Neelam Devesher DL

Neelam is originally from Yorkshire and of Indian heritage and has worked in public sector organisations at a senior management level. 

Neelam was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey in June 2021. She is the Chairman of Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum and the Surrey Police Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel as well as being a trustee for Surrey Community Foundation, Surrey Youth Focus and Gordons School. 

Neelam has an in depth understanding of the issues faced by minoritized communities and she has set up numerous projects focusing on improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable people in our communities. 

She is committed to finding solutions to help address inequality, racism and discrimination and is passionate about promoting equality of opportunity, inclusion and fairness for all communities and helping to build community cohesion between diverse communities.  

Neelam is motivational leader with a track record of achieving excellent results and lasting change within public, private, community and voluntary sectors. She has the drive and motivation to succeed, with the ability to influence and inspire others to deliver the change needed to make a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable and diverse communities. 

Her expertise includes political awareness; negotiating, influencing and leadership skills, leading and managing change, policy development and implementation, change and project management, leading and managing improvement programmes, building relationships and stakeholder management, running a competitive commercial enterprise and successful fundraising campaigns for community groups and projects.

Neelam has over thirty years management experience of leading projects, multi-disciplinary teams, managing resources and high-quality service delivery with a track record of achieving excellence in public, private and community sectors. 

Neelam’s vision for Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum is that 

  • SMEF is an independent, fully resourced organisation making a positive difference to addressing race inequalities and is actively promoting equity, inclusion and fairness, helping to build community cohesion between diverse communities.   


  • SMEF has the capacity to represent and advocate for Surrey’s minoritized ethnic communities and their community groups with a strong and empowered voice.


  • SMEF is an integral part of the decision-making leadership forums in Surrey, is able to shape policy – locally and nationally with the power and influence to advocate for the needs and aspirations of minoritized ethnic communities living and working in Surrey.