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 27th Annual Webby Awards, we have welcomed a new group of experts to the Academy. Our newest judges leverage the Internet to carve new pathways in Web3, create technology and tools responsibly, and innovate in the world’s biggest brands.
Matthew Ball, CEO, Epyllion Co
For the past few years, Matthew Ball has been a leading voice on the metaverse, and what it means for businesses in the future. As the CEO of Epyllion Co, a diversified investment firm, he leads the company’s angel investments, advisory services, and production of television, films and video games.
Ball is also a Venture Partner at Makers Fund, Senior Advisor to KKR, Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company, sits on the board of numerous start-ups, and co-founded the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, which can be found on the New York Stock Exchange (Ticker: METV). His first book, “The Metaverse and How it Will Revolutionize Everything”, was published in July 2022 and became an instant national and international bestseller. Ball is also an “Occasional Contributor” to The Economist, holds bylines at Bloomberg, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and wrote the August 8, 2022 cover story for Time Magazine. He was previously the Head of Strategy for Amazon Studios, and an executive at The Chernin Group’s Otter Media and Accenture.
Takashi Murakami, Artist
As a contemporary artist, pioneer and trust iconoclast, Takashi Murakami has put his mark on the art world. Born in Tokyo, Murakami is the originator and proponent of Superflat theory, which reconstructs Japanese traditional paintings and the origin of Japanese contemporary art through visual premises of anime and manga. Murakami has created numerous characters, including Miss Ko² and Mr. DOB that reflects the otaku culture and presents them in the forms of intentionally kitsch sculptures and acutely two-dimensional paintings antithetical to the Western perspective techniques.
Murakami’s cultural theory based on subcultures not only deconstructs the highbrow/lowbrow hierarchy but critically illustrates post-World War II Japanese psychology, establishing a discourse unique to Japan in the increasingly globalizing art scene. He continues to attract a wide-ranging audience beyond contemporary art through his multifaceted activities including his collaborations with Louis Vuitton, Kanye West and Drake and focuses on street culture and contemporary ceramics. The final installment of his Superflat trilogy of curated exhibitions, Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture (New York, 2005), was awarded The Best Thematic Museum Show in New York by AICA that year. His first retrospective, ©MURAKAMI (2007 – 2009) toured four cities in North America and Europe, starting with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Learn more about Murakami; we recently spoke to him about what he’s looking forward to seeing in this year’s Webby Awards entries. Read our Judges Spotlight on him!
Roxane Gay, Host, The Roxane Gay Agenda
Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects. She also has a newsletter, The Audacity and a podcast, The Roxane Gay Agenda.
Learn more about Gay; we recently spoke to her about what she’s looking forward to seeing in this year’s Webby Awards entries. Read our Judges Spotlight on her!
Fashion Designer, Television Personality & Author
Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years and became a breakout star following the launch of the Emmy-winning reboot of the reality makeover series “Queer Eye” in 2018. Surrounded by an all-new cast, France is the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department, ready to make America fabulous again one makeover at a time. But the series is about so much more than just new clothes to the British-born fashion advisor; it’s about real-life issues, representation, and acceptance on all sides.
Tan can also be seen starring as the co-host of Netflix’s global design competition series, “Next in Fashion” alongside Alexa Chung. In 2019, Tan released his NY Times best-selling memoir “Naturally Tan” as well as the Emmy-nominated and Webby Award-winning YouTube series “Dressing Funny,” which features him making over his celebrity friends including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Miranda Sings, Pete Davidson, and John Mulaney.
Natalie Guzman Co-President and CMO, Savage X Fenty
Natalie Guzman serves as Co-President & CMO of Savage X Fenty. Under Natalie’s leadership, Savage X Fenty has reached ground-breaking heights in growth and valuation, while also earning recognition as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Style Companies, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies, received a Femmy Award, 6 Webby Awards, 3 Emmy nominations and an Emmy award, as well as a People’s Choice Award nomination.
She played an instrumental role in the production and marketing of Savage X Fenty’s ground-breaking Fashion Shows—with 2019’s Show being considered one of the most electrifying moments of New York Fashion Week. Having amassed a staggering number of press impressions at the time of its premiere on Amazon Prime Video and still generating buzz to this day, all 3 volumes of the Show have been revered for their incomparable display of inclusivity and innovation. In 2021 and 2022, Natalie was named one of Brand Innovators Top 100 Women in Brand Marketing, which celebrates the most influential, innovative, and powerful women leading the advertising and marketing industry. She has also been recognized by Forbes, Business Insider and Glossy.co as an innovative and entrepreneurial CMO.
Cathy Hackl, Co-founder & Chief Metaverse Officer, Journey
Cathy Hackl is a globally recognized metaverse expert, tech futurist, and top business executive with deep experience working in metaverse-related fields with companies like HTC VIVE, Magic Leap, and Amazon Web Services. She’s the Chief Metaverse Officer and Co-Founder of Journey, where she leads Journey’s Metaverse Studio working with the world’s top brands on metaverse/Web3 strategies, NFTs, gaming, virtual fashion, and how to extend their brands into virtual worlds. Her consultancy, the Futures Intelligence Group, was acquired in just ten months, and now is part of Journey.
She’s a sought-after consultant, speaker, and media personality. Hackl was recently featured in 60 Minutes+, WSJ, and WIRED’s coverage of the metaverse and is a contributor to Forbes. She has written two books and is writing an anticipated book on the business opportunities of the metaverse titled The Metaverse Economy. Hackl has been dubbed the Godmother of the Metaverse and is one of the top tech voices on LinkedIn. She’s also the host of Adweek’s Metaverse Marketing podcast. BigThink named Hackl one of the top 10 most influential women in tech in 2020 and in 2021 she was included in the prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led.
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 27th Annual Webby Awards!