Phaela was an asari Matriarch during and before the Krogan Rebellions. She had gained repute as a scholar, most notable in her excavations and study of Prothean ruins and Zeioph burial grounds. After returning to Thessia, the homeworld of the asari, she was rewarded for her dedication and hard work by being granted the position of Chief Librarian of the Thessian Democratic Archive Center.
During the Krogan Rebellions, Phaela could often be found assisting asari researchers in the Thessian Democratic Archive Center. One of the most notable of these researchers was Tela Vasir, not only the first asari Spectre, but also the very first Spectre of the Citadel Council. However, due to the Spectres being newly created, they had not yet gained the respect that they possessed in Commander Shepard's time, and Phaela held extreme contempt for the first Spectre.
Mass Effect: The Krogan Rebellions (First appearance)