A Respected Leader In Both Her career And Community
By Sonia West
Impeccably dressed, with a big smile she extends her hand and introduces herself. She introduces her 5-year-old daughter, Kirpa, and sets her up with colors and paper as she prepares for our interview. She is gracious and very welcoming.
She is Puneet Sandhar, a mother of 2 girls, an accomplished lawyer, and an aspiring politician. Although her beautiful high end modernly decorated office bears her name, she is not the least bit pretentious but rather the opposite. She is formidable and very down to earth. As we delve into the conversation, I am inspired and impressed with her story of determination.
Puneet was born and raised in Mahilpur, Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India. She and her older brother lived on campus at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College where both of her parents were Professors of Punjabi Literature. Being that her grandparents were social activists, she and her brother had the privilege of an equal opportunity education. She credits who she is today with her upbringing.
“My parents never differentiated between my brother and I. They always made their best efforts for our education, and sometimes even went beyond their means.”
Puneet attended Saint Josephs Covenant School in Hoshiarpur. She then attended Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, where she obtained her LLB Degree in 2001. Before immigrating to Canada, she practiced criminal law in India.
In 2002, she and her husband moved to Surrey, BC, which they have called home ever since. Like all immigrants, adjusting to a new way of life, having left the comfort of family, friends, and culture and starting anew, was a challenge. When she and her husband moved to Surrey they, worked in a call center, 40 hours a week, Puneet would be “over excited at over time.” She would gladly accept any additional work to get her closer to her goal of becoming an attorney in Canada. Every day she and her husband, newlywed, would spend their days at work and evenings in the library trying to upgrade their degrees for recognition in Canada.
Puneet was called to the BC Bar in 2006. She was a practicing attorney at Collingwood Law Office in Vancouver. In 2010, she joined the office of Sanghera Law Group, and in 2014 was named partner, making it Sanghera Sandhar Law Group.
All these years, while establishing herself in Canada, Puneet has been very actively involved in the Community and believes she needs to give back to the community that helped make her new life and dream of practicing law in Canada possible. Puneet is a member of the Rotary Club of Surrey-Newton, Surrey Board of Trade, Mannkind Charitable Society. She serves on the board of Legal Services Society of BC, Board of Variance for the City of Surrey. She currently serves on the Mayor’s Business Advisory Committee for the City of Surrey. She is a Director of South Asian Business Association of BC. She has been a part of various mentorship programs, mentoring school kids emphasizing on discipline and focus towards positive paths in life and to steer them away from gangs and violence. She has also mentored new immigrants who wish to pursue a legal career in Canada. Heavily vested in community involvement, Puneet was awarded the Queens Jubilee Medal in 2012 for community volunteer work.
Puneet has always been passionate about women being more politically aware. She has been interested in politics, volunteering for the BC Liberal Party. Since 2014, she has been organizing women’s event along with her friend Pamela Martin, encouraging women to be active in the political world around them. She felt empowered and wanted women also to feel that nothing should hold them back, to seize every opportunity.
As for the next chapter in this young lawyers life, she has been asked by the Premier to throw her hat into the political ring this spring to be the next BC Liberal MLA for Surrey-Panorama.
So when presented with this opportunity by the Premier, Puneet stated, “If I want to preach this, then I should practice it. How am I going to expect others to follow, if I can’t lead by example!” She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org