“Women are the real architects of society and I truly believe we are on a journey in deconstructing societal norms of what a woman “should be”. Womanhood is defining yourself on your own terms, unapologetically.”- Neelam Sahota, CEO at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
Neelam Sahota is a senior executive with more than 20 years of progressive experience in financial management, strategic planning, governance, risk management and operations management. She currently is the Chief Executive Officer of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, a values-based local registered charity that serves newcomers and underrepresented communities with equitable access to resources while reducing systemic barriers to participation. Neelam brings extensive experience to her role that has spanned the corporate sector, provincial government, entrepreneurship and non-profit industries. Taking a disciplined approach to developing effective business strategies to maximize community impact has been the cornerstone of her career. Neelam is a nominated Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (FCPA, FCGA) where she has also recently obtained her Certificate in Executive Leadership.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Being a woman means being limitless and undefinable. Women are the real architects of society and I truly believe we are on a journey in deconstructing societal norms of what a woman “should be”. Womanhood is defining yourself on your own terms, unapologetically.
What has been your biggest achievement in 2020, personally and professionally?
Navigating 2020 in my professional role was a humbling undertaking as we already work with some of society’s most vulnerable and seeing the pandemic create greater inequities was life changing as it really highlighted how we as leaders need to fundamentally change systems that are creating these inequities. It was definitely an ironic year for me personally in that I had the honour of receiving several prestigious awards in recognition of my career and service to community yet I think it was the self-reflection and “hustling inwards” as I call it that was my biggest achievement in 2020.
Through the rippling effects of the unsettledness and uncertainty we were all feeling with the global pandemic and the reckoning of long-standing inequities in our society, it gave me the impetus to pause and self-reflect on what really fuels me as a person and how I want to show up for others. That learning was huge for me as it’s really focused me to look at the intentionality behind everything I do or will do in the future.
What are you working on right now and in 2021?
Professionally, I’ve got a lot on the go with several projects to serve our growing communities. I’m undertaking a large technology platform implementation across all of our service lines at DIVERSEcity to make or services more accessible. With the sudden shift to remote services during Covid19, we saw opportunity to introduce technology as a means to increase access. We want to be able to build on these learnings and create services that are hybrid – in person for those that prefer that option and online for those that find accessibility increased through that route. This will be game-changing as nonprofits have traditionally been slow adopters of technology so I’m really excited to see how this will allow us to increase our reach to communities across the Lower Mainland and frankly, across the province.
What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
Define success on your own terms and remember to hustle inward too. Leading with compassion is not weakness – it’s strength.
Photo: A Master Media