Patricia Sully

Chief Strategy and Campaigns Officer
Patricia Sully

Patricia Sully is the Chief Strategy and Campaigns Officer at Purpose. Dignity. Action. Patricia is committed to public health and safety and believes that all communities benefit from harm reduction-based approaches to both.

Patricia was the Policy Director at Purpose. Dignity. Action. (then the Public Defender Association) before departing in 2019. She came on as a staff attorney in 2014 working with LEAD Legal Services, LEAD Community Engagement, and an array of activist support projects. In 2016, she launched VOCAL-WA, the first chapter of VOCAL-NY. Her work with VOCAL-WA advocating for a public health-based approach to public drug use earned widespread recognition, including Real Change’s “Change Maker of the Year” award and the Seattle Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Organization of the Year award. In addition to her work with VOCAL-WA, Patricia oversaw a wide variety of policy and budgeting initiatives at PDA and the LEAD program. She has served on the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force and spoken at conferences nationwide about the intersection of public health, public safety, and drug policy.

In 2019 Patricia left PDA to join the University of Washington Tacoma as the founding Director of the Legal Pathways, where she created programs and community partnerships to support underrepresented students on their path to law school and legal careers.

Patricia learned her most important communication skills in the cold rain of the Occupy Seattle protest movement, where, using the People’s Mic, one must choose their words with utmost care. During that same time, she was the Assistant Director of the Access to Justice Institute at Seattle University School of Law, where she also co-taught classes such as Law and Social Movements, Lawyering for a Just and Humane World, and a first-year skills elective.

Patricia graduated magna cum laude Seattle University School of Law in 2011, where she served on the Law Review and worked as a judicial extern for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). She came to law school after serving in the Peace Corps (Botswana, 2006-2008) and working as a community organizer in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In addition to her work at PDA, Patricia teaches Criminal Law as an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law and serves on the Board of Directors of the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance. She enjoys travel with her objectively hilarious partner and child and is frequently bossed around by her two giant goldendoodles.