Serving Autism and Unique Abilities On and Off the Courts

LSA Board

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Taylor Duffy

Taylor Duffy

Board President

Taylor Duffy is a higher education and nonprofit professional that spent most of his childhood competing in tennis tournaments across the country. After undergoing multiple surgeries as a teen, he took a hiatus from the sport and moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida.

Upon graduation, Taylor was appointed by Mayor Jerry Demings and the Board of County Commissioners to serve on the Orange County Disability Advisory Board. As Chair, he serves as one of the region’s leading voices on matters related to disabilities. In 2022, the Arthritis Foundation—the world’s largest organization supporting individuals with arthritis—appointed Taylor to their Orlando Leadership Board.

As Vice-Chair and Chair-elect of the county’s Review Panel for Human Services, Taylor has played an integral role in the allocation of more than $5,000,000 in grants that currently fund over 200 nonprofit programs in Central Florida. As COO and co-founder of PREP Scholars, he also provides career-focused education and mentorship to underserved students in Orlando.

Taylor began working with LSA to unify his passion for tennis with his commitment to improving the health and accessibility of Florida communities. He is grateful for the opportunity to expand his role as a member of the Board of Directors.  

Vania King

Vania King

Honorary Board Member

Vania is a former professional tennis player that reached career high rankings of #3 in the world in doubles and #50 in the world in singles. She is a two-time Grand Slam Doubles Champion, winning Wimbledon and the US Open. She represented players on Tour as a WTA Player Council representative and is currently a consultant for the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Tennis Benefit Association. She is a Director At Large on the USTA’s Board of Directors and on USTA Southern California’s DEI committee. She received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a masters degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. In her free time, Vania enjoys birdwatching and singing.
Karen Matthews

Karen Matthews

Vice President

Karen Matthews is a local Palm Beach County entrepreneur and passionate advocate for helping others. She is the President and Owner of KAM Business Solutions. KAM was created to help struggling and growing businesses, offering affordable consultation services to businesses looking to improve their efficiencies, sales strategies, and marketing planning. Karen aims to provide companies with the strategic support they need to succeed.

Karen’s career began with a passion for helping special needs children, which led her to pursue a degree in Psychology at Peru State College, Nebraska. She had the pleasure of working with several children on the spectrum and attending several conferences nationally. Karen’s entrepreneurial path began by co-founding several businesses before moving into various leadership roles in sales and marketing, leading sales teams to achieve multi-million dollar sales and breaking company records.

As a board member for Love Serving Autism, Karen is committed to bringing her expertise and passion for helping others to further assist the organization’s mission. Karen is eager to return to her roots and help the special needs community while celebrating how tennis, her chosen sport, can be a therapeutic gateway to increased life skills education and independence.

Lizet Santos

Lizet Santos

Board Member

South Florida born and raised, Lizet is a loving mother to two handsome boys and a local award-winning REALTOR® with Keller Williams. From a young age, Lizet has always been passionate about helping others. With her large network and relationships, she aims to be a reliable resource to everyone she comes in contact with.

Lizet became involved with Love Serving Autism in 2022 after learning about the organization and witnessing the incredible impact it had on the community. She quickly became part of the LSA team and has helped fundraise over $10,000 for the organization.

Lizet joined the board of directors in 2023 and will be a Legacy again as she continues her efforts to help LSA fundraise more money to not only continue giving back to the community and spreading awareness, but so they can ultimately reach their goal of opening a community center. Lizet has also vowed to give a portion of all her transactions completed in 2023 to LSA and will be hosting events throughout the year.

Jill Jolley

Jill Jolley

Board Secretary

Jill has over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry with Fortune 500 companies.  She has expertise in sales, marketing, business analysis and customer experience.  She currently works for Nissan North America as a Regional Operations Manager.  Jill has owned and operated businesses in Palm Beach County.  Jill is a graduate of Western Michigan University.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Business degree in Finance and Economics. 

Jill and her family relocated from Atlanta, GA to South Florida in 2009.  She, her husband, Sam and son Brandon live in Wellington, FL.  Brandon was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2 and attends the Palm Beach School for Autism.  Jill was introduced to Love Serving Autism through her son’s involvement with tennis.  She has been involved as a parent volunteer and enjoys working with children and seeing them develop and flourish.  Love Serving Autism has given their son a love for tennis and a social network he would not have experienced. 

Love Serving Autism has provided a community of wonderful people that have had a positive impact on our family. This experience has provided new friends, resources and a better life for Brandon and our family.  I am honored and grateful to be a part of the board.  I hope to share what I have gained through Love Serving Autism with others and have a positive impact on their lives. 

Francois Truong

Francois Truong

Board Member

After many years dabbling in multiple industries, Francois has found his niche in the financial services helping families and business owners protect their assets, from their children to their retirement assets and businesses. So much, that he was named Top 2 Leading Representative Award in the East/Southern region of the country in 2022 with a Fortune 500 company. He is married and have 2 beautiful children. One of his child was diagnosed on the spectrum and got involved early on. Due to building his own Financial Plan for his daughter, he became so passionate on educating Special Needs Planning and helping families put an ease to financial planning and how it could impact their families without proper planning. He is always looking for something new to learn and more ways to serve his community.

