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Meet Ajla Zigic

Board Briefing

Ajla Zigic is a fierce champion of the St. Louis community. As the vice president of community and economic development at Midwest BankCentre, she relentlessly works to revitalize St. Louis communities. By providing banking and lending services to underserved groups and neighborhoods and by partnering with community and nonprofit organizations, Ajla strives to create a brighter future for the city she holds dear.

Ajla, who emigrated with her family at age 8 from Bosnia to St. Louis, is proud of and inspired by how tirelessly her parents worked to provide their family with stability and comfort in a new home. After witnessing firsthand how access to capital can improve lives, she started her career in banking when she was only 17. “I was just so determined to make it to a place where I could actually have an impact and help people,” she says.

So, when she was approached by The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital board member Michael Roberts, she recognized another opportunity to help people.

“I’ve had nothing but incredible experiences at Barnes-Jewish Hospital,” says Ajla, whose father received a lifesaving double lung transplant there after being diagnosed with end-stage COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). “From day one, everyone was so great and so helpful.”

As Barnes-Jewish Hospital celebrates its 2,000th lung transplant, Ajla and her father remember how the exceptional hospital staff made them feel like her dad was their only patient and not at all like a number. “That’s exactly why, when I got the call to meet with the Foundation, I thought, ‘Oh, this is it—the universe is calling me,’” Ajla says.

Answering that call to join the Foundation fits into Ajla’s core strengths. At Midwest BankCentre, she and her team support the banking needs of St. Louis communities, including the Bosnian community, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, and local businesses. “This is just, honestly, an extension of what I already do,” she says. “I focus on improving neighborhoods, I focus on improving households, I focus on improving financial education—and now I can focus on the health care aspect of it because it all plays a role.”

Ajla’s dedication to connecting people and ideas shined through her previous role as a translator for Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “St. Louis is such a charitable, kind, caring city,” she says. “We have so much talent here, and we have so much passion and so much intelligence here. We have to support it; we have to support its growth and its innovation.” 

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