Najla was born in Cardiff, Wales, but her family, which was originally from Libya, moved back to Benghazi when she was just six years old. She was the oldest of four children, and her parents stressed the importance of a good education. After earning a law degree, Najla practiced for three years and saw firsthand the corruption in the judicial system. She decided to go into academia and teach at Benghazi University. Following the revolution, she worked with USIP on various Libya projects. Currently, she is a Fulbright Scholar studying conflict transformation at Eastern Mennonite University. She is a single mother to two daughters.