As a dedicated father and husband, his family is his driving force behind everything that he does. He is competitive by nature and always up for a pick-up game of basketball. Francois is a FAU Alumni where he received a double major in Marketing and Business Management and holds an MBA in International Business. He is trilingual, as he was born and raised in France, yet was raised by Vietnamese Parent. He moved to the United States and learned English here as his third language. Francois serves as a member of the FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Francois is always looking for way to connect with families in the community and serving the Autism community in all ways possible. Because he believes in bringing awareness as well as protecting the community, he has a mission to impact as many lives as he can reach as well as making the Autism world a better place. Francois became involved with LSA in 2022 after attending an incredible event and wanted to get involved. He loves their mission and looking forward to bringing more support to Love Serving Autism.

Dustin Forman

Dustin Forman

Board Treasurer

Dustin Forman is a nonprofit professional currently working in Development for Back on My Feet, a national nonprofit organization that combats homelessness.  Prior to working in the nonprofit world, Dustin spent time working in higher education.  Dustin is a graduate of the University of Central Florida where he holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and holds a Master of Science Degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University.

Dustin was first introduced to Love Serving Autism in 2017 while working for USTA Florida.  During his time with USTA Florida, Dustin worked closely with LSA Founder Lisa Pugliese-LaCroix, assisting in the expansion of programming in Palm Beach & Broward County.  Dustin spent time volunteering to assist with programming both in-person and virtually, leading some of our Saturday morning virtual classes when LSA moved fully virtual in 2020.

Dustin is thrilled to join the Board of Directors and is excited to be part of an organization that he sees making a difference in the lives of its participants. “I feel blessed to be part of the Board of Directors for an organization that promotes inclusion, transforms lives, and creates the skills and confidence to increase the independence of its participants.”

Melissa  Commanday

Melissa Commanday

Board Member

Melissa is a former student-athlete from Livingston, NJ. She was her high school’s first-ever twelve-letter athlete, playing three varsity sports all four years in high school in soccer, basketball, and softball. An All-State catcher, Melissa went on to play D1 softball at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY where she majored in Political Science. During her college years, Melissa also coached several girls’ sports teams at the local middle school. Her passion for sports and mentoring young athletes was something she was always dedicated to.

While working as the Director of Marketing and Inside Sales for a large national wholesale apparel company, Melissa also coached her son Ben’s baseball and basketball teams. At age 11, Ben decided to focus solely on tennis and Melissa was instrumental in helping him achieve his goals. In 2018, Melissa found Love Serving Autism during her search for an organization for Ben’s Bar Mitzvah project. Ben began volunteering, coaching, and participating in LSA events immediately and the family was hooked! Over the years, including during the pandemic, Ben continued to volunteer and turned his love for tennis into a passion for helping others.

Last fall, Ben began his journey as a collegiate student-athlete at Oberlin College in Ohio and Melissa was determined to continue her family’s relationship with LSA. She accepted the role of Volunteer Chair for the 2023 gala and helped communicate with and coordinate volunteers for LSA’s 300-person annual fundraiser. In January 2024, Melissa joined the Board of Directors to get even more involved with Love Serving Autism. She looks forward to continuing to find ways to help LSA grow and flourish in this new role.

Melissa is also dedicated to student-athlete mental health and is certified in Mental Health First Aid. She is a parent group leader as part of the At-Large Ambassador program for Morgan’s Message, a national non-profit organization devoted to confronting student-athlete mental health.

Melissa is thrilled to bring her background in sports and passion for helping others to the LSA Board!

Advisory Committees

Therapists: Speech, Occupational, Physical

Venita Litvack, M.S., CCC-SLP

Advisory Committee

Speech Language Pathologist

Marjorie Estevez, PT

Advisory Committee

Physical Therapist

Jessica Budd, M.A., CCC-SLP

Advisory Committee

Speech Language Pathologist

Barbara Hernandez, OTR/L

Advisory Committee

Occupational Therapist

Kimberly Tice, M.S., CCC-SLP

Advisory Committee

Speech-Language Pathologist

Julia Abrahams M.S., CCC-SLP

Advisory Committee

Speech-Language Pathologist

Karli Press M.S., CCC-SLP

Advisory Committee

Speech-Language Pathologist

USPTA/PTR Tennis Professionals

Alex Pop Moldovan

Advisory Committee

USPTA Certified Tennis Professional

Aleksandrina Koleva

Advisory Committee

PTR Certified Tennis Professional

Kyle LaCroix

Advisory Committee

USPTA & PTR Certified Tennis Professional

 

Speech Therapy Advisory Committee

Lisa Timm

Owner, Create with Vision

Ashley Zimmerman

M.S., CCC-SLP

PA

Julia Abrahams

M.S., CF-SLP  
FL

 

Alise Rittershaus

M.S., CCC-SLP

MA

Samantha Gumula

B.S., Communication Science and Disorders

Florida Atlantic University
Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Graduate Student 

 

Conrad Felton

M.S., CCC-SLP

VA

Medical

Dr. Harold "Hackie" Reitman, M.D.

Medical Advisory Committee

Emily Arndt

Medical Advisory Committee

Parent & Student

Jean Brown

Parent Advisory Committee

Sona Shornden

Parent Advisory Committee

Andrea Paul

Parent Advisory Committee

Bianca Cook

Parent Advisory Committee

Valerie Beatson

Parent Advisory Committee

KidJam Founder

David Brown

Student Advisory Committee

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