Search past winners/finalists


2011 SAWIB WinnerCompany: GenArts, Cambridge, MA, USA
Company Description: GenArts, Inc. is the premier source of specialized visual effects software for the film, broadcast and video industries. The company was founded in 1996 in Cambridge, Mass. by industry-renowned digital artist and computer scientist, Karl Sims.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Executive – Non-Services Businesses – up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Katherine Hays, CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

2011 represents a turning point for GenArts, Inc. and its visionary CEO Katherine Hays. GenArts, the premier provider of groundbreaking visual effects software to the film, broadcast television, and advertising industries, welcomed Katherine to its helm in 2008. Former Senior Director at Microsoft and founder of video game advertising start-up Massive Incorporated, Katherine aspired to expand the single-product company to reach a broader market, so she developed and executed an aggressive growth strategy to extend the market for visual effects software. After three acquisitions effectively diversifying GenArts’ product offering, the execution of innovative strategic alliance agreements with Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Foundry, and additions to the company’s management team, GenArts was poised to begin expansion. Now, after years of product development enabling the scalability of the company’s core visual effects technology, Katherine’s vision has finally come to fruition.

To effectively execute her vision, GenArts needed to produce a simple-to-use product while maintaining the superior-quality effects and find a way to share the expertise of industry professionals with the broader market. In June, the company rose to the challenge through the releases of Sapphire Edge and FX Central. Sapphire Edge, a scaled version of high-end product Sapphire, enables busy videographers to get the look their footage needs without compromising the quality and integrity of the effects. FX Central enables busy video creators to access metrics so they can more effectively choose a look that engages their viewers. By democratizing creativity and making visual effects accessible to a broader audience, businesses of all sizes are able to stand out in a world overrun with lackluster video.

Katherine pushed the expansion even further with strategic partnerships offering a realistic, scalable, and repeatable solution for smaller businesses. In September, GenArts inked a landmark deal with PixelFish, a creator and distributor of video advertisements for small businesses, to bring visual effects to the ads they create. Now, local businesses can access premium-quality video ads that enable them to more effectively reach their audience and ultimately increase sales.

Katherine also secured key strategic partnerships with Sony Creative Software and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to ensure that users of all skill levels have the most advanced tools to make a significant impact through video.

Katherine has also led several movements establishing the company and its products as industry leaders, including the addition of former Artisan Entertainment CEO Amir Malin to the company’s Board of Directors and her leadership in a thought-provoking panel discussion of visual effects at the NAB show.

However, innovations and expansions to the broader market do not come at the expense of its core business. In a down market with only 5% category growth, GenArts saw a nearly 30% increase in revenue last year, a growth the company can only extend with the introduction of their new products. Katherine has committed to continuing innovation to the visual effects artists who drive creativity for the industry, demonstrable by GenArts’ release of a significant new version of its industry-leading Sapphire plugins this year.

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

Amir Malin Appointed to GenArts Board of Directors

GenArts Partners with USC

NAB Panel

Sapphire Edge

GenArts Strategy

GenArts/Sony Partnership

GenArts/PixelFish Partnership

Sapphire v6


Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 100 words):

Before joining GenArts, Katherine Hays co-founded Massive Incorporated, the world’s first video game advertising network. As Massive’s COO/CFO, Katherine led its sale to Microsoft in 2006, where she then spearheaded the post-acquisition integration effort as a Microsoft Senior Director and Massive COO. Katherine holds three technical patents for real-time advertising solution and composite media delivery.

Prior to founding Massive, Katherine headed Goldman Sachs’ digital and interactive media team as an Equity Research Analyst. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and now sits on the board of prestigious art foundations including The George Eastman House and the American and International Friends of the Louvre.