Ms. Leary is a professional genealogist with more than twenty-five years experience and a featured speaker at NGS, FCS and state conferences. She is a past-president of the BCG; a former trustee of the APG; a founding member of the GSG; and editor of and contributing author to North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History (2nd edition, 1996) and contributing author to Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (2000). Leary has received numerous awards for her service to the genealogical community, including the NGS Award of Merit in 1987, the North Carolina Genealogical Society's Award for Exceptional Service in 1987 and 1998, the BCG Outstanding Service Award (2002), the APG Graham T. Smallwood Award (2003), and the Institute's own Outstanding IGHR Alumni Award in 1996.
She was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1993. Her many articles have been published in national and state journals such as the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The American Genealogist, and the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal.