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Nominee for 2019 Python Software Foundation Board Election

Lorena Mesa

  • Previous Board Service: 2017 Python Software Director (1 year term), 2018/2019 Python Software Director (2 year term)
  • Employer: GitHub
  • Other Affiliations: PyLadies Chicago, Chicago Tech Diversity Initiative, Latinas in Tech, Django Girls Chicago, Chicago Python User Group Member
  • Nominee Statement:

      It's with great pleasure that I humbly submit my name for the 2019/2020/2021 term of the Python Software Foundation Board of Directors. Below, I have provided an overview of my Python professional usage, Python Community contributions, as well as provide an overview of the goals that I have if elected to the 2019/2020/2021 term.

      Professional Python Usage

      A Python user of 10+ years, my Python journey began when using Python as an Obama for America staffer. This ultimately inspired my career switch from working as a policy analyst to becoming an engineer. I've since worked with Python as a web developer and currently use Python for data science and machine learning as a data engineer on GitHub's Software Intelligence Systems team.

      Python Community Contributions: PyLadies Chicago Founder and Lead Organizer

      My career move from applied social science research into technology really opened my eyes to the challenges confronting underrepresented people in technology. Specifically this experience inspired me to start the PyLadies Chicago chapter which I've been organizing as lead organizer for 4+ years. As a PyLadies Chicago lead organizer:

      • Build the PyLadies Chicago community to 1,100+ MeetUp members
      • Organize with the PyLadies Chicago team 70+ events
      • Develop strategic partnerships with other intersectional and diversity and inclusion minded groups in Chicago, such as helping found the Chicago Tech Diversity Initiative and consulting with Chicago Python User Group in the creation of their new Code of Conduct
      • Onboard new organizers
      • Support the global PyLadies community (see goals below on work currently in flight)

      Python Software Foundation Board of Director 2018/2019 Term (2 Year Term as result of 2017 bylaw changes)

      • Attended 19 of 19 meetings (June 26 2017 meeting - PyCon USA 2019 Meeting)
      • Communications Co-Chair: Oversee the development of content on the blog, email psf-board-public and psf-community mailing mailing lists PSF meeting minutes. Recruited, interviewed, and assisted in the hiring of four new PSF bloggers.
      • PSF Board of Director Education Committee Member, Current: Inaugural committee member as of November 2018 onwards. Committee work has included the development of a new Python in Education grant.
      • With Current Directors Naomi Ceder and Marlene Mhangami created the PSF Translations Work Group Charter, recruited members, and introduced to vote (approved) in April 2019
      • With Former Directors Carol Willing and Trey Hunner and Current Directors Jackie Kazil, Jeff Triplett, and Christopher Neugebauer created the Code of Conduct Work Group Charter, recruited members, and introduced to vote (approved) to PSF in May 2018
      • Authored 6 PSF Blog posts
      • Represented the PSF in "What is the PSF" community talks at PyCaribbean 2019, PyLadies Sweden 2018, PyCon Sweden 2018, and PyCon Colombia 2018.

      Other Python Community Contributions

      PSF Work Group Membership

      Python Conference Organizing

      • PyOhio 2019 Speaker Mentor
      • PyGotham 2019 Organizer
      • PyCon USA 2018/2019 Programs Co-Chair
      • PyCon USA 2018/2019 Incident Response Team Member
      • PyCascades 2018/2019 Lightning Talks Organizer

      Etc Python Work

      Python Conference Speaking

      A full listing of my historical speaking can be found on my website but some examples of recent speaking in the Python community includes:

      2019/2020/2021 Goals as a Board Member

      • Establish a formal relationship between PyLadies and PSF and help develop a PyLadies centralized organizing body to continue the future of diversity and inclusion building in Python: Currently the PSF and PyLadies have an, at best, murky relationship with PyLadies. Founding members like Lynn Root and Esther Nam have been single handedly keeping PyLadies global work alive and dedicating numerous hours. This, however, leads to major burnout and doesn't scale. At PyCon USA 2019 Lynn Root and I organized a small group of global PyLadies organizers / stakeholders. We spend time discussing ideas for how to alleviate this. As a 2019/2020/2021 I want to continue on this work and promote a better defined, scalable relationship between PyLadies Global leadership and the PSF to continue to promote diversity and inclusion in our community.
      • Grow PSF Financial Security: I would like to join the newly minted Finance Committee for the PSF Board and participate more directly in procuring additional sponsorship streams for the Python Software Foundation. Additionally working on locating grants for specific partnerships that could help with specific issues related to the PSF mission (e.g. finding strategic partnerships for increasing Python in education grant we in the Education Committee helped start in 2019). As a Director I believe focusing on helping grow sponsorship more directly can assist in strengthening the overall fiscal security of the PSF.
      • Establish translation best practices for PSF assets and documentation: As a Director in the 2018/2019 term, I helped establish the Translations Work Group, a group which I wish to help guide along in its first year. Examples of goals I would like to work includes assisting in procuring a Chair for the Work Group and helping craft best practices and develop procedures for translating PSF assets and documentation. One such example of a document that would be beneficial in translating includes the PSF membership documentation and registration forms, without this available in multiple languages the PSF is not actively promoting inclusive practices for Pythonistas that aren't English proficient and/or English native speakers. This is but one example of items that can be targeted for translation.
      • Champion Code of Conduct Revision and Best Practices: As an active member of the PSF Code of Conduct Work Group, there's already been great progress in revisiting the Code of Conduct and practices related to the Code of Conduct. For example, the Code of Conduct Work Group procured the services of Sage Sharp of Otter Technologies to help advise changes to be made to the Code of Conduct. As a 2019/2020/2021 Director I would continue to work on this effort as well as work with the global Python community to represent and continue to evolve our practices. Code of Conduct work is ongoing and never truly done, therefore I believe it is incumbent as a Director to actively participate in this work.
      • Broaden the PSF's reach as an educational resource for Python in Education: The PSF Board of Director Education Committee is a newer focus area and the first Python in Education request for proposals closed in early May 2019. This work is only starting. Therefore continuing to work on overseeing the grant (and supporting any grants offered as a result) as well as responding ideas the community submitted would be an immediate priority.


      In closing, I would be honored to serve the Python community as a Python Software Foundation 2019/2020/2021 Director. In Python, as Core Developer Brett Cannon wisely observed, we come for the language but stay for the community. Let's get to work and continue making the Python community the best it can possibly be!