My name is Jon Banafato, and I'm a Python user and community organizer. I've spent the past decade organizing events for the Python community in New York City, including meetup groups, one-off hackathons and educational events, and most notably as a PyGotham organizer since 2014. I've served my local Python communities over the past ten years with a sense of pride and duty and aim to bring that same passion to a Python Software Foundation board position if elected.
My priorities as a board member would revolve around increasing the PSF's role as a support structure for Python communities in addition to its substantial role in producing PyCon US. The PSF has provided valuable grants to community events to help offset costs, and the expanded fiscal sponsorship program has reduced the barrier to entry for events and open source projects to accept sponsorships and other sources of funding in recent years. I hope to see and will work to expand these support structures in the following areas:
- Operating costs: starting a new event, especially a conference, can incur significant costs such as venue, catering, and other vendor deposits even before a conference is officially announced. In addition to the support the PSF provides via the existing grants and fiscal sponsorship programs, it has leverage and experience in running conferences that new organizers may lack; this experience and the backing of a larger organization can help conferences obtain more favorable terms and pricing with vendors during the negotiation / booking stages. The organization could also expand its grants program to aid events with initial deposits before they're able to raise sponsorship funding or ticket sales to reduce financial burden on individual organizers.
- Sponsorship: sponsorships of meetups and conferences are often facilitated by relationships. An organizer of a new or expanding event may not have the proper contacts at prospective sponsor companies, whereas the PSF has ongoing relationships with large sponsors who often require lead times longer than new or small conferences can accommodate. The PSF can keep these other events on the radar of larger sponsors to ensure that they're prepared to sponsor an event when the time comes and work with events to create attractive sponsorship packages that secure funding for several events at once.
- Other event support and advice: many organizers share their experience and support with each other while together at events like PyCon US. To reach a wider audience and include organizers that don't regularly attend conferences in the US, the PSF should offer additional organizer resources either directly or by connecting new organizers with experienced mentors in the community through other resources.
All of this requires funding and staffing, and my experience through conferences and other community events can bolster existing fundraising efforts. I would also aim to support new forms of funding, especially in a time where we're increasingly seeing corporate and venture funding being allocated toward open source projects.
In addition to my work as a software developer working with Python, I have a background in community event organizing. I believe this experience would be a valuable addition to the PSF's Board in the coming years, especially as existing communities work to rebuild and continue to grow. Some highlights of my work within Python communities include:
- I have been on the core organizing team for PyGotham since 2014 and have served as its conference chair since 2016. Through this work, I've gained experience in most of the critical aspects of event planning. I have also served as the sponsorship lead for most of this time with an eye toward sustainably growing the event's offerings year after year. In conjunction with my early PyGotham work, I spent the several years as an organizer for NYC Python and helped found its partner group Learn Python NYC hosting an average of 3 - 4 events per week across the two communities. Between conferences and meetups, I have first hand experience supporting communites and events ranging in size from dozens of attendees to 500+.
- For the past 3.5 years, I've hosted Conference Chats, an independent community for conference organizers to share advice, support, news, and other topics related to event planning. While the group is not limited to the Python community, organizers from several different Python conferences and meetups actively participate in our chat server and our twice-monthly open forum video calls.
- I'm a co-host of Python Community News, a YouTube channel and podcast dedicated to sharing non-code news within the Python world through commentary and interviews with Python community members.
Those that know me in the Python community know that I'm always eager to help others and put the needs of the community first. I hope to earn your vote to continue to support this community at the Board of Directors level. You can reach me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or at @jonafato on Twitter and Mastodon.social if you have any questions about my self-nomination.