Celebrating 26 Years of Leadership Excellence: Satbir S. Cheema 26 Highlights!

Mar 4, 2024

Today marks a significant milestone as Satbir Cheema, our esteemed President and CEO, commemorates 26 years of dedicated service and visionary leadership at PICS.

Throughout his tenure, Satbir has exemplified commitment and loyalty to the organization, starting as a frontline staff and quickly working his way up as Supervisor, Manager, Director and finally as CEO when his mentor, coach, leader and role model, Mr. Charanpal Gill retired in 2017.  Striving for excellence, he has always empowered and nurtured his team, first as Director of Employment Programs and Planning, and later on as the CEO, allowing everyone to think outside the box and be creative and innovative to take our organization to unprecedented heights, and evolving into a beacon of success and excellence in the industry.

Join us in congratulating Satbir on this remarkable journey of 26 years, and expressing our gratitude for his exceptional leadership. Here’s to many more years of success and collaboration ahead!

Early Years (1998 – 2007)

  1. Persuaded the Canadian Forces to open a Recruiting Office within PICS Head Office. Made a presentation to the Defense Diversity Council in Ottawa providing a community perspective to their recruiting efforts, leading to Canadian Forces replicating the PICS model by opening similar recruiting offices within other community organizations.
  2. Conceptualized and launched the widely popular Annual PICS Mega Job Fairs in Surrey that have grown into the largest job fairs in the Lower Mainland and are now also being organized in Vancouver.
  3. Played an active role in arranging community support for “Operation Remembrance,” an initiative by RCMP Officer Marc Searle (and Sergeant Huf Mullick of Canadian Forces) to arrange markers for unmarked graves of 36 veterans.
  4. Set up a PICS Employers Advisory Committee to support the organization.
  5. Assisted with the special recruitment drives undertaken by CRA, Public Service Commission, Canadian Forces, Correctional Service of Canada, Surrey City Hall, and many others in the local community.
  6. Organized a special “Media and Community Appreciation Dinner” by arranging exclusive support from sponsors and at no cost to the organization.
  7. Organized a special dinner by inviting 1000+ ‘Friends of PICS’ to honour Mr. Charanpal Gill (PICS Founder) and gave him the title of “The Living Legend” by arranging exclusive support from sponsors and at no cost to the organization.
  8. Participated in the following consultations by the provincial government:
  • Management & Consultation Committee, established by the Ministry of Economic Development to open an Information Centre for professional and skilled immigrants coming to British Columbia.
  • Employment Access Strategies for Immigrants (EASI) Initiative – a Project set up by International Credential Unit of BC Government
  • Advisory Committee for Engineers and Technologists Profiling Project – a Focus Group organized by BC Government through VCC

Middle Years (2008 – 2016)

9. Spearheaded various community projects including – Volunteer Placement program, work experience placement program for school students, and summer internship for youth.


10. Organized two “Prom Night” dinners with the help of summer students to fundraise for PICS Society’s food bank initiative.


11. Named as the Event Chair for organizing the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of PICS Society in 2012.


12. Served on the following Advisory Committees and Boards:

  • Served on BC RCMP CO’s Cultural Diversity Advisory Committee for three years.
  • Served as member of City of Surrey’s Gang Violence Prevention Task Force.
  • Served on the Board of Boys & Girls Club and Community Services in Delta/Richmond
  • Served as a Board Member with ASPECT (Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training) for seven years.
  • Served on the Surrey Board of Trade’s Police Awards Committee for a few years.
  • Served as a member of Program Advisory Committee at Vancouver Community College.
  • Served as a Board Member with Collaborate Delta for three years.


    13.Awarded Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

14. Attended the special ceremony in Ottawa to witness the official apology by the Prime Minister in the Parliament for the Komagata Maru incident.

15. Attended Special State Dinner for Prime Minister Narender Modi at the invitation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

16. Developed and strengthened strategic partnerships with different organizations in the Social Services Sector – PCRS, SOURCES, OPTIONS, DCRS, BGC and YWCA for various projects.

CEO Tenure (2017 – 2024)

17. Overseeing the development of the Guru Nanak Diversity Village ‘GNDV’ project in partnership with Fraser Health, BC Housing, and Ministry of Health. This visionary a 125-bed long-term care facility will provide culturally sensitive care for South-Asian seniors.


18. Recommended to the Board and membership of PICS to name the long-term care facility as “Guru Nanak Diversity Village”. Propositioned to and persuaded the Surrey City Counsel to rename 175A Street as ‘Guru Nanak Village Way’.


19. Organized a special Golden Grandma Pageant for grand mothers and invited Bollywood Superstar Zeenat Aman to be the chief judge at the event.


20. Conceptualized and launched the annual “Drugs and Gangs Free Communities” walk and car rally.


21. Recognized through the “Safe Communities Award” from the Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General on November 5, 2021.


22. Received the Community Crusader Award from Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Awards in November 2021


23. Overseeing other ventures under PICS Society umbrella: SEWA Ventures Society, PICS Event Management Society, PICS Charitable Foundation, and Delta Food Bank Society.


24. Expanded the Transition Homes program by adding another second Stage Transition House, the Serenity House, to support immigrant women and children fleeing domestic violence.

 25. PICS Society has experienced tremendous growth during this period:

  • the staffing level has increased from about 110 to over 275+
  • the operational budget has increased from about $7+ million to $23+ million.
  • the number of projects offered by PICS has expanded from about 20 to 60+
  • the geographical reach of PICS has expanded across British Columbia and to other provinces,
  • PICS has become the largest non-profit organization serving the South-Asian community across Canada.
  1. Received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Award for Outstanding Service to the Community.
CEO PICS Satbir S Cheema