Swimming in Chesapeake Bay as a teenager, Joni Ericson jumped into water that was thought to be deeper … but wasn’t.
The result: Joni is a lifetime quadriplegic. paralyzed from the neck down.
Doug Mazza was successful CEO of nationwide automobile companies. God sent him the gift of a severely disabled son … now a 40-year-old man who has never spoken a word! So the father’s love for his son has completely redirected his life.
Joni Ericson Tada condition as a quadriplegic led her to be used of God to birth Joni and Friends.
Doug Mazza’s disabled son was the means of his eventually becoming the CEO of Joni and Friends, experiencing great growth of the ministry!
With Joni’s “disability” her great ministry was begun.
With Doug’s disabled son, the ministry of Joni and Friends would not likely be the expansion of where it is now.
Two painful great human tragedies … resulting into one great ministry.
“Ain’t God Good!!”
Hear Doug Mazza summarize the story … in his own words.
From www.joniandfriends.org …
“DOUG MAZZA President and Chief Operating Officer
Doug Mazza, President and Chief Operating Officer of Joni and Friends, has overseen an era of tremendous growth since coming to the organization 11 years ago.
He has taken the vision of Joni Ericson Tada and helped make Joni and Friends the authoritative voice on Christian outreach to the world’s 660 million people with disabilities and their families.
Having ministered to his severely disabled son, Ryan, for more than 30 years, Mazza brings a warm and personal perspective to every program at Joni and Friends.
He also brings award-winning skills in corporate leadership. Doug’s distinguished career in the automotive industry includes serving as senior American executive for American Suzuki Motor Corporation; he wrote the marketing plan that successfully launched Suzuki automobiles in this country. Under his leadership, the Suzuki Samurai was named one of the top 10 marketed products in the United States and became the subject of a Harvard case study.
Mazza later joined Hyundai Motor America as its top American executive, serving five years as Chief Operating Officer.
A sought after public speaker, especially on topic of disability as it relates to Christianity and a long a dedicated volunteer with a variety of non-profit organizations, he and his wife, Lorraine, made a life-changing decision when he left industry to answer a calling to full- time Christian ministry in 1999 with Joni and Friends. In 2004, following dramatic ministry growth, he was promoted from Executive Vice President to President.
Mazza is originally from Bergen County, New Jersey, near New York City. An Otterbein College graduate, he and his wife currently live in Woodland Hills, Calif., and attend Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, Calif. They have five grown sons.”