An award is a tangible recognition of how the past influences the future. FGCU’s annual Alumni of Distinction Award is one such prize, defined by the personal triumphs, professional achievements and humanitarian contributions that characterize each recipient.
FGCU’s 2021 Alumna of Distinction, Samantha Scott (’05, Marketing), embodies the spirit of the award and is a worthy example to all who follow. Courage and kindness further define Scott and give voice to her journey from an FGCU undergraduate to wife, mother, entrepreneur, humanitarian and respected member of the Southwest Florida community.
“To be honest, there is no single word to describe my having been selected as Alumna of Distinction,” Scott says. “I was genuinely surprised. I was familiar with the nominees this year and honored just to be on the list.”
The trajectory of Scott’s “from-there-to-here” story is at first glance relatively linear. She skipped a grade in elementary school, took advanced classes in high school and graduated at age 17.
Like many students, financing her education was top of mind when choosing a college. And like many students, she chose to attend a community college for her freshman and sophomore years, transferring to FGCU as a junior.
However, unlike many university students, she knew that marketing was her future.
“I joined the Ad Club [student chapter of the American Advertising Federation], concentrated on my coursework, and enjoyed the rigors of my classes,” she says. Scott graduated in 2005 at age 20.
Not one to miss a beat, Scott and her husband launched a direct-mail and printing business and Pushing the Envelope, a marketing and public relations company in Fort Myers, one month after Scott’s graduation. They later sold the direct-mail business.
In 2010, in recognition of her accomplishments, she was featured in Gulfshore Business magazine’s “40 under 40” feature.
Webster defines “to push the envelope” as “surpassing normal limits or attempting something viewed as radical or risky.” In a word or two – “a daring maneuver.” Pushing the Envelope has lived up to its name, growing exponentially over the years.
“What differentiates our business is our focus on marketing strategy and testing,” she says. “We continually test to ensure our plans are working; we refine and then we move forward.”
The words “Test, Measure, Refine, Repeat” feature prominently on their website and is a mantra to be respected by all team members. Whether the project focuses on marketing and branding, advertising strategy, web development, or more, the goal is the same – develop the communication strategies specific to each client and then ensure the plans work.
Over the years, Scott has served on the boards of various organizations.
“I learned the importance of service a long time ago thanks to my mentor who encouraged me to get involved with the community,” she says, emphasizing the importance of choosing organizations that resonate personally. She advises to limit the number of organizations served at any one time, so as not to dilute efforts because of lack of time or interest.
“I tell people, one thing can move something forward a mile, or one thing can move things forward an inch,” she says. “I want to make a change. Over the years, I have chosen specific things I’m passionate about and that I believe might benefit from my attention.”
Currently, Scott serves on the boards of the FGCU Foundation as chair of the nominating committee, as well as the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and Gulf Coast Humane Society.
“I’m passionate about the Foundation and joined because I believe in its mission,” Scott says. “The foundation supports individuals who want to succeed, giving them a much-needed hand up, not hand out. We could all use a hand up at one time or another.”
Scott adds that she relied on scholarships, so she especially appreciates what the foundation does for students.
“Also, as chair of the nominating committee, I help to shape the future of the foundation. It’s exciting to me – what will the foundation look like in the future, who will benefit, and how will it grow?”
“Samantha Scott is an engaged chair and a tremendous advocate for the university,” says Kitty Green, executive director of the foundation and vice president for University Advancement. “She’s a credit to FGCU and to women. The fact that she is able to give the kind of dedicated service she gives to the board on top of running a company and raising a family is amazing.”
Scott chose to serve on the board of the Gulf Coast Humane Society because she loves animals and is a huge proponent of rescuing animals. She chose the board of the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce because she recognizes the value of chambers to local business.
“I might make a connection with someone, and then I might be better positioned to help someone else. It’s a powerful tool,” she says. “You only get things back when you invest the time and the energy.”
Scott reflects on her FGCU roots that took hold, grew and have shaped her career and helped her help others. “It’s clear that what we do impacts others,” Scott says.
It follows that depending on the person, the impact can be positive or negative. Scott, clearly, is a positive force for change.
“My Christian belief drives everything I do personally,” she says. “Naturally, this translates into my work. Do the right thing and help make the world better through time, talent and treasure. I work with my teammates to do the same and, hopefully, I will instill these same values in my children.”
Scott and her husband celebrate 18 years of marriage this year. They have three children: their son Asher, who passed as an infant; daughter Charlotte, 20 months; and Ella Grace, 7 months.