About us

Saint Louis Balkan American Connection was founded in February 2021 during a conversation between three friends. The conversation included the pride that was felt for the success of the Balkan community, considering where it started, and wishing for more mentorship opportunities for our younger generations. A simple question of: “Why is nobody doing this?” turned into “Why are WE not doing this?”. That evening, the organization was born!

The organization is now a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 and is managed by our volunteer board and mentors. The roles of the board are: President, Vice President of Academics, and Vice President of Professional Connections. Our mission is to establish a community that will facilitate the advancement of young individuals in the education system and professional domains via networking, mentorship, academic guidance, workshops, events, and scholarship.

We rely on financial contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and grants to accomplish this mission.

picture of the creators of St. Louis Bosnian American Connection

Our Mission

The mission of St. Louis Balkan-American Connection is to connect developed professionals from various disciplines through the role of mentorship to members in the community. We hope to support and foster prosperous professionals through community engagement via networking, mentorship, academic guidance, workshops, events, and scholarships.

Our Vision

The vision of St. Louis Balkan-American Connection is to establish a community of mentorship that will facilitate the advancement of young individuals in the education system and professional domains. 

Our Goals

  1. Develop and foster lasting mentorship connections.
  2. Promote networking in the community.
  3. Facilitate informational seminars and productive workshops.
  4. Provide student scholarships.
  5. Communicate academic and professional resources.

Creators

Amina Selimovic

Amina Selimovic

President | Founder

Amina Selimovic is STLBAC’s President and Founder. She leads the Finance, Legal, Scholarship, and Social Media branches of the organization. Her work includes ensuring that the programs and finances are managed to carry out the mission of the organization. She is very passionate about leadership, mentorship, and helping the community in ways that will eliminate barriers and create lasting, positive changes.

Outside of the organization, she has served as a healthcare leader for the last 8 years. During this time, she has been able to help open multiple new hospitals and lead her teams through difficult changes while greatly increasing employee engagement and patient satisfaction scores. Currently, she is a program manager leading a team of 110 employees and managing revenues equaling over 140 million dollars.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology degree from Saint Louis University and a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Webster University.

Outside of work, she spends most of her free time outdoors with her boys whenever possible.

Asmira Alagic

Asmira Alagic

Vice President of Academics

Asmira Alagic serves as the Vice President of Academics for STLBAC. Her work focuses on academics of the career building process,  starting at the high school level and through college. Her team facilitates academic workshops, seminars, and field expert panels. The Academics team also gathers and disseminates available scholarships, research, and internship opportunities as resources to our mentees. Asmira is passionate about leading others towards opportunities around them.

In her fulltime career, Asmira Alagic is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Saint Louis University.  She also serves as the Undergraduate Program Director for Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Chemical Biology and Pharmacology. During her tenure at SLU, Asmira has led numerous research projects, published in high-impact journals, and  founded multiple successful student organizations.

Asmira’s navigation through her own academic career started at Mehlville high school followed by Lindenwood University where she obtained her Bachlors of Science in Biochemistry. In 2014, Asmira graduated with her Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry from Saint Louis University.

Outside of work and service, Asmira enjoys nature, anything out-doors, and gatherings with family and friends.

Vedada Becirovic

Vedada Becirovic

Vice President of Professional Connections

Vedada Becirovic is STLBAC’s Vice President of Professional Connections. Vedada leads the Community Engagement, Event Planning, and Communications committees. Upholding the organization’s mission, values, and goals, Vedada focuses on building community connections through collaborations and partnerships, planning networking events, and leading the organization’s communications.

Vedada shares the passions of her co-founders, including leadership, mentorship, and Balkan community advancement.

Vedada was born in Vlasenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. With her family, Vedada had to flee war-torn Bosnia, moving to Switzerland and the United States when she was twelve. Vedada graduated from Affton High School in 2007. She earned her B.S. degree in biology from Webster University in 2010 and a master’s degree in analytical chemistry from Saint Louis University in 2014. Vedada graduated with her doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University of Saint Louis in December 2022.

Out of graduate school, Vedada began working as an Adjunct Instructor at Maryville University, where she later moved into the Science Lab Manager role. She has worked for Maryville University since 2015, successfully manages the science laboratories and student lab assistants, and teaches chemistry.

Vedada is married, has two beautiful children, and they love spending the summers in their home country. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, baking, taking scenic hikes, and indulging in coffee.

Alma Hukic

Alma Hukic

Vice President of Finance

Alma Hukic is our Vice President of Finance at STLBAC. She leads all financial operations with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, reporting, and compliance to ensure the organization’s long term financial health and sustainability. Alma’s commitment to giving back is evident in her passion for sharing knowledge gained from her diverse experiences.

Having immigrated to the United States at the age of four during the Bosnian war in 1992, Alma’s journey is marked by resilience and determination. Graduating in the top 5% of her class from Mehlville High School, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Saint Louis University, graduating Cum Laude. She\ completed the requirements to sit for the CPA exam within her undergraduate program’s four-year timeframe, a program typically requiring five years, often with the addition of a master’s degree.

Alma’s dedication to her profession led\ her to spend three years at EY, where she conducted financial statement audits across various industries, gaining invaluable expertise. Transitioning to Spire’s external financial reporting group, Alma diligentl ensured that the organization adhered to all regulatory standards. She coordinated external financial filings with important entities such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Missouri Public Service Commission (MOPSC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Bringing a wealth of accounting and financial expertise, Alma received her CPA from the Missouri State Board in 2017 and has spent the last six years at Ameren, a Fortune 500 public utility company. She currently oversees the production of internal financial statements for Ameren Missouri and has served in multiple roles as a financial liaison, aiding various organizations with budgeting and forecasting.

Outside of her work commitments, Alma finds joy in traveling, outdoor adventures, and spending quality time with her husband, two children, family, and friends.

Connect

Meet others in your field or network with business interests.

Learn

Learn who you can get in touch with when in need.

Community

Become part of the community and network with others.

Mentors

Become a mentor and have your name and profession added for gained opportunities.

Build

Build business relationships with others who have similar interests and goals.

Family

Know that each connection and individual is someone who is part of the Balkans.

Help Us Grow

We rely on financial contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and grants to accomplish our mission. We are a nonprofit,  501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization. Help us turn our past struggles into our future generations’ success. Help us turn our community from one that is concentrated on surviving to one that continues thriving.

FAQ

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How can I find the right mentor for me?

Please click on our “Mentors” page and browse our current directory of mentors. If you are interested in a profession that is not listed, please click on the “Contact” page, send us a message, and we’ll try to find a mentor in the field you are looking for!

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Does it cost to become a mentor or to use a mentor?

NO! The email contact information for mentors is located on our “Mentors” page. It is completely free to access. Our mentors volunteer their time in order to support our mission and vision.

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What are the requirements to be a mentor?

To become a mentor, you would need to have at least two years of experience in your field. You also need to agree to be featured on our social media and web pages and volunteer your time to help someone who may be interested in your field.

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What are my options if I don’t want to be featured as a mentor but want to help the organization?

We are always looking for volunteers to help us grow our organization; please reach out to us by clicking on the “Contact” button on our webpage.

Another way to help is by donating to our organization, please click on the “Donate” button.