PODCAST: S2:EP34–Lisa Pugliese LaCroix, Love Serving Autism

Join us for S2:EP34 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Lisa Pugliese LaCroix sits down with our host, Roy Kessel, to discuss how Love Serving Autism provides tennis and life skills training to kids on the autism spectrum.

Lisa is a USPTA Elite Certified Tennis Professional and a Speech-Language Pathologist in the field of autism. For 15 years, Lisa has specialized in the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

A former collegiate tennis player at Duke University and the University of Florida followed by WTA tournaments, Lisa enjoys combining her tennis experience and speech therapy background to teach the sport to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

After working with children for 6 years as a program director for a national non-profit for autism, Lisa was inspired to be able to develop her own non-profit, Love Serving Autism, a 501(c)(3) organization in January 2017.  In 2019, she was elected by USTA National to join the Adaptive Tennis Training and Education Subcommittee to develop adaptive tennis curriculum. She is the chair for the 2020 USPTA National Adaptive Committee.

Lisa enjoys music and traveling.

Lisa Puglies LaCroix joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP34 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:30 Background and tennis career
  • 04:30 Launch of Love Serving Autism
  • 08:30 Life on the tennis tour
  • 12:00 Choice to go to college instead of turning pro
  • 15:30 Work for other nonprofits
  • 17:15 Transition to creating 501(c)(3)
  • 22:00 Challenges during the COVID-19 crisis
  • 24:30 Types of volunteers needed
  • 27:00 USTA Net Generation
  • 31:00 Growth of adaptive tennis
  • 36:00 New programs in response to COVID-19
  • 39:20 How she is teaching from home
  • 42:00 Lisa as Commissioner of Tennis
Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel is the Founder of the Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy has worked in the sports business world for over 20 years including serving as an instructor in Northwestern University's graduate Sports Management Program. Having served as a sports lawyer representing athletes, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, Roy has extensive experience helping organizations improve their strategy, marketing, communications and leadership development.
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