Wellesley Alumna Included in Forbes “30 Under 30: Media” List

Laila Alawa speaking to an audience
December 6, 2017

Founder and CEO of the media company The Tempest, Laila Alawa ’12, has earned a coveted spot on Forbes magazine’s list of 30 Under 30: Media. The Tempest seeks to change the global narrative of diverse millennial women, connecting people with thousands of female thought leaders on a wide range of issues, with the intention of disrupting the global media status quo. Based in the United States and the United Arab Emirates, The Tempest delivers user-generated content from more than 1,000 global contributors as well as original video and audio to an audience of approximately 3 million monthly visitors.

“As a proud Wellesley graduate, I’m reminded on a daily basis just how powerful storytelling can be, in every sense of the word,” Alawa told Daily Shot writers. “The opportunities and incredible friends I made during my time at Wellesley have stayed with me, and I can credit much of our impact as a company to the values and experiences I gained there. I graduated knowing that I could make an impact that wasn’t limited to a few people, and it’s been a principle I’ve incorporated into making The Tempest a global media force to be reckoned with, highlighting the perspectives and experiences of women and nonbinary people.”

Alawa gave a TEDx talk, The Magic Behind World Domination, at Emory University in April and is also the host of a critically acclaimed podcast called “The Exposé,” where she dissects cultural norms, taboos, and societal issues with her co-hosts as well as with guests such as Hollywood director Lexi Alexander, rapper Mona Haydar, and cultural commentator Emilie Lawrence. 

Alawa regularly appears on national and international television, radio, and podcast programs, including on NPR, Cheddar, BBC World, and Al-Jazeera America, to provide a perspective on minority stereotyping, media, technology, politics, and gender studies. She also has an extensive following on social media, where she addresses news, entrepreneurship, and culture. Since founding The Tempest, Alawa has been quoted in nationwide outlets including the New York Times, the Guardian, and CNN Money.

Prior to founding the company, Alawa worked at the White House and in Congress, and she previously served as a research specialist at Princeton University, studying socio-cognitive processing under the framework of community identity and belonging. At Wellesley, Alawa spent time dissecting stereotype threats to women in the sciences, consumer behaviorism, and minority stereotyping and judgment; her research on women in the sciences was published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly.