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Meet Semir Smajlovic

Today we’d like to introduce you to Semir Smajlovic.

Hi Semir, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hello! my name is Semir Smajlovic and I am 28 years old. I was originally born in Bosnia in 1992 when the war in Bosnia happened, which forced my parents to flee the country and seek refuge in Stuttgart, Germany. I was so young that I didn’t know what was going on, but as time passed, I learned more and more on why we were forced to evacuate and seek shelter. We, fortunately, ended up spending seven of the most amazing years in Stuttgart before the immigrant deadline was up and we were forced to refuge back to our native county in Bosnia. Upon return, I was nine years old. I was horrified, I as a child could see the heartbreaking emotions of my parents and witnessing that they have lost everything, but with so much sorrow, there is always a bright white light ahead and in May of 2000, they finally got a break.

They were chosen as one of the lucky families to have the opportunity for permanent relocation to America, wherein other countries, it was seen as the greatest county in the world and it was a no brainer to decide to make a move, but it wasn’t as easy on my parents as I thought it would be – Imagine fleeing home, moving to another country, returning back and seeing everything gone, attempt to rebuild and then have to leave family and everything behind again? It was traumatizing, but my parents decided that if they don’t take this opportunity, they will never have another chance in their lifetime.

With first setting my foot on American soil in June of 2001, I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing at Lambert Airport and how everything was just different, it was a complete culture shock and experience, even for me as a 12-year-old kid – I couldn’t fathom what I was experiencing and knowing that I am in St. Louis and that the United States was my new home, it was just too much to take in. Once we got to our uncle and aunts house, we had one of the biggest gatherings with other family members that were already here and had the best meal, I remember never tasking westernized treats before and being amazed by how delicious everything tasted, as a matter of fact, it was so good that I was jumping around with other kids in the house and ran directly into a spring-loaded mattress frame and broke my nose on the first night in the United States, talk about a welcome adventure.

As time progressed and my parents and my brother got adjusted in their new home, I started learning more about St. Louis and how it was the capital for Bosnian immigrant that was welcomed via the transfer program to revitalize St. Louis and help boost the cities economy and I am proud to say, that I am so proud of all of my people and the contributions they have made to make this one of the best cities ever.

I attended Soldan International High School and had the most amazing experience learning about other cultures and seeing all kinds of races and ethnicities and embracing that and make amazing progressional advanced on all of my studies. If it couldn’t get any better, during my attendance at Soldan, I was introduced to a computer teacher named Mr. Koric, who was also of Bosnian origin, so this was just incredible and I couldn’t believe that I actually had a Bosnian teacher. He was one of the computer teachers that all the kids wanted to go to and just have fun because he brought the energy up in the room and made people learn so much. While Koric was a great teacher, I would also say that he was the pure reason that I got into computers and started learning more about IT and coding, which ultimately made me start building websites and looking at different IT paths for a career.

While attending UMSL, I continued to pursue the IT route and decided to ultimately aim for a degree in Computer Science because I had such a huge love and passion for anything computer-related and I was always eager to learn new things, which sparked me getting an internship at a public relations company in downtown St. Louis and ultimately moving over to a full-time developer position within the company in a years time. While working a full-time job and having the IT skillset, I slowly started experimenting other routes and seeing what I could do on the side to spark some business ideas, but things were running slow and I wasn’t being as creative as I should be, so this happened…

One evening, I’m looking for events in the local region and each time that I would look for events, I would keep scrolling and was never satisfied with all the events displayed, which all seemed “boring” to me, so this sparked an idea. With social media playing a huge role in 2017, I thought to myself, what can I do to enhance the experience of showcasing events that seem “cool” and saving people the time it takes for things to do? This is where the Instagram handle @saintlouisevents sparked. With having such an organic name and me having the technical IT side of being able to compile “cool” events and then schedule them for posting on Instagram – Once I started doing this, growth was slow, but once I started reaching close to 500 followers, the page blew up to 10,000 within a year and I knew I was on the right track to provide people content and save their time browsing for things to do. As of today, we have 50,000+ local followers and I have worked with 300+ business and vendors to bring them exposure to their events/businesses and I couldn’t be more proud of what the page has turned into.

With such a huge organic following, you then start to get even more creative, which sparked me to start Smajlovic Enterprises, which is a IT-based start-up in St. Louis that specializes in website development, marketing, graphics, maintenance and all IT related things because now I could combine the exposure and list of network contacts that I have built, into boosting up other routes that I am working on and succeeding in.

Moral of the story, don’t ever give up – Even if you’ve come from a war-torn country with nothing but your family and possibly $20 in their pockets, everything is achievable if you put the bad things in your life to the side and focus on the positives.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I truly believe that nobody in live has paved their life on a smooth road, even if you think that your life is perfect, you and your family must have overcome something along the way to place you where you are today. From being an immigrant kid in a new country with no knowledge of the english to becoming a developer with two successful business routes, the road is getting a lot smoother, but I love challenges along the way. That is the only way that you will grow.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
One of my proudest achievements would be starting Saint Louis Events and seeing the success that it has brought me. With it starting as just an idea and doing it to help a small community, I am now in the top 5 St. Louis based Instagram handles and it’s my duty to provide content to our locals. With having worked with 300+ local business/vendors and seeing the side of events that I would have never had a chance, had it not been for collaboration and promotions, I wouldn’t have an interesting life as I do with the help from Saint Louis Events.

One of the biggest benefits is that I help businesses and business owners grow by providing them inexpensive exposure to their brands and events and I have heard so much feedback from others that it has helped their business and/or events grow and sell out at time – This is what makes me happy. Saint Louis Events helps business owners and businesses get their name or product out to 50,000+ locals and we always back all of our promotions with the best insights and coordinating in the industry to maximize exposure to help you get the best results possible.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important lesson is to be as humble and willing to help others, even if you don’t get the same in return. You never know how far your kindness and willingness to help could go and you might just make someone’s day. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to live in this beautiful country, have a roof over my head and a healthy family. That is a journey that just keeps on going and lessons are learned as life progresses.

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