Howya! My name is Vicky Twomey-Lee, and I’ve been involved with the Irish Python community since mid-2005 with Python Ireland initially and now I currently run PyLadies Dublin. I’ve organised and facilitated Django Girls Dublin workshops in the past. I am also a co-founder of Coding Grace, advocating diversity in tech through events and curated news in Ireland. I am also the co-director of Women Who Code Dublin. Other not-for-profits I am involved in GameCraft (we run game jams in Ireland), Irish Geeks Table Quiz (an end-of-year event to bring the Irish community together raising money for a local charity.
What do you do?
I’m not coding anymore, it’s more of a hobby now with lots of projects to do on my bucket list. I spend a lot of my time involved with the not-for-profit initiatives mentioned above. I try to keep my eyes and ears peeled for Irish and Northern Irish tech news especially around diversity in tech and curate that for my monthly newsletters and event listings.
What does your community do?
Currently, I run regular PyLadies Dublin meetups, it’s mostly remote and live-streamed to our Youtube channel. Before Covid-19, our in-person meetups consisted of short talks followed by breakout sessions. Folks are encouraged to bring their laptops along, they can group up with the speakers on the topics spoken that evening, or work on their projects, seek help (e.g. setting up dev environments, going through tutorials, help with a problem they are stuck on). We hope to do a mix of this next year as we plan to be mostly remote for the rest of the year. The remote sessions are a few lightning talks followed by Q&A. We keep it to around 1 hour and keep the live-streamed videos up on our channel so people can replay them in their own time.
What motivates you to do voluntary work?
It all began when I attended my first Python Ireland meetup in 2004 and after it rebooted, I got involved in looking for speakers and rooms to hold talks from mid-2005 till I passed the baton on in 2016. During this time, I chaired the first four PyCon Irelands, an idea formed in Neary’s pub one dark and wet February night in 2010 with a bunch of core Irish Pythonistas. An Irish conference to give us more experience to be able to host EuroPython and 10+2 years later, EuroPython is visiting our shores and I am so overjoyed for the opportunity for Irish Pythonistas who’ve never been to EuroPython to meet and connect with this fantastic community.
When I got more involved with Python Ireland, the community was super accepting and kind, helpful and we all shared knowledge with excitement and glee. I pushed myself to the limit with PyCon Ireland along with launching PyLadies Dublin (granted that I was also running workshops and game jams in my other initiatives around that time). I also like to highlight that PyCon UK helped us out a lot when we were trying to figure out PyCon Ireland back in 2010, and my foundation on the community is pretty based on how PyCon UK interacts with their community, their generosity, open-mindedness, inclusiveness and support, special shout out to John Pinner (RIP).
I also learned a lot being part of EuroPython Society’s board back in 2012, and with that knowledge in hand to enhance the process of running future editions of PyCon Ireland as well as contributing to improvements on how EuroPython was organised (thanks, Marc-André Lemburg).
As a way of giving back, I’m on the PSF’s Grants Work Group. I wanted to try to encourage a more diverse community to Python and encourage others to do so, and being part of the grants work group allows me to hopefully help others around the world to achieve that and make Python and its community more accessible to all.
I am honoured to be a PSF Fellow, and most recently to have received the PSF’s Community Service Award as well as EuroPython Society’s Fellow Grant. For me, with my Irish Pythonista hat on, I want to see more PSF Fellows, core contributors and future awardees in Ireland, and I will keep spreading this message to the amazing community here in Ireland.
Any final words?
For anyone attending EuroPython, I hope to see you at PyLadies Lunch, there will be PyLadies organisers and members from the US, Europe and afar there, so a great chance to meet and connect with them in person. You will need a conference ticket to attend the lunch.