Meet the 2022 Imagine Cup World Championship judges
Published Apr 26 2022 08:51 AM 11.2K Views



2022 brings the 20th anniversary of Imagine Cup, the preeminent global student technology competition where students from around the world apply technology to imagine, develop, and present innovative solutions that address real-life local and global issues.  This year, students from over 160 countries participated in the competition.  Submitted ideas included an app that teaches kids how to write interactively, a monitoring system that ensures ideal conditions for the safe storage and transportation of produce, an app that translates sign language into Python code, and a health monitoring system for breeding chickens.


From tens of thousands of registrants, 48 World Finalist teams were selected last month, and now only 3 teams remain.  On May 24, the first day of Microsoft Build, they will be competing in the Imagine Cup World Championship for the grand prize of USD50,000 in Azure credits, USD100,000 cash prize, and a mentoring session with Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella.  Each team will pitch their project and demo their technology, followed by questions from a panel of seasoned professionals. Judges will use their industry and personal experience to assess each solution based on its use of Azure technology, accessibility and inclusion, marketability as a business idea, and its potential for making an impact.


Let’s meet the judges:




Linda Lian


Common Room


Linda Lian is co-founder and CEO at Common Room, the intelligent community growth platform for today’s fastest-growing companies. She founded Common Room in 2020 to help bring organizations of all sizes closer to their communities. Common Room is the first and only platform that gathers community engagement, product usage, and customer data into a single place and makes it actionable for organizations. Previously, Linda led product marketing for serverless computing at Amazon Web Services, where she saw firsthand the impact developer communities had on product adoption and advancing the company’s goals. She lives in Seattle where she enjoys spending time outdoors and with her partner, dog, and cat.






Kat Norton

Founder and Chief Excel Officer

Miss Excel


Kat Norton spent 4 years as a consultant teaching Excel and in June 2020 decided to post mini Excel lessons on TikTok out of boredom.  Her viral Excel trick videos are infused with creativity, music, dance, and genuine passion; they of course quickly went viral.  The fourth video was about the data-searching  XLOOKUP feature set to DMX’s song “X Gon Give It To Ya” and surpassed 100,000 views within just a few days.  Within a few months, she built out online courses to sell directly to consumers.  This fun side hustle turned into Miss Excel, a successful full-time Excel training business that has grown to more than 1 million followers across TikTok & Instagram — and has brought in 7 figures in course sales..

She also hosts corporate Excel trainings and does motivational speaking engagements on how to shift your energy to find fulfillment in your career.  Kat was recently awarded the Microsoft MVP award and was featured in Business Insider, CNBC, Fox, Bloomberg, The Times and Daily Mail as a pioneer in the "Excel Influencer" space. Kat was also named one of the Top 10 Social Media Influencers of 2021 by Forbes.





Phil Spencer


Microsoft Gaming


Phil Spencer leads Microsoft’s global interactive entertainment business across all devices and services. He plays all sorts of games and has worked in technology and entertainment for more than 30 years, leading global business, creative and engineering teams.  He has previously held roles across Microsoft including Executive Vice President, Gaming; Head of Xbox; Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Studios; and General Manager, Microsoft Game Studios EMEA.

In his roles at Microsoft, Phil has led the Xbox organization through multiple console launches; multiple acquisitions, including Mojang (parent company of Minecraft); and influenced global entertainment franchises such as Halo, Gears of War and Forza. He has also led the expansion of cross-platform gaming with the Xbox Network, investments in subscription business models with Xbox Game Pass, and Microsoft’s introduction of Xbox Cloud Gaming. With his team and colleagues, he continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation, and fun across genres, audiences, and devices.


Before beginning his career as an intern with Microsoft in 1988, Phil graduated from the University of Washington.  He is an executive sponsor of the university’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering and also serves on the Board of Trustees of The Paley Center for Media.



Join us on May 24 at Microsoft Build to find out who will become the 2022 Imagine Cup champion! Follow the action on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with all the competition action. Plus, as a student at Microsoft Build, you can explore topics designed to inspire your learning journey and help you further your career in tech or build your next amazing project.  Register at no cost now!












Version history
Last update:
‎May 02 2022 10:46 AM