whether that is helping them, for example, through the process of starting a business or bringing on partners or employees, which I think has a positive effect on the community.
What do you do in your spare time or to relax?
I enjoy hanging out with my husband and my son, who is 18 months and just starting to walk. Living in South City, we love to walk around the neighborhood, whether it is to Francis Park or Ted Drewes.
Samantha (Whited) Fechter
Education: Law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and master’s degree in taxation from Rockhurst University in Kansas City
Parish: St. Joan of Arc in south St. Louis
Family: Husband, Jeff Fechter, and 18-month old son, James. She attended St. Thomas More Elementary School and St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Kansas City. She has a younger sister and a large extended Catholic family (her dad was one of 10 children). Her husband, Jeff Fechter, who grew up in St. Louis attending Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, is the youngest of five children and his dad is one of 12 children. “Growing up in large Catholic families, Jeff and I share the same values when it comes to raising our son,” she noted.