Photo by: Debra Lawler

Dean Bay and Maya Tribbitt ’21 honored for leadership in entertainment technology

“Find a young person in your orbit and offer your support, a bit of advice, a quick read of a presentation,” USC Annenberg Dean Willow Bay encouraged industry leaders gathered for the third annual Hedy Lamarr Awards reception at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.

“You may even be surprised at what you get out of it. I have seen firsthand how much this generation brings to the table. In fact, we must learn from them, too. They will keep our spirit of innovation alive.”

On Nov. 12, Bay was honored by The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) with their Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology and was joined by USC Annenberg journalism major Maya Tribbitt, who received their Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology.

DEG established the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry as well as the Emerging Leader Award to honor female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. 

At the event, Bay shared that many of the opportunities she has had to forge new ground in her career came as a direct result of Lamarr’s scientific breakthroughs, which became the foundation for wireless technology.

“I am honored to receive this award inspired by Hedy Lemarr’s relentless commitment not only to pushing the boundaries of invention, but also to forging new roles for women in the entertainment and technology industries,” she said. “It’s also such an honor to share this with our extraordinary student honoree Maya Tribbitt, who we are preparing to lead with this same level of intelligence, curiosity and courage.”

Tribbitt added that the recognition has brought her a tremendous sense of validation and inspiration as she pursues a career in journalism and entertainment. 

“I think it’s so important to support journalists and specifically female journalists right now,” said Tribbitt, who has interned with The Hollywood Reporter and most recently with Amazon Studios. “I’m so grateful to the Digital Entertainment Group for this opportunity.”

“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2019 Hedy Lamarr Awards to Dean Willow Bay, for her commitment to educating the next generation of storytellers about the power of their creative work to span traditional and digital platforms, and USC student Maya Tribbitt,” said Amy Jo Smith, President and CEO, DEG. “These communicators truly embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to innovation in media and technology.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman, and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering "frequency hopping.” Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. 

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: innovation, engagement and excellence.