Laila Mickelwait received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science & International Relations from the University of California Riverside and a Master of Public Diplomacy degree from the Annenberg School of Communications and the Dornsife School of International Relations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State.
She has spent time working with Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Federation of United Nations Associations Millennium Project, and the National Journalism Center. During her time with the Millennium Project she participated in research and writing for the annual "State of the Future" report addressing the 15 global challenges, which was featured in TIME magazine and endorsed by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. The section of the report Laila updated to include the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery was featured in 98 newspapers across the globe.
Laila became keenly aware of the need to practically serve those suffering from poverty, disease and injustice, and so in 2006 co-founded New Reality International (NRI) and continues to serve as NRI USA's president. Laila also works with Exodus Cry, an international anti-slavery organization in the arena of policy and public affairs. Laila has been engaging legislators on issues of legislation that deal with the injustice of prostitution human trafficking. Laila has presented and advocated for reform at anti-trafficking conferences, the United Nations, and to legislators all over the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and The United States.
Laila's motivation for her work is her love for Jesus and her desire to make His love known to those who are hurting and in need. In addition to her work with New Reality International and Exodus Cry, Laila is a part time staff member at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, a place of 24/7 worship and prayer. Laila believes that prayer is a central to the work of justice and is critical component to seeing breakthrough in the communities that NRI serves.