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ella: Curating a Newsletter for Women Seeking to Break the Norm in the Middle East

28 August, 2017
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Women in the Middle East are breaking their silence and pushing past boundaries, and their stories are inspiring and emboldening others to do the same. This is what inspired the creation of a newsletter that wants to bring such stories of change and inspiring women directly to your email box.

Noticing a void in the market for storytelling that targets women, Daria Solovieva, a journalist who has spent years working in Jordan, Egypt and the UAE, decided to create ella, a bi-weekly newsletter that curates news about inspiring women for women.

“I saw a demand in the market for stories about inspiring women who aren’t already on the covers of magazines,” Solovieva told BECAUSE. “I also wanted to make it easier for young women in MENA to discover relevant, helpful information to help them succeed and rise through the ranks in their careers, not just read about fashion and beauty tips. There are several successful models globally, but there isn’t one catering to women in the Middle East.”

ella first started with a soft launch in June 2016, and has been growing ever since. The newsletter’s content features news summaries, profiles by other publications, events, as well as original pieces published at least once a week.

“Our goal is to sort through the noise and to help women discover relevant information, news you can use and that will help you live a life of adventure inside and outside of the office,” said Solovieva. “We focus on news summaries, career and travel tips, plus provide original interviews. We also want to help women connect with like-minded professionals and help them discover the next great opportunity through workshops and events.”

The newsletter has subscribers from across the Middle East, particularly the UAE, where ella started its journey as a member of Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, a hub that supports entrepreneurs and startups. Aside from investments by individuals and accelerators, ella has also gained support from women’s organizations across the region.

Solovieva said that the impact of the newsletter has exceeded all of her expectations, as it continues to grow and reach more people.  

“I think it shows that we struck a chord with our target audience, the kind of women we reach out to and interview, the types of issues we cover,” she said. “Editorially, we try to defy expectations of what it means to be a woman in the Middle East, so our readers respond to that.”

Where the newsletter stands now is just the beginning. Solovieva and her team are redesigning and relaunching ella’s website in the fall, and co-founder Cherbel Gabro is working on producing more original video content for the newsletter.

“We are always looking for new contributors and collaborators and will be hosting several workshops and events in the fall,” said Solovieva. “We also curate and feature a selection of jobs through our partners and allies, as well as local networking events and workshops that might interest our subscriber base of fearless, smart women across the MENA region.”

You can sign up for the newsletter by visiting ella’s website.

Photo credit: Khaleej Times

Tags Ella newsletter United Arab Emirates Middle East women Flat6Labs