We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Ali Imad Fadlallah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Ali Imad, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
We exist! Especially in communities like mine, most people don’t know there’s someone out there who can help them tell their story on applications for college or grad school. Meanwhile, people spend thousands on test prep, but often fail to realize that professional help with their story, like personal statements and essays, can be a competitive gamechanger. Also, as an Arab-American, our exclusion from the U.S. census and the pressure we face to check the “white” box on applications reinforces an idea that our identity is not important enough to count. It’s a form of erasing our unique story. Most Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) Americans can relate. So my services center on supporting applicants – especially MENA and other minority applicants – with the storytelling aspect of their application, so that colleges and grad schools not only know “we exist,” but also that our stories equip us with a diverse and valuable perspective.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I do business as aliimad.com, but the company name is Medina Media, which is a multimedia company run by my wife Malak and I. So, under Medina’s umbrella there is my editing business (aliimad.com) as well as Malak’s photography services, filmmaking, and online print-shop (malakwazne.com). We also collaborate on the film side for client-work, including a recent documentary film project with VOQAL USA that took us to Portland, Denver and Minneapolis in March 2020, just as the pandemic was sweeping the United States.
But the thing that ties everything together – from Malak’s work to mine – is storytelling. And I believe what sets me apart is my background as a creative writer. I also earned my Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard and my MBA from Emory University; and in both cases, my writing helped distinguish me as an applicant. So when you tie it all together: my ability to pull on many disciplines of writing; my background in business; and my expertise in education; I’m well positioned to run a company focused on helping others tell their story.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Yes, and I’m eager to bring Malak to LA for her first visit. I’d start in West Hollywood to show her my life for three years: living at The Angelene above Sprouts Farmers Market; attending CRE8 Music Academy across from Trader Joe’s and my Pilates studio; working from “Food+Lab” down the street, or Joe & the Juice in deeper WeHo right next to the Lululemon store; eating at The Pizza Press, my all-time favorite; and of course breaking a sweat at Urban Exhale Yoga. This is so LA lol. For an ideal date, we’d wake up early to prep for our 7-ish mile hike up the Los Liones Trail in the Pacific Palisades. There are so many beautiful trails all across metro-LA but what makes this one special is a little cafe in the Palisades, just down the road from the trail, connected to the Bay Club, with a balcony facing the Pacific Ocean. After our scenic and sweaty hike, we’ll order some fresh juice and food, and we’ll take our time washing the mountain dust off in the Bay Club’s fancy locker rooms that are equipped with towels and toiletries. Then we’ll grab our food and juice and sit outside to catch the views and the vibe.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
God! I lean on Allah (swt) and the Holy Quran for growth and guidance, as well as on the teachings of the “Fourteen Infallibles” of Islam, including the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima al-Zahra, and the twelve Holy Imams, especially Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (swsa). They’re the real reason I’m always content with what I have yet discontent with my character, because I need to continue working hard each day to become a better Muslim.
Finally, I’ve benefited greatly from books like Peshawar Nights by Sultanu’l Wa’izin Shirazi, A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and a Return to Love by Marianne Williamson.
Brenda Jovel (for the wedding photo and the two love-shoot photos)