Joni and Friends Blog

Joni and Friends Announces New President and COO

AGOURA HILLS, CA – Jan. 28, 2019 – Joni and Friends’ International Board of Directors, including founder Joni Eareckson Tada, is pleased to welcome the ministry’s newly appointed president, John Nugent, who assumed the role this January following the retirement of Doug Mazza after 20 years of service. Prior to the role of president, Nugent served on the Joni and Friends Board of Directors beginning in 2011 and as Chairman of the Board since 2015.

The selection of Nugent was a prayerful, comprehensive search process conducted by the Board of Directors. Former President Doug Mazza expressed confidence in the choice, “John has not only been a great asset to Joni and Friends for more than 20 years, but an asset and advocate for the global disability community. That, paired with his extensive list of accomplishments in the corporate world, makes him the perfect fit as the next President at Joni and Friends.” Mazza worked with the new President over the past year to ensure the smooth transition and execution of the succession plan.

Nugent holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Spring Hill College in Alabama and possesses a Certificate of Advanced Management from Harvard Business School and Certificate Directors’ Consortium from Stanford University School of Business. He has spent over 30 years in the software industry serving as a Senior Vice President for Oracle, Executive Vice President at SAP, and President and CEO of Serena Software. His extensive history of Christ-like leadership will serve him well in his new position at Joni and Friends. He has also served on the Elder Board at Bethel Christian Church in San Francisco teaching Sunday school and preaching on occasion. 

“It has been a joy to serve on the Joni and Friends Board of Directors these past eight years as we’ve reached thousands of families affected by disability,” said Nugent. “I’m passionate about the work of this ministry, and humbled and excited to begin this new journey as the President and COO. The leadership, staff, and volunteers at Joni and Friends comprise one of the most caring and capable teams I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I’m anticipating great things in the years to come.” 

Nugent and his wife Marilyn first became involved with Joni and Friends in the early ‘90s while Marilyn was taking care of her mother after a debilitating stroke. After spending time with Joni following a local speaking engagement, Joni and Friends quickly became a focus for the Nugents. His involvement with and dedication to Joni and Friends’ mission and values as a volunteer, donor, and board member over the past three decades will serve him well in his new role. 

“I am thrilled about John’s selection as Joni and Friends’ President and COO,” said Joni Eareckson Tada. “His commitment to the vision of Joni and Friends has been a wonderful blessing to the ministry, and I can’t think of a better person to step in and continue to lead us onward and upward. His appointment is the result of countless hours of prayer, and I am happy to begin laboring together with John in the day-to-day work of the ministry. Our hearts are united in the great task of reaching many more people with disabilities and their families for Jesus Christ in the years to come.”  

About Joni and Friends: For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people affected by disability around the globe. Ministry programs include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media such as the Joni and Friends radio program and podcasts. To find out more, please visit 


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