Leila Gharani is the founder of XelPlus and a famous Microsoft Excel instructor and YouTuber.

She has more than 1.6 million subscribers on her YouTube channel by name, Leila Gharani.


Leila Gharani was born on 4 June 1978 in Iran.

As a kid, she wanted to grow up to become an astronaut and work for NASA.

A brilliant student-

Leila did her primary schooling in Tehran, Iran and at 11, she moved to Austria.

Here, she studied for her middle school and high school from Vienna International School in Vienna, Austria.

Leila was a bright student and used to mostly get A’s.

Moving to Canada-

After completing her schooling, Leila moved to Canada for her further studies.

At school, she was good at economics and as her teachers advised her to study economics, she decided to graduate in it.

In 1996, Leila joined Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada to study for a Bachelor of Social Science and Economics.

Here, she received a senate medal for outstanding academic achievement.

Leila graduated in 1999 and in the same year, she joined University of Toronto in Toronto to study for a Masters in Economics.

Here, she specialised in Econometrics and Statistical Analysis.


From September 1999 to May 2000, Leila worked as a Teaching Assistant at University of Toronto.

Here, she taught Intermediate Macroeconomics.

Then, Leila worked as an Economist at the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, a non-profit organization.

Here, she got introduced to Microsoft Excel and she researched for various publications and for the Bank of Canada.

Here, Leila’s job involved a lot of research and writing and as she didn’t like writing, she quit this job.

She was more interested in econometrics (statistics) than research.

Moving to Austria & becoming a consultant-

After quitting her research job, Leila moved back to Austria and from May 2001 to April 2002, she worked as an in-house consultant for Frantschach in Vienna, Austria.

While working here, she learnt a lot about Excel and she also learnt about Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) by reading blog posts and books and she implemented her learnings into her work.

Leila also learnt a great deal about Excel through Excel forums.

Working as an Independent Productivity Consultant-

After quitting her job, from May 2002, Leila started working as an Independent Productivity Consultant and started providing consulting services of VBA and SAP.

As she was young at that time, she feared that she might not get clients and so, she decided to once again become an employee.

Joining Mondi Group-

So, Leila joined Mondi Group in October 2003 and started working as an Accounting Systems Expert.

Later, she worked in many roles such as SAP Consultant and Project Manager.

While working here, Leila became an Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) expert and switched from finance to IT division.

Independent Business Consultant & Instructor-

After quitting her job at Mondi Group, Leila started working as an Independent Business Consultant providing Excel consultancy and she also started working as an instructor.

Once, while working as a consultant, she got sick and couldn’t work for a month and as a result, she couldn’t earn during that month and so, she decided to focus on a passive income stream.

So, Leila started offering courses through her website.

Later, she also started offering her courses on other platforms and in 2020, she stopped consulting.

Leila quit consulting because she felt that instead of being in search of new clients it would be much better for her to focus on her courses which have been becoming popular online.

XelPlus & her YouTube channel-

In January 2015, Leila started her XelPlus website and started offering Excel courses through it.

She started to market her courses through her YouTube channel, Leila Gharani.

Initially, Leila started recording the videos with her iPhone but later, she invested in a camera.

She has a small team consisting of a cameraman, an editor, etc. for helping her out with her YouTube channel.

After she started publishing videos onto her channel, she found that many people were finding them helpful and so, she started producing exclusive videos for YouTube.

Leila also sells merchandise.

Becoming successful-

Now, Leila is a very successful instructor and YouTuber.

As of April 2022, she has 1.62M subscribers on her YouTube channel and she has 44.6k followers on Instagram.

In 2021, in one of her videos, Leila stated that her YouTube channel is generating enough income for her to live comfortably and also to pay for her team.

Microsoft MVP Award-

In 2017, Leila received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the Excel Category.

Later, she delivered a speech at the Bulgaria Excel Days 2019 and the 2022 Global Excel Summit.

Leila also served as an Event Ambassador of the Global Excel Summit.

She has been featured on CNBC, BBC, Microsoft, etc.

Personal life-

In 2007, Leila married Christian.

This couple has an elder son and a younger daughter.

Currently, Leila lives in Austria.

Some interesting facts about Leila Gharani-

  • Leila is a cat person and gardening is her hobby.
  • Breaking Bad and Stranger Things are her favourite Netflix TV shows.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Leila Gharani?

Share with me in the comment section below.

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Naveen Reddy

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy. I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you and help you become successful in life. Sometimes, I also write the success stories of brands. Enjoy the well-researched articles!!!


Dr T SHANKER RAO · August 19, 2022 at 2:52 PM

This is an article well researched and written. Leila is hardworking as it is evident from her contributions. First I thought ,she is an Indian, but anyway it is not an hindrance to my excel learning Excel from her YouTube channel. I also love Iranian music

    Naveen Reddy · August 19, 2022 at 3:31 PM

    Thank you Shanker for your kind and positive words.

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