Zola F. Thurmond

CEO and Founder


Zola F. Thurmond was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and furthered her education at Kennesaw State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications.

In 1974, Zola moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she worked with The Coca-Cola Company for several years in marketing research. Some of her responsibilities included planning and organizing conferences, meetings and presentations, as well as arranging travel for corporate executives.

After leaving The Coca-Cola Company, Zola was appointed to a position in Minority Affairs with the administration of Governor Joe Frank Harris. During her 5-year tenure with the governor’s office, she played a key role in planning the yearly events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Celebration and organized Governor Harris’ annual Statewide Small and Minority Business Conferences. She also worked with a committee on the introduction of the exhibit at the King-Tisdell Museum and was responsible for coordinating various functions hosted by black colleges and the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. Her office served as a liaison for the Governor between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Career Highlights

Consulting For businesses, Non-Profit Organization, and Government Agencies.

Zola, who has over 15 years experience in working with all branches of government, founded The Milan Group, Inc. in 1997. The Milan Group is a multifaceted consulting firm dedicated to providing professional support in the areas of event planning and management services, public relations, fundraising, constituency building and training. Clients, partners, and employers include Mrs. Billye Aaron and the Board of Directors of the APEX Museum, the Atlanta Franchise Development Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Communities-in-Schools, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, Grady Health Systems, Hepatitis Foundation of America, Inc., The Oblander Group and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Milan Group, Inc. is certified by the City of Atlanta as an African American Business Enterprise and a Female Business Enterprise. The U.S. Small Business Administration has certified Milan as a Small Disadvantaged Business and an 8(a) firm.

Personal Highlights

Zola is a volunteer with Hands on Atlanta and is a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. She is married to Michael L. Thurmond, Georgia’s Commissioner of Labor. They have one daughter.