Rarely as an adult do you have the good fortune of returning to the one place where much of your youth was spent honing skills in sport and life. It is even more unusual to come back in a significant leadership position. But that is exactly what happened to former Israel Junior Nationals Champion and current Israel Tennis Centers CEO Ari Strasberg.
“The life skills I was taught at the ITC were qualities that benefited me tremendously on the tennis court and in life. Key among them were to love what you do, strive to improve all the time and learn how to deal with defeat and come back even stronger.”
Ari started playing at the ITC – Ramat Hasharon at the tender age of 7, although he wasn’t actually accepted into the program until a year later. He continued to train there over the next several years, joining the ITC Academy when he was 14. His hard work and dedication resulted in being ranked #4 in Israel in the 14 – 18 age group, winning the Junior Nationals at 18. During his subsequent tour of duty in the IDF, Ari sustained a back injury that momentarily sidetracked his career. However, he persevered through it all and, after completing his military obligation, left for the US where he enjoyed great success on a tennis scholarship at the University of Washington.
“The lessons I learned at the ITC really helped me succeed during my time in college. These included the importance of recognizing that success in tennis requires you to excel at the highest level not only for yourself but for the good of the team. And being on that team made it a truly global experience since we had players not only from the United States but from Great Britain, Yugoslavia, Austria and South Africa.”
After graduating from the University of Washington and earning an MBA from Cornell University, Ari joined the multinational consulting firm, Cap Gemini, helping global clients with their management and financial needs. Despite his success in the US, Ari never stopped thinking about returning to Israel, bringing back the skills he acquired to help Israel grow and prosper. As luck would have it, in 2013 he joined the management team at the ITC in Ramat Hasharon and a year later was appointed Chief Operating Officer, overseeing overall operations, including Finance, Marketing, New Product Development, IT and HR. His elevation to CEO at the end of 2015 was recognition of Ari’s accomplishments and vision for the future of the organization.
“I consider myself very lucky to have returned to the place where I learned so much as a young person. I love what I do at the ITC and feel completely invested in the future of this extraordinary organization. As such, my goal is quite simple… to continuously upgrade the experience that the ITC can provide the next generation of Israeli children. They are our future, and for that reason I can’t think of a more important task.”