Ask Zoe Linza what has driven her throughout her distinguished career, and the answer is simple: Connecting people.
“One of my strengths is finding the passion in another person, and honing and developing that. Building relationships and helping people is kind of my forte,” said Linza, who has been executive director of the 6,000-member Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis since late 2006. “When I see groups of people that don’t know each other and together they can make things happen, that gets me going.”
Linza has connected countless groups of people and earned numerous accolades along a career path that has included executive positions with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Missouri Optometric Association. She also served for a year as president of the National Association of Bar Executives.
While career honors are certainly a point of pride for Linza, the chance to work with and help other people resonates much more deeply. When she first started at BAMSL, one of her main objectives was to improve the image of lawyers, she said.
“I hate lawyer jokes,” she said. “They’re just such good people. They give their time, their energy and their money, and I wanted to help show other people that.”
Linza has put her words into action through helping to expand BAMSL’s reach in community involvement, which she said became a part of her job she has really enjoyed. Under Linza’s leadership, BAMSL has helped to run Motion for Kids, an annual holiday party for about 2,500 children who are either in the foster care system or whose lives have been severely affected by the criminal justice system.
The NFL’s St. Louis Rams had worked with the program for several years, but when they left town for the West Coast, Linza said she helped to make connections with people working for the city’s two remaining major professional sports teams. The St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals both became major sponsors of the event and brought in some of their connections to help as well.
Linza also plays a key role in putting together BAMSL’s packed schedule of events, such as Law Day, the annual Judicial Retirement Dinner and Corporate Counsel Institute.
“I love getting to know all the wonderful people in St. Louis,” she said. “Even the people we work with in relationships, whether it’s court reporters or hotel people. I love working with hotel people. We do a lot of events, and I get energized when it all comes together and everything is all decorated and looking great, and everyone is having a good time.”
Linza, who’s helping BAMSL through the coronavirus crisis, said she plans to retire “at some point” this year, but she doesn’t expect to stray far from helping to make connections. She said she’s looking forward to doing some consulting work and strategic planning, and spending more time with her grandchildren.
Maybe at some point, she’ll also find a way to end the lawyer humor.
“I haven’t quite succeeded in getting rid of the lawyer jokes,” Linza said with a laugh, “but hopefully I have helped to show they’re not like the kind of people you hear about in the jokes.”