About Us

Neelam Sahota

Neelam Sahota

Chief Executive Officer

Neelam is a senior executive in the social impact sector. With more than 25 years of leadership experience primarily in the nonprofit sector, her award-winning work in the social and economic development of Surrey, BC has been based on creating community impact through resource connections, innovative economic drivers and values-based community partnerships.  Taking a strategic approach to developing innovative business strategies to maximize collective impact has been the cornerstone of her career.

With prior experience in provincial government and the private sector, Neelam joined DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society as the Chief Executive Officer in 2013 and has enjoyed a fulfilling and rewarding career leading the organization through significant growth. She has a well-established reputation for building and leading high performing teams with transformative business strategies. Neelam is known for her unrelenting focus on quality and efficiency combined with a genuine concern and commitment for all who work with her.  As a BIPOC female leader, she uses her voice and champions the advancement of women of all diverse backgrounds using her intersectionality lens to ensure equitable pathways to leadership roles.

Neelam has led the development of DIVERSEcity’ s ground-breaking Community Campus, a purpose-built community space where a full continuum of educational, skills training, mental health support services, community navigation and language acquisition services are offered.  Neelam has also successfully spearheaded the diversification of revenue sources for DIVERSEcity and has led the development and scaling of DIVERSEcity’ s first social enterprise which generates profits for the organization and provides employment pathways for more than 300 individuals. Throughout her tenure at DIVERSEcity, she has gained invaluable experience in strategy, finance, marketing, capital acquisitions and development, change and operations management, overseeing many different portfolios and initiatives.

Neelam has been appointed to the Fellowship of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (FCPA, FCGA) in recognition of her outstanding work of connecting financial strategies to create social impact. She is also an alumna of Simon Fraser University with a bachelor of business administration.  As a committed continuous learner, she has also completed several executive development programs across a number of institutions.

Community leadership is a critical component of Neelam’s leadership story. Neelam is a Board Governor of Simon Fraser University where she is the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.  She is the Co-Chair of the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership, a Director for the Association of Canadian Studies, an Advisory Board Member of Roger’s Sports and Media’s OMNI TV and an Advisory Board Member for Solid State Industries. She previously served as the Chair of Surrey Libraries, the Treasurer of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University NGO Studies Advisory Board. Neelam also serves as an advisor to the City of Vancouver on diversity and racial equity issues.

Neelam has garnered awards for both her community leadership as well as her career. The Surrey Local Immigration Partnership, which she co-chairs, was recently awarded the BC Reconciliation Award by the BC Achievement Foundation. For her tenure as Chair of Surrey Libraries, she was recognized by the provincial BC Libraries Trustees Association’s (BCLTA) with the Trustee of the Year Award.  She is also a past recipient of the Surrey Board of Trade’s Nonprofit Leader of the Year award and a past finalist of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards as well as the Surrey Community Leader of the Year Award.

Neelam was born in Vancouver and raised in Burnaby. As a first generation Canadian, she has grown up with the challenges inherent with newcomer families. Witnessing firsthand her own family’s struggles in her early years and those around her continues to provide the inspiration behind using her voice and platform to advocate and create systems change toward a more inclusive, just and equitable society.

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