The Grand Jury for the 6th edition of Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2019 was successfully held on June 21, 2019. This year we received 180 entries across 06 categories. The virtual Jury members managed to filter 168 nominations, out of which 63 were shortlisted for the final evaluation by the Grand Jury. A panel of 13 Jury members looked into the filtered nominations.
The list of Winners and Special Mentions will be revealed on stage at the 6th Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2019 at Eros Hotel, Nehru Place, New Delhi on August 2, 2019.

Jury Moments: Click here to see jury images


Osama Manzar
Founder & Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation

is a global leader on the mission of eradicating information poverty from India and global south using digital tools through Digital Empowerment Foundation, an organisation he founded in 2002. A British Chevening Scholar and an International Visitors Leadership Program Fellow of the US State Department, Osama is a social entrepreneur, author, columnist, impact speaker, angel investor and mentor. He is member, advisory board, at Alliance for Affordable Internet and sits on several government and policy committees in India and on international organisations working in the areas of Internet, access, and digital inclusion. Osama is also the chairman of Manthan and mBillionth Awards, and has co-authored NetCh@kra–15 Years of Internet in India and Internet Economy of India. Osama writes a weekly column in Indian financial daily Mint and tweets at @Osama Manzar.


Sonal Singh
Head of Corpoporate Communications, Jindal Stainless

currently serves as the Head of Corporate Communications for Jindal Stainless Group, a USD 3 billion company. She has over 13 years of multi-faceted experience in managing corporate, marketing, and leadership communications. Equally adept at Hindi and English, Sonal brings to the table the power of vernacular in her communication strategy. While at SAIL and Government of India, Sonal served as a bilingual compere for several Ministerial functions, which she ascribes to her voracious reading and writing habits. Sonal is a 2005-06 Gold Medalist from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. A regular half marathoner and swimming enthusiast, Sonal is trained in Kathak, and is equally passionate about all other forms of dancing.

Dr Amit Nagpal
Author, Entrepreneur, Storyteller

is a business storyteller with a special interest in personal brand storytelling on social and online media. Inspirational storytelling of the people is close to his heart and he likes to pen short stories on wisdom and love in his spare time. He has co-authored Amazon bestseller, “Personal Branding, Storytelling and Beyond”.
From Marketer to Professor to Storyteller, the six words tell his life story. He has been on a journey from unconscious storytelling in childhood to conscious storytelling in adulthood. He believes storytelling is omnipotent and can inspire, heal and build both brands and bonds.

Natasha Badhwar
Film-Maker & Author and Columnist

is an independent film-maker, media trainer and columnist. She is the author of ‘My Daughters’ Mum’, a heart-warming book on essential subjects, such as selfhood, faith, parenting and marriage. At its core, it is searingly personal, and yet the emotions and experiences are astonishingly universal. Her second book published recently is, ‘Immortal for a Moment’. She also writes a weekly column on relationships, family and society in Mint Lounge. Natasha began her career in broadcast journalism with NDTV as the first female videographer in news television in India. She quit 13 years later as Vice President, Training and Development.

Sonali Khan
Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India

as the Managing Director of Sesame Workshop India, spearheads Galli Galli Sim Sim, a multiplatform initiative that combines the power of mass media with educational outreach to prepare children for school and life. Under her leadership, the organization develops and implements ground breaking programmes to reach children everywhere – especially those who need it most. She is also a global advocate for human rights and for ending violence against marginalized communities, with an emphasis on girls and women. She is a proud recipient of the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar (Women’s Empowerment Award) from the President of India. In 2016, she also received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship for her work in ending child marriage.

Saikat Datta
Director, The Centre for Internet and Society

is the Director of ‘The Centre for Internet & Society’, a Consulting Editor with online news platform, and a Consultant on cybersecurity with IIM, Bangalore. His investigative reporting has been awarded the International Press Institute Award (2007), the Jagan Phadnis Memorial Award (2008), and the National RTI Award for Investigative Journalism (2010). He is the author of ‘India’s Special Forces’, a seminal book on the history and the future of India’s special operations capabilities. He regularly conducts training sessions on hostage rescue operations for Mumbai Police’s ‘Crack Anti-Terrorism’ outfit, Force One.

Bilal Zaidi
Founder and Executive Director,

has been at the forefront of building a culture of crowdfunding to promote democratic interventions. His organization is behind successful Crowdfunding campaigns for Kanhaiya Kumar, Atishi Marlena, Jignesh Mevani, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and many others, He is the recipient of SM4E Award in 2018 and Ketto Social Media Influencer of the Year Award, 2019. He has over a decade of experience working with organizations like Awaaz Foundation, Times Now and NDTV among others.

Aarti Wig
Founder and Country Director, Yunus Social Business India

is the co-founder of ‘Yunus Social Business India’, together with the Nobel Peace Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, to support social business creation in India. She has catalysed the creation of two social impact funds in Mumbai and Bengaluru, and India’s first incubator with Tata Trusts, ‘the Indian Corporate Action Tank’, for large corporates to create in-house social businesses. She is a regular speaker at social enterprise events in India and internationally. She is a Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Initiative and was voted to the Asia 21 fellowship for young leaders making a difference in the Asia Pacific region in 2014.

Hitesh Rajwani
Founder, Social Samosa

heads Social Samosa, an online publication reporting insights, trends and breaking stories on social media marketing. A passion maven and a self-motivated entrepreneur, he has co-founded a couple of ventures in the space of Digital Content. His other areas of interest include social commerce, digital intellectual properties and hyper local commerce. Over the years, he has consulted and trained small & medium businesses with their social media marketing strategy.

Nikhil Pahwa
Founder & Editor, Medianama

has covered the business of digital media in India for over 4 years. Prior to founding MediaNama, he was the Editor of ContentSutra (now owned by the Guardian Media Group). Over the years, he has helped bring a pan-media perspective to digital media reportage, highlighting industry issues, identifying opportunities and problems, and questioning the efficacy of decisions being made by some large media companies.

Nasr ul Hadi
Int’l Center for Journalists'(ICFJ)

helps run PROTO, a startup exploring applied research and co-learning models for civic media in India, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). As a Knight Fellow, he has instigated innovation experiments across print, broadcast and digital media, both in India and the United States. He regularly speaks about his work in leading media conferences held in USA, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Beyond work, he has also taught digital storytelling at postgraduate level.

Pragya Misra Mehrishi
Communication and Policy, WhatsApp

is a Policy Communications Manager for WhatsApp, the world’s largest end-to-end encrypted messaging platform. She manages communications and public policy issues related to privacy, security, and economic empowerment in India which is currently WhatsApp’s largest market. Previously, she was with the Danish Foreign Ministry, where she was responsible for increasing trade from Denmark private and/or public enterprises to India & South Asia.

Neha Poonia

is a broadcast and multimedia journalist who has worked for networks around the globe. Her stories can be watched on Singapore’s Channel News Asia, Turkey’s TRT World, China’s CGTN, South Africa’s SABC and Israel’s i24. Formerly, she was an anchor and news presenter for CNN’s India affiliate- CNN-News18 wherein she lead the network’s pan-India coverage for major breaking stories. She has also written extensively on the issue of gender and equality for CNN-News18’s digital platform-, working as its Gender Editor.

Tripti Varma
Social Media & Website Head at British Council Limited

heads Digital Communications for India at the British Council. Having worked with prominent names in the Indian media industry – from Network 18 to Zee News to NDTV – Tripti comes with 10 years of experience in digital strategy, social media campaigns, content and brand marketing, and creative solutioning. Prior to the British Council, Tripti led the digital initiatives at NDTV GoodTimes – India’s first, premier lifestyle channel. She is an alumnus of College of Art, Delhi (Lalit Kala Mahavidyalaya), from where she obtained her specialization in Applied Art. An aspiring minimalist, Tripti feels strongly about causes related to environment protection and wildlife conservation.