Gonitzke Named CEO of National Foundation for Transplants

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Vol. 128, No. 227


Connie Gonitzke has been appointed president and CEO of the National Foundation for Transplants. Gonitzke joined the Memphis-based organization in 2002 as a patient advocate. In 2006, she was named director of resource development, and in 2008, she became the senior vice president of development.

Hometown: Provo, Utah

Education: BA in communications from the University of Memphis

Family: Married with two children and three precious grandchildren. I have three older brothers.

Favorite quote: I’ve always found strength in Proverbs 3:4-5, “Trust in the Lord will all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Favorite movie: “True Grit” with John Wayne. I also love any old movie with Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Maurine O’Hara. I’ll take an old classic any day!

What’s playing on your stereo right now? I’m getting in the holiday mood early this year, so it’s Cori Connor’s Christmas album, “Sleepy Little Town.”

Activities you enjoy outside of work: A good road trip, walks and bike rides, my piano, sewing, cooking and gardening.

What talent do you wish you had? I love being active, but wish I had more athletic abilities. As a kid in school, I got picked last many times for teams.

Who has had the greatest influence on you? My mother, a German immigrant who was an example of great faith and who inspired me to have a thirst for learning.

When and how did you become involved with the National Foundation for Transplants? It was a job I felt that the Lord had saved just for me. I walked into the office for my interviews and felt comfortable and at home. I’ve been here over 11 years now.

What are your goals in your new position? Expand NFT’s network and market our mission more widely so many more people know who we are and the great work we do.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Professionally, the opportunity now to lead NFT and help more patients in need. Personally, raising two amazing children with my husband, Michael.

What do you most enjoy about your work? Every day is an opportunity to help someone. We help patients in their darkest hours, when they feel there is little hope. We ring a bell in the office when we learn someone received a transplant. We feel the pain when their chance never came. There is never a dull day.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Pursue the quest for knowledge and truth, then use your skills and talents to serve and help others.


Myiesha Griffin has been appointed coordinator of external communications and social media at Christian Brothers University. Griffin recently earned a master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications with a social media concentration from Northeastern University. She previously worked as sales and marketing manager at Sprint Nextel.

Les Jones of Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC has been named a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Jones’ practice focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury cases, primary in medical malpractice and nursing home litigation.


Eric Davis has joined Tioga Environmental Consultants as an environmental scientist, and Phillip Gardner has joined Tioga as a lead inspector and risk assessor.

Hope House has named new board officers and members. The new officers are: Frank Davis, president; Doug Wright, immediate past president; Bryan Mulroy, board secretary; Bobbie McLaughlin, board treasurer; and Tracy Speake and Sally DiScenza, members at large. New board members are J. William Appling, Dr. Ellie Goughnour and Sally Pace.


Daniel Scruggs has joined Signature Advertising as a copywriter. Scruggs graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and English. Erin Liddle has joined Signature as a workflow manager. Liddle graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has achieved the highest number of Tier 1 metropolitan rankings in Tennessee in U.S. News-Best Lawyers’ 2014 “Best Law Firms,” with 94 practice areas ranked, and in Memphis, with 33 practice areas ranked.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC’ Memphis has received Tier 1 metropolitan rankings in U.S. News-Best Lawyers’ 2014 “Best Law Firms” in 12 practice areas. The Memphis office also received 11 Tier 2 metropolitan rankings.

The Memphis office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC has received first-tier rankings in U.S. News-Best Lawyers’ 2014 “Best Law Firms” in employment law – management, labor law – management, and litigation – labor and employment.