Vela McClam Mitchell Thomas has been in the wine industry since 1999 when she and her deceased husband Donald Mitchell founded their wine importing company, Lemae Group Wines. Vela is the current CEO of Lemae Group Wines, headquartered in Atlanta, GA., a company she has led for 10 years. As a lover of old world wines they often traveled to Europe seeking the best wines in Portugal, Italy, France and Spain. In their search they found amazing wines which could not be found in the U.S. With their backgrounds in chemistry, law and business they decided to take their passion and knowledge to the next step and form a company to bring these boutique wine finds to the U.S. Since that humble beginning Lemae has flourished with licenses in several states and wines in restaurants, retail outlets, stadiums and super markets. Vela has attended and participated in VinExpo for nearly 20 years as it became the standard in wine exposition and education worldwide.
Prior to becoming CEO of Lemae, Vela was CEO of Georgia International Travel (an American Express affiliate), Senior Vice President of Worldspan Travel Technology Company and Director of Industry Sales at Northwest Airlines. She holds a MBA degree from Pepperdine University, Master of Science from Howard University, Bachelor of Science from Claflin University, a certificate in Global Enterprise Systems from Oxford University (Oxford, England) and a certificate in Strategic Business Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently married to Kentucky State Senator Reginald Thomas and lives in both Atlanta, GA and Lexington, KY.