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Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society
Satbir Singh Cheema - CEO

Satbir Singh Cheema

Cheif Executive Officer

Satbir embarked on his journey in the field of community service with a strong educational foundation. In 1981, he earned his Engineering Degree from Punjab Engineering College (PEC) in Chandigarh, India. His pursuit of knowledge led him to Canada in 1988, where he completed his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. After a brief stint in India, Satbir returned to Canada as a landed immigrant in 1994, setting the stage for his impactful career.


A Commitment to Empowerment:


In March 1998, Satbir joined the PICS Society as a frontline staff member in Employment Programs. His dedication and passion quickly earned him promotions, culminating in his role as the Director of Employment Programs and Planning—a position he held for approximately 14 years. During this time, he managed numerous employment and community programs that played a vital role in the integration of thousands of immigrant clients into the Canadian job market.


Stepping into Leadership:


In April 2017, when Dr. Charan Pal Gill retired as the Founding CEO of PICS Society, Satbir was chosen as his successor. This transition marked a significant turning point in his career, leading him to take the helm of the organization and its mission to serve the community.


Building Bridges:


Satbir’s ability to build strong relationships within the local community and with stakeholders, partners, businesses, media, elected officials, funders, and government departments has been a hallmark of his leadership. His in-depth understanding of the needs and expectations of funders, coupled with his extensive knowledge of the community social services sector, enabled him to develop and implement strategies to expand and diversify the programs and services offered by the organization.  He has methodically put together a very dedicated, committed and experienced management team that has taken PICS Society to the next level – to become the largest community organization serving the South Asian community across Canada.


Advocating for the Community:


Satbir’s advocacy extends beyond the local level; he has represented PICS at both regional and national levels. Notably, he presented to the Defense Diversity Council in Ottawa, offering a community perspective on recruiting efforts. He had earlier leveraged his connections with the Canadian Forces to the establishment of a Recruiting Office within PICS Head Office, providing South Asian community members with an opportunity to choose a career in the Canadian Forces.


Involvement in Community Initiatives:


Throughout his career, Satbir has been actively involved in various community initiatives. He played an active role in “Operation Remembrance,” a joint effort by the RCMP and Canadian Forces to commemorate 36 unmarked graves of veterans in Surrey.


Creating Opportunities:


In 2005, Satbir initiated the annual PICS Mega Job Fair, which has grown to become British Columbia’s largest job fair, attracting over 75 exhibitors and 6000+ attendees. His commitment to community service is further evident through his seven-year tenure as a Board member of ASPECT, three years as a Board member of Collaborate Delta, and three years as a member of the Program Advisory Committee at Vancouver Community College. He also served as a member of the BC RCMP CO’s Cultural Diversity Advisory Committee.


A Vision for the Future:


Since assuming the role of CEO of PICS Society in 2017, Satbir has been tirelessly collaborating with Fraser Health Authority, BC Housing, and the Ministry of Health for the Guru Nanak Diversity Village (GNDV) project. This 125-bed long-term care facility aims to provide culturally sensitive care for seniors. He has also overseen the launch of numerous projects and community initiatives to better serve the local community.


Awards and Recognitions:


Satbir’s dedication and outstanding contributions have earned him several prestigious awards, including:


  • Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community Service in 2012
  • ‘Safe Communities’ Award under the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Awards by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in 2021
  • Community Crusader Award at the Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Awards in 2021
  • Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Award for Outstanding Service to the Community in 2022


Satbir’s journey is a testament to his unwavering commitment to community service, and his leadership continues to make a positive impact on the lives of many.