Meet The Newest Webby Judges
Annually, we work alongside our judging body, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS), to honor the best creators and teams creating digital work that helps us interact with the world around us. For the 26th Annual Webby Awards, we have welcomed a diverse group of new jurors to the Academy. Our newest judges leverage the Internet to lead innovation across entertainment, advertising, social impact, journalism, business, gaming, healthcare, and more.
Award-nominated actor, writer, and producer Quinta Brunson has quickly made a name for herself as a powerful force within the entertainment industry. Next year, Quinta will star in, as well as serve as head writer and executive producer for ABC’s new comedy series, “Abbott Elementary.” The series, inspired by Quinta’s mother who served as a public-school teacher, follows a group of dedicated, passionate teachers that are brought together in a Philadelphia public school. Brunson most recently starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed sketch comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” opposite Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis, and Ashley Nicole Black. Created and written by Thede and executive produced by Issa Rae.
Quinta burst onto the entertainment scene in 2014 when the series she created, “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date” went viral on YouTube and Instagram, making it one of the first series to gain a mass following on both digital platforms. Since then, Quinta’s original content has reached hundreds of millions of people and her followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have hit 2.5 million and counting. Quinta’s online success quickly attracted the attention of BuzzFeed, where she landed an initial job as a video producer. Shortly after, Brunson’s position quickly grew as she sold two web series as a development partner with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures: the scripted comedy “Broke” (which she wrote, produced, and starred in) for YouTube Red and “Up for Adoption,” which was produced by Verizon’s go90.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Co-Founder & CEO – Neeva
Sridhar Ramaswamy is the Chief Executive Officer of Neeva, an ads free, private search engine, started by himself and two partners in 2019. He has also served as a Venture Partner at Greylock Partners since October 2018.
Prior to founding Neeva, Sridhar oversaw all of Google’s Advertising products, which included search, display and video advertising, analytics, shopping, payments, and travel. He joined Google as an engineer in 2003 and was an integral part of the growth of AdWords and Google’s advertising business. Before that, Sridhar was a Director of Engineering for the analytics platform at E.piphany. He also held research positions at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, and Bell Communications Research (Bellcore). Sridhar earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and his Master of Science and Ph.D. in computer science from Brown University. He has published numerous papers on database systems and database theory and holds several patents in that area.
Arlan Hamilton, Founder & Managing Partner – Backstage Capital
Arlan Hamilton is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBTQIA+. Backstage has now raised $20 million and invested in nearly 200 startup companies led by underestimated founders and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Quartz. This year, Arlan and Backstage Capital launched one of the first equity crowdfunding campaigns that allowed people to invest in a venture capital firm—and raised $1.07 million in 9 hours, later raising $5 million in less than a week after the SEC changed the maximum limit.
You can also catch Arlan every week, hosting Your First Million, a weekly podcast featuring in-depth conversations with how the world’s most successful people finessed their first million dollars, customers, or downloads.
Kulap Vilaysack, Co-host – Add to Cart
Kulap Vilaysack is the child of Laotian refugees. Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Eagan, Minnesota, she currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Scott, and two dogs, Georgia Michaela and Molly Ringwald.
She is the co-host of the Lemonada Media podcast, and Webby Award Winner, Add To Cart with friend SuChin Pak. Her debut documentary Origin Story chronicles a road trip into her complicated past. Vilaysack is also the creator, showrunner and sometimes director of the 4-season semi-scripted comedy series Bajillion Dollar Propertie$. She also served as showrunner and co-executive producer of the NBC special, A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy.” Kulap also recently directed the Emily Heller Comedy Special, “Ice Thickeners” for Comedy Central digital.
In case you missed it: Listen to Kulap and SuChin visit The Webby Podcast and discuss why we purchase certain items, and why that should be examined.
Jessamyn Stanley, Yoga Teacher & Body Positivity Advocate – The Underbelly / Dear Jessamyn Podcast
Jessamyn Stanley is an internationally acclaimed voice in wellness, highly sought-after for her insights on 21st-century yoga and intersectional identity. She is the founder of The Underbelly, a streaming wellness app and community, co-host of the podcast Dear Jessamyn, and co-founder of We Go High, a North Carolina based cannabis justice initiative. She is a regular contributor to SELF magazine, has been featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine (UK), and covered in the New York Times, Vogue, Glamour, Sports Illustrated among many other domestic and international media outlets. She is also the author of Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance and Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love your Body.
For an introduction to The Underbelly, check out its yoga class offerings, starting with the Air Track to practice breathing techniques.
Liana Douillet Guzmán, CMO – Skillshare
Liana Douillet Guzmán is the Chief Marketing Officer at Skillshare, an online learning platform. As CMO, Liana helps to set Skillshare’s long-term strategy and drives Skillshare’s growth and retention through brand, acquisition, communications, partnerships and sales.
Prior to joining Skillshare, Liana spent four years at Blockchain, most recently as the company’s COO. In that capacity, Liana partnered closely with the CEO to set company strategy and was responsible for overseeing the Expansion, Partnerships, Operations, Talent, User Success, Research, Marketing, Growth and Communications functions. She helped the company grow its revenue, expand into new product lines and geographies, and grow its user base 10x to over 40M. Before joining the ranks at Blockchain, Liana led Branding and Communications at Axiom, a professional services firm, and helped them grow to a $250 million dollar/year industry leader with 2000 people in 17 offices globally.
Legacy Russell, Executive Director & Chief Curator – The Kitchen
Legacy Russell is a curator and writer. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Executive Director & Chief Curator of The Kitchen. Formerly she was the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Russell holds an MRes with Distinction in Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London with a focus in Visual Culture. Her academic, curatorial, and creative work focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new media ritual. Russell’s written work, interviews, and essays have been published internationally. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, a 2020 Rauschenberg Residency Fellow, and a recipient of the 2021 Creative Capital Award.
Aida Osman, Co-host – Keep It
Aidia Osman is a comedian, actress, and writer. Aida recently booked the lead role on Issa Rae’s upcoming HBO Max series RAP SH*T, which she also serves as an Executive Story Editor on. Prior to that she was a story-editor for HBO’s BETTY, a writer on Netflix’s BIG MOUTH and a consulting producer on an upcoming major Non-scripted series for Netflix. She is the host of the incredibly popular Crooked Media podcast, and Webby Award Winner, KEEP IT, alongside Louis Virtel and Ira Madison III. In 2020, Aida participated in the prestigious CBS Diversity Showcase as a featured performer.
We’re thrilled to have these leaders and pioneers as new members of the Academy, and look forward to having their expertise during this season of The Webby Awards. Learn about our new categories, and enter the 26th Annual Webby Awards!