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Laila Shabir

Leaders USA 2023


Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Girls Make Games


North Carolina



Laila Shabir is the founder and chief executive officer of Girls Make Games. She is a Pakistani immigrant raised in the United Arab Emirates. Laila attended MIT and pursued finance at BlackRock and economic research at The Brookings Institution. She eventually found her passion in video games while watching her husband play Halo competitively. By seeing the skills he acquired through playing, Laila realized the connection between education and video games. In 2014, named Laila the Games Industry Person of the Year, and in 2018, she received the Visionary Award from the Entertainment Software Association Foundation. In 2021, Laila was also featured on Variety’s Top 500 Entertainment Business Leaders list. As a proud gamer and developer, Laila aspires to teach one million girls how to make video games.