Laila Alawa, an American Muslim of Syrian origin, has been selected among the amazing change-makers in this year’s Forbes #30Under30 list.
The 24-year-old lady is the co-founder and CEO of The Tempest, a website, which gathers 500,000 hits per month. Alawa originally geared her website toward Muslim women but pivoted to incorporate women of all ethnic backgrounds. The site has more than 250 contributors around the world — 40% of whom are Muslim.
She is also the host of a critically-acclaimed podcast called The Expose, where she picks apart cultural norms, taboos and societal issues with her co-hosts and important figures such as Hollywood director Lexi Alexander, Mona Haydar, Kathy Benjamin, and Emilie Lawrence. Laila presented a TedX Talk, The Secret Behind World Domination, and is amongst the 40 Women to Watch list.
The Tempest aims at giving a voice to the cultures of those from underrepresented backgrounds.
“Grateful to be among the amazing changemakers and disrupters in this year’s Forbes #30Under30 list,” Alawa wrote on her Facebook page.
“This is not an ending – it’s the beginning to something so much bigger for The Tempest. And I’m so grateful to be taking you along on that journey“.
In an interview with CNN Alawa said:
“As a teenager, I never fit in socially, and I made a vow to myself that when I was older, I’d dedicate my work to creating serious impact for those who felt the same way. On top of that, my life is a constant story — so melding the two in a high-impact, high-potential media company for diverse millennial women is a constant rush of energy, renewal and tenacity.”
With offices in the U. S. and U.A.E., the website delivers user-generated content from its more than 1,000 global contributors and original video to its audience of three million monthly unique visitors.
“Growing up Muslim, Syrian, Danish, homeschooled, and an immigrant (and – ultimately, American!) in a world where your identity plays an intimate role in the opportunities and accomplishments you are offered is more than a simple statement: it’s an act of defiance,” Alawa said on Facebook.
“I made a vow to myself at 13 that I would never let any person feel silenced or stereotyped if I had the power to do something about it.
“It’s a vow that’s grown to a global movement, one that spans so much more than just me. It’s a movement powered by the incredible global team of staffers and fellows, thousands of thought leaders and influencers, and millions of people from around the world that want what everyone wants: to belong, no matter who or what you are.”