Learn more about our founder and the Joni and Friends leadership team.
Joni Eareckson Tada
Joni Eareckson Tada is an esteemed Christian stateswoman and respected global leader in disability advocacy. Although a 1967 diving accident left her a quadriplegic, she emerged from rehabilitation with a determination to help others with similar disabilities. Mrs. Tada serves as CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization which provides programs and services for thousands of special-needs families around the world. President Reagan appointed Mrs. Tada to the National Council on Disability, then reappointed by President George H.W. Bush. During her tenure, the ADA was passed and signed into law. Mrs. Tada served as advisor to Condoleezza Rice on the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She served as Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Colson Center on Christian Worldview awarded Joni Tada its prestigious William Wilberforce Award, and she was also inducted into Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers. Joni Eareckson Tada has been awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College and Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. She is an effective communicator, sharing her inspirational message in books, through artwork, radio, and other media. Joni Tada served as General Editor of the Beyond Suffering Bible, a special edition published by Tyndale for people affected by disability. Joni and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California.
John Nugent, President of Joni and Friends, spent over 30 years in the software industry working for Oracle, SAP, and as CEO of Serena Software. John holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a Certificate of Advanced Management from Harvard Business School, and a certificate from the Directors’ Consortium at Stanford University’s School of Business. Formerly the Chairman of the Board at Joni and Friends, John brings expertise from corporate leadership to the ministry, as well as extensive volunteer experience serving on boards for various Christian non-profit organizations.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Troy University and previous experience as a business owner, Laura’s ability in financial analysis, fiduciary oversight, departmental integration, and strategic planning make her the perfect person to serve as our EVP and CFO. Before joining Joni and Friends, Laura founded her own business, The Protocol Institute, LLC, where she developed world-class eLearning courses on character education, etiquette, and protocol. She was the first to introduce such tools for helping to instill these qualities in young people, and wrote extensively on the topic for national publications.
Steve is responsible for the execution of ministry programs around the world as well as spiritual encouragement for ministry staff. He is a published author and co-author with Joni Eareckson Tada of Beyond Suffering: A Christian View of Disability Ministry. His latest book, with Doug Mazza, is Another Kind of Courage: God’s Design for Fathers of Families Affected by Disability. Steve and his wife Melissa know firsthand the joys and challenges of parenting a child with special needs, as their own son, Caleb, was born with muscular dystrophy and autism. Steve holds a B.A. in Theology and Missions, a Certificate in Christian Apologetics and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership. He is a licensed minister and has served as a pastor and missionary. Prior to joining Joni and Friends, Steve was VP of Business and Finance at William Carey International University in Pasadena, CA.
Greg Hubert brings a unique blend of training, experience, and passion to oversee the Field Services ministry at Joni and Friends. With BA from Biola University and MDiv from The Master’s Seminary, Greg’s career includes over 30 years of pastoral leadership and corporate management. Yet his passion for ministering to the disabled is deeply personal. He and his wife Gina have raised three boys who are all on the autism spectrum, each of whom is viewed as a gift from God. They know firsthand the fears and struggles, joys and triumphs that come with any disability. Greg enthusiastically views his role as SVP of Field Services as a culmination of his education, professional career, and life experiences to expand the ministry of hope and support to those individuals created with God-designed abilities.
Donna Lucas has spent more than 20 years working in product development, marketing, and brand management for powerhouse brands such as adidas USA, K-Swiss, and the Dickies Brand at V.F. Corp. As a strategic branding and marketing executive, her years of experience with high profile brands, strategy, and leadership serves Joni and Friends well in positioning the ministry for a long future. Donna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Philadelphia University and a Master’s of Marketing. She lives in Southern California with her husband Jack and their 3 daughters.
Evalerie enhances and implements programs and processes that develop and engage employees professionally, personally, and spiritually. She has made it a priority to support the staff so in return, they will have a greater commitment to the mission of the organization and the work which God has called them. Evalerie graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing from Santa Clara University in CA. She is a certified facilitator in Lead Like Jesus and Biblical DISC, and a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader. She began her career in Marketing and worked for many years as a Director in various Property Development and Management companies. Evalerie had the opportunity to stay at home to raise four children with her husband Immanuel, and serve the schools, community, and church by offering organizational, marketing, leadership, and counseling assistance. Evalerie and her family are passionate in helping others and have developed a special love for those who are affected by disability.
Andrew Grumm brings over 25 years of IT experience, with 15 years in the Healthcare/Life Science industry, to his position as Vice President of Information Technology Services at Joni and Friends. He brings extensive technical knowledge and delivery of IT Operations and Services from his previous leadership roles at such organizations as Quest Diagnostics and Q2 Solutions.
Andrew holds a BS in Computer Science from California State University, Northridge and numerous technical certifications. Andrew is happy to apply his technical expertise and planning skills to help accelerate the growth of one of the best Christian ministries in the world!
Liz began her accounting and finance career in public accounting at a firm that was one of the largest international accounting organizations in the world. She spent four years in the audit division of the Los Angeles office of Arthur Andersen working with clients primarily in the commercial/manufacturing group during which time Liz earned her CPA license. Liz then worked in financial management positions in various industries and companies including Duty Free Shops (retail), Fulcrum Microsystems (technology), and most recently in the Christian nonprofit sector at Oaks Christian School. Liz brings over 20 years of financial expertise to Joni and Friends and the Accounting and Finance Services group.
Liz earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Option in Professional Accounting) from California State University at Long Beach. She and her husband Mike have resided in Westlake Village, CA for over 20 years where they raised their three children. They have a special place in their hearts for disability ministry as their oldest daughter (who still lives with them) was born with significant special needs. Liz feels blessed to be working and supporting such an amazing organization which has a positive influence
Our International Board of Directors
We thank our International Board of Directors for their service and leadership in support of the vision and mission of Joni and Friends.
Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder
Peter Schulze, Chairman
Sean Baker, Treasurer
Carin Amaradio, Secretary
Rev. Michael S. Beates
Jan S. van den Bosch
Dr. Benjamin Warf
Directors - Emeritus