By Abbey Sprague, CCC, Midland Power Cooperative, Jefferson, Iowa

Angela Croce, CCC, director of corporate communications at Cobb EMC, became involved in Autism Speaks in 2015 when she joined the Southern Pieces Gala committee, which she currently chairs.

“My stepson and nephew are both on the autism spectrum, so the cause is dear to me,” said Croce. “My local Autism Speaks chapter has provided grants to organizations where my stepson receives services, and the local Autism Speaks Response Team has provided resources to help him with everything from summer camp to therapies.”

In her spare time, Croce uses her creativity to design T-shirts available through an Etsy shop that she launched in 2018. She donates 100% of the profits from the shop to support her local chapter of Autism Speaks.

“I wanted to find a way to consistently give back to the organization, not just when it’s walk season, time to run the 5K or gala time,” said Croce.

The shirt designs are mainly minimalist/typographic and the messages are positive and sometimes funny. She adds a few designs to the shop each month.

Since launching the Etsy shop, Croce learned a lot more goes into managing it than she had imagined. She found that search engine optimization is critically important. She’s using Instagram and Pinterest to promote her listings, and she continues to learn what works best.

Croce said, “While it has been more work than I anticipated I’m having fun, knowing it’s all for a good cause.”

Croce has been with Cobb EMC, Marietta, Ga., for 18 years and earned the CCC designation in 2003. Check out her creative T-shirt designs at her Etsy shop and find her on Instagram.

According to, Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.