Meeting community at PyCon Italy, 2023

The PyCon Italy, 2023 discussion started in PyCon Sweden 2022, when Valerio invited me for the keynote. From disbelief (since my talk at PyCon Sweden was not good) to believing, from searching for talk topics to preparation and multiple rounds of rehearsals and feedback sessions, I was finally ready for the talk.


The day before the travel

And it was one of the bustiest days on my calendar. I did two Ansible releases (7.6.0 and 8.0.0rc1), attended an event on Inner Source, participated (and got elected) in the board meeting of the Python Sweden Board, last minute prep of the talk, not forget the never-ending packing and finally the day arrived for the travel.

Arrival at Florance

After a 10-hour + journey, we reached Florence. It is a beautiful city. There was history everywhere, in every corner. Fun fact, when checking out from the first hotel to the conference venue, we figured out the hotel was only 500+ years old.

Meeting the community

PyCons always gives me the feeling of meeting family. It was my time to meet my friends whom I am never met post-pandemic. I met many friends from online first time in real life during the conference. And, of course, like always meeting and making new friends.


Meeting Audrey

In PyCon 2017, when I met Carol, she once said, "Anwesha, I would really like you to meet Jessica and Audrey. I believe you will be able to connect." I longed for this to happen for so long. This time I finally got to meet Audrey and how Carol was right about us connecting :). I look up to her for all her work in and for the Python and broader open-source community. More than anything, her work in setting up PyLadies has been the catalyst to change the direction of my life. But now I got know what a wonderful human being she is. Thank you, Audrey, for being you, just you :).

Py, the youngest volunteer


My kid has always been a conference child. She started attending conferences when she was ten months old and volunteering as a toddler. But what I noticed this time was how dutiful and serious she had become. She used to get up every day on time (no matter how tired she was from the last day) and report to her duty at the Registration desk. It felt good when she did my registration :).

Day 0 of the leading conference


It started with a bang with a great opening session by Valerio and Ester. This is one of the best conference opening presentations I have ever seen. It was well-crafted presentation. It is informative, fun, and even explains the Pacman rule. It established the tone of the conference to the community-first approach.


Then was the time for Carlton's keynote "Open Source for the long-haul." It should be a must-watch list for anyone who wants a sustainable career and life in the Open Source ecosystem. It depicts the true picture of our world.

The day of the keynote

My talk was on the first day of the main conference, ending the keynote. I had a rehearsal of my talk with Carol. She gave me two vital pieces of advice "Take a deep breath every time you start." The second is, 'As a keynote speaker, you are just expected to concentrate on your talk and nothing else.' I followed them religiously. Generally, during the conferences, I run around, meet new people, talk to everyone, and throw myself into some or other voluntary work. But this time, for the first two days' conference, till my talk was done, I was away saving my energy and practicing. My biggest worry was if I could finish it within time and the technology should not fail me. And finally, the time came for me to go up on stage. It was nerve-racking (and it is so visible from how I was dancing on the stage before the talk :). I ticked all the major boxes in the talk. Never froze during the talk, saying all the things which I wanted to and finish the on time. Only one thing I could not do was to wear my Red Hat during the talk. It seems I have become to Scandinavian to wear it during the spring in Italy. Everything ended well with a standing ovation at the end :).


I could only deliver the talk with help from my friends. Tom who made me believe that my journey is inspiring and worth giving a keynote about, others wise I was thinking of talking about legal stuff. Saptak for his help with the slides and for answering my random 2 am calls and requests for the last couple of months. Brett, Carol , Andrea, and Kushal for helping me to stick to the idea, for sitting with me for rehearsal sessions and listing to my unfiltered blabbering, And not forgetting Py for sitting with Mummy for days, and pointing out to my mistakes. I could mention one line she requested, but quoting her here, "Not all the flowers are to be treated equally, so should not be the lawyers and developers." This is to elaborate on the difference between law and technology.

And day 0 ended for me with a glass of wine :).

Day 1 of the main conference

Day 1 started with the keynote by Marlene, "Transcendence: The Power of Representation". It had his life lessons, the state of the community, and how we can make things better in the community. Thank you, Marlene, for echoing many of our thoughts. Then it was my time to mingle with the community. I was trying to meet new people from different parts of the world and to know what happens in the part of the community there. I met several Ansible Users, so Python and PyCon Italia allowed me to meet the global Ansible community. A surprise awaited me in the second half of the day. I got to meet Tyler for the first time. It was unexpected, I did not know she is coming. It was a nice surprise. From Red Hat to community we had a good conversation :).


Day 1 ended with a fantastic conference dinner, a local band performance, and some great conversations with friends.

Day 2 of the main conference

On day 2 Emily, in her keynote on "Stay Curious: Reflections on Passion, Risk-Taking, and Re-Invention", shared the importance of self-care, time out, and prioritization for a sustainable career. She further shared how to silence "the hum" of being there or doing things. My gratitude to Emily for stressing the point that burnout is genuine.


I fixed meetings for the last day on the first two days of the main conference. So my day two was filled with meetings regarding several different things, starting with feedback on the Ansible Project and Community with some users, then discussions on Python Community, including PyLadies and Pycon Sweden Organization and state of Trademark at PSF.


PyCon Italia 2023 came to an end with an ending talk by Ernesto. I was surprised to know a few statistics, especially that people from 42 countries attended the conference. The best moment of the day was when Py went up on stage as part of the volunteering team :).

Thank you PyCon Italia team for giving us such a great conference. I hope to meet the community again at PyCon Italia 2024, cheers to that.


Show Comments