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2023 Class Of Rising Stars – Amy Guerich

As a model of Kansas City’s civic spirit, Amy Guerich’s steadfast altruism has earned her the title of Rising Star by The Independent. With a diverse range of philanthropies and a particular focus on education and the arts, Amy’s story is one of passion, commitment, and an unwavering dedication to making Our Town a better place.

Amy’s journey into the world of philanthropy and volunteerism was molded by the strong values instilled by her grandmother. As a single mother in a time when financial stability was a challenge, Amy’s grandmother demonstrated the incredible impact of selfless giving. “She would do for others before she would do for herself,” Amy said. 

This early exposure laid the foundation for Amy’s own commitment to making a difference in her community. As her early life progressed, Amy found additional mentors who played pivotal roles in shaping her path. One influential figure was Dr. Pat Bosco, dean of students at Kansas State University (KSU), who introduced her to the world of financial planning. A graduate of KSU, Amy said his guidance undoubtedly paved the way for her successful career. 

Additionally, Kathy Stepp and Howard Rothwell, the founders of the company Amy now co-owns, Stepp & Rothwell, became impactful mentors who not only supported her professionally but also encouraged her philanthropic endeavors. “In addition to the regular duties of her job, we asked Amy to become involved in the community. She dove right in!” said Kathy Stepp. “She joined our local industry membership organization and quickly became involved in scheduling meetings, hosting social events, obtaining speakers, running conferences, and establishing a subgroup of young planners.” 

Along the journey toward building her successful career, Amy also found guidance and influence in her cousin, Doyle Pearl, and his wife, Laura. Both second-generation business owners, they significantly contributed to shaping her outlook. “They have always been wonderful listeners and mentors for me in business,” Amy said. 

Understanding the pivotal role mentorship played in shaping her own journey, Amy not only recognizes its significance but actively engages in guiding others along their paths. A devoted alumna of KSU, she has lent her expertise to the Institute of Personal Financial Planning as a member of its advisory board. Amy’s commitment also extends to mentoring women exploring finance career opportunities through the College of Business Executive Mentor Program, fostering growth and empowerment. In addition, she sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board, offering strategic guidance on enrollment, curriculum, and funding. Amy was also recognized as a rising professional by KSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

When it comes to her philanthropic journey, Amy points to her passion for the arts and education as key motivations that fuel her efforts. Amy holds a special place for Starlight Theatre, which occupies a central role in her efforts. From her early exposure to outdoor shows and concerts with her family in St. Louis to her recent role on the board of directors, Amy’s connection to the performing arts runs deep. Her involvement in Starlight’s fundraising efforts showcases her dedication to ensuring access to the arts for all, regardless of background or circumstance.

In addition, Amy’s involvement with the UMKC Conservatory demonstrates her commitment to fostering growth and opportunity, particularly within arts education. Mark Mattison, UMKC Conservatory, and a friend and colleague of Amy’s, said, “I have been inspired by her drive and her personal story of success. She ‘puts her money where her mouth is’ in supporting the causes that are important to her – ranging from UMKC Conservatory to Starlight Theatre, to Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City, to Operation Breakthrough – both by volunteering her time but also helping to raise money on their behalf. I am grateful for the assistance she has provided not just as a donor and fundraiser, but also as a thought partner whose counsel I seek and follow.” 

As a time-strapped business owner, each endeavor speaks volumes about Amy’s dedication to the community. “Several years ago we made Amy a partner at Stepp & Rothwell,” said Kathy Stepp. “She earned it. But earlier this year, Amy and another partner took over the ownership of the entire company. She now works countless hours as a business owner, which may cause many people to have to reduce their charitable hours. Amy has not!”

Lindsey Rood-Clifford, Starlight Theatre, has called Amy, “the best of current philanthropists” and “the future of philanthropy” for not holding back from supporting the causes she believes in. “She hasn’t waited to be a certain age or at a certain point in her career or capacity to give back to the causes she cares about, and she gives in a holistic way that is the epitome of modeling the philanthropic behavior organizations need from all of their supporters,” Lindsey said. “She not only agrees to serve but shows up, demonstrating that the heart of service is more than being listed on the letterhead.”

As Amy continues to illuminate the Kansas City philanthropic landscape, her vision remains steadfast. With an eye toward the future, she said she envisions continued involvement with Starlight Theatre, alongside exploring new avenues for community impact. 

In an era where community connections are more important than ever, Amy Guerich is a dynamic example of the difference that a single individual can make. Through her commitment to education, the arts, and philanthropy, she has etched her name into the tapestry of Kansas City’s vibrant landscape. 

Featured in the September 2, 2023 issue of The Independent.
Photo Credit: Tom Styrkowicz
By Monica V. Reynolds




Monica V. Reynolds is an award-winning former reporter who honed her skills at a daily newspaper in Northeast Louisiana. After spending more than a decade in Austin, Texas, she recently moved to Our Town. Monica’s passion for journalism extends to documentary short filmmaking and photography. She is the founder of Vox Pop Marketing, an online marketing and web design firm that helps small businesses develop an authentic, magnetic message and online presence.


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