Jacobs Social Entrepreneur Fellow

Steven Patriarco

Yale University

Steven is a career changer whose journey first began in wildlife veterinary medicine over a decade ago. This sector brought him deep into the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia – one of the globe’s most environmentally important regions, and where some of the most profound sustainability and human development challenges of the 21st century continue to play out. This frontline work in wildlife medicine was a pivotal experience that ultimately led Steven to shift his career and life’s energy towards sustainable development writ large, with a particular focus on natural resource management and leveraging the power of commodity supply chains to advance economic, environmental, and social objectives.

Prior to pursuing a joint MBA and Master’s of Environmental Management at Yale, Steven worked as a Fulbright research scholar examining community livelihoods and rural development initiatives near critical orangutan habitat in West Kalimantan. This experience led him to found what would eventually become one of Southeast Asia’s most successful, sustainability-focused aquaculture firms as well as an all women-led non-profit training centre for economic empowerment of forest frontier communities. Steven also served in Borneo as a Team Leader for a global collaborative project led by a consortium of education, technology, and conservation partners, where his team’s work was the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary film and TV series.

Today, Steven serves as the Head of Programmes & Innovation for the Earthworm Foundation (formerly The Forest Trust), a non-profit consultancy with offices across Africa, Latin America, and Asia that is focused on driving positive change through a range of commodity supply chains to ensure they work better for nature and people. It is here that he leads a number of ventures that place smallholder farmers and rural communities at the centre of the development agenda.

Steven is delighted to join the Jacobs Network and is looking forward to contributing actively to conversations and efforts that advance social impact, especially those which are of benefit to rural communities in the Global South.