Who's Who of Professional Women


Dawn Vela

Dawn M. Vela was first inspired to a career in psychology during her freshman year of high school. Earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1995, she began her career the following year as a counselor for Samaritan Daytop Village Inc. She subsequently returned to her studies at the University of Baltimore, graduating with a Master of Science in psychology in 1999, before joining Texas A&M University, where she completed coursework for a Doctor of Philosophy, all but dissertation, in counseling psychology in 2005. During this time, Ms. Vela was an intern at the New Orleans VA Medical Center from 2003 to 2004 and the director of support services for students with disabilities at the University of the Incarnate Word from 2004 to 2005.

In 2005, Ms. Vela joined the UnitedHealth Group as an employee assistance professional and completed further certification as a licensed professional counselor and supervisor by the Texas Department of State Health Services in 2011 and from the Employee Assistance Professionals Association in 2012. She also spent time as a contract clinician with the La Paz Community Health Center from 2011 to 2012. In 2013, she rose to become the employee assistance program supervisor for UnitedHealth and established her own private practice the same year. Operating her private practice until 2016, Ms. Vela concurrently joined Humana as a clinical adviser in 2014 after concluding her tenure with UnitedHealth.

With Humana, Ms. Vela rose to become a quality insurance consultant from 2017 to 2020 and a manager from 2018 to 2022. She considers the highlight of her career to be achieving the Knox-Keene license for Humana’s employee assistance program during her time as manager. Since 2002, she has brought her expertise in project management, crisis management, client retention, staff development, quality assurance and leadership to AiRCare Health as the clinical team manager. Attributing much of her success to her dedication, motivation and love of what she does, Ms. Vela maintains professional affiliation with the Texas Counseling Association and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.


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