Players in the community: Lauren Pesqueda, San Antonio Spurs team up with community for good work
Players in the community
By Benjamin Gleisser
Lauren Pesqueda, San Antonio Spurs team with community for good works
Lauren Pesqueda, associate manager of player engagement for the San Antonio Spurs, wants to generate the same acts of kindness in Texas that she helped create when she worked in a similar position with the Chicago White Sox.
Pesqueda (B.B.A. ’08) especially remembers the smile on the face of the 7-year-old pediatric cancer patient when she arranged for the youngster to visit White Sox’s stadium, and meet his favorite player, pitcher Chris Sale.
"Chris let the boy hang out with him on the field, then took him into the clubhouse and introduced him to the other players as ‘my friend,’ " Pesqueda recalls. "That afternoon had such a great impact on the little boy. Later, Chris asked me how the boy was doing and asked if he could come back. I believe they still keep in touch."
Here she pauses for a moment, then adds, "Seeing that young boy so happy — it’s the reason I do this job. I love having the opportunity to play even a small role in those kinds of experiences."
In December 2016, Sale was traded to the Boston Red Sox. Coincidentally, Pesqueda has a new team, too. In November 2017, she rejoined the Spurs, an organization she had interned with while attending Texas State. In her new position, she works with the senior director of player engagement as the liaison between team management, Spurs players, and the community.
She also talks to players about which charities they would like to support. "Some guys are passionate about working with kids with cancer, and others want to work with at-risk youth, the military, or veterans organizations," she says. "I match them with groups that make hospital visits, or work with the Wounded Warriors Project, or the Make-A-Wish Foundation."
Pesqueda credits Dr. James Bell, a retired Texas State University professor of management and entrepreneurship, with igniting her desire to succeed in business. "Dr. Bell seemed so excited and thrilled to be teaching us. His classes had such great energy, and he brought in great guest speakers," she says. "And I had great academic advisors that ensured I was able to work and stay on course for graduation."
Pesqueda says her mother, Martha, instilled in her the passion to succeed. "She was a single parent who had me relatively young, and she worked days and nights to provide for her young family," Pesqueda says. "She told me she had to work because I needed to go to school and be able to choose a career because, as she said, ‘I didn’t have that luxury.’ Now, I want to make her proud."
Growing up in Selma, just north of San Antonio, Pesqueda was a die-hard Spurs and Dallas Cowboys fan. During her sophomore year at Texas State, she interned in the Spurs’ Community Relations Department, where she helped arrange player appearances and worked with the Tim Duncan Foundation. For a Spurs fan, the job was a dream come true.
After graduation, Pesqueda joined the Texas Rangers as assistant director of community outreach, where her responsibilities included managing the Texas Rangers Foundation, which raised money for scholarships, among other things. She also worked closely with Matthew McConaughey’s just keep livin Foundation, which promotes educational opportunities and healthy lifestyle choices for at-risk youth. In 2014, she joined the White Sox; today, she is "happy to be back in Texas," she says.
And her goal? To continue doing what she loves.
"I always knew I didn’t want a punch-in, punch-out 9-to-5 job," she says. "I’m proud to do something that creates a lasting impact on my community and helps those who deserve it. And I get to create meaningful relationships with people." ✪