Patrick O'Leary joined Pew in 2009. He focuses on strengthening Pew’s indigenous partnerships, enhancing environmental protection across Northern Australia and pursuing linkages between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting biodiversity.
O’Leary’s initial work as a researcher in river ecology and conservation evolved into organizational and advocacy roles with environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on forest and threatened species conservation. After moving to Australia’s Northern Territory in the late 1990s, he focused on marine conservation policy, advocacy and communication with an emphasis on marine protected areas and fisheries and aquaculture sustainability.
His work on the overlap between issues of indigenous peoples and environmental protection led to a position as the marine policy officer for Australia's largest Aboriginal Land Council, the Northern Land Council. There he assisted aboriginal people with negotiation, planning and advocacy for better environmental, cultural and economic management of their marine and coastal estates. More recently, O’Leary worked in senior policy roles for government on marine and, later, climate change policy. He also has played voluntary governance, administrative and fundraising roles in local and national environmental NGOs.
O’Leary holds a bachelor’s degree in ecological science from Monash University.