Under the Hood with ReGen's Patrick Gardner

Patrick Gardner

Throughout his career, Patrick Gardner has been driven to make an impact.

While his first high school job saw him start by cleaning the floors of his local butcher shop, Pat has gone on to work across Government, major corporates and not-for-profits.

Now, he brings his experience to ReGen Strategic as General Manager of Stakeholder Engagement.

Growing up in Perth’s northern suburbs, Pat found himself drawn to social sciences in school, taking an early interest in history, economics and politics. His parents ran a financial planning practice, so it wasn’t uncommon for Pat to be found reading news about the financial markets over breakfast.

“I’ve always had an interest in the world around me and current affairs and events, whether they’re local or happening on the global stage,” he describes.

“I put my hand up for everything from student council to different roles of that nature through uni. I’ve been fascinated by the way various policy debates seem to not quite repeat, but they certainly rhyme over a period of time.”

Pat’s early interests led him to take up a commerce and arts double degree at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in accounting and finance, and history.

After he graduated, Pat entered a graduate program at PwC and worked on external audits while studying for chartered accounting qualifications.

While Pat has worked for several global professional services firms, he spent a large amount of his career at Deloitte as director of strategy and operations, having worked 12 years at the company.

During this time, Pat also forayed into politics, becoming an economic advisor for the former leader of the WA opposition Eric Ripper.

In 2013, you may have come across Pat when he was going door to door in his campaign to become a Councillor in the City of Belmont. That campaign was a success and Pat set forth on his plan to improve accountability and transparency within the local government.

In this position, Pat experienced a standout moment in his career after the City of Belmont received funding for a pilot program, which placed a domestic violence advocate in the police station. 

Pat says this program was a first of its kind for WA and the model is now being run across the State.

“Previously, the prospect of a victim of domestic violence walking into a police station, full of uniformed police officers, would have been very confronting, and it is still very intimidating,” he describes. 

“The ability to be able to speak to someone that isn’t a member of the police force can help with a whole range of immediate interventions and supports.”

“There was clearly and unfortunately a demand for it, but it’s a model that seems to have worked and has been broadened by the WA Government.”

When each of his two daughters were born, Pat took parental leave. He says becoming a father was a seminal moment in his life and he valued being able to take some time away from work.

“I think it's important, essential, there should be no barrier to the ability for anyone to take leave as a new parent,” he says.

“I think governments and private organisations have recognised that there's an immense societal good beyond just the individual and family that can be enabled from paid parental leave.

“It's a really hard gig at times, but there's not a second that I regretted, or I've looked back and regretted that opportunity to form that really important bonding experience with our two girls.”

In 2019, Pat took long service leave from Deloitte and had some time to rethink the direction of his career and consider where he could create the greatest impact. This thinking saw him take a more environmental focus to his work, taking on roles at the Wilderness Society and then the Forest Stewardship Council.

“I’ve always been interested in trying to make an impact,” he says.

“I think that’s driven a lot of my career choices, the type of work I want to be doing, the type of people I want to be working with.

“During my long service leave, my peripheral vision switched on a little more than usual and I was able to let a little bit of time wash over me, mostly while doing chores and groceries and running around, dropping the kids at school.

“I thought about what else I could apply my skillset to that might be really impactful and a role came up with Wilderness Society, who’ve got a history of effective advocacy and campaigning for the protection of Australia’s environmental values.”

When founder Daniel Smith approached Pat for a position at ReGen Strategic a few years later, Pat was intrigued by the integrated model of the business.

“There was a clear interest that I had immediately in the blending of skill sets,” he says.

“It felt like this was encapsulating a whole range of different experiences and interests I had picked up along the way.”

Looking towards the future, Pat recognises that governments, business and communities will face some tough decisions ahead, whether it’s through the energy transition, responding to climate change or creating a more equitable society. 

“Some really big decisions will need to be made. I’m interested in understanding what it’s going to involve and how we can ensure that transition is undertaken as fairly as possible,” he says.

“I think ReGen is putting itself right at the nexus of those issues.”


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