“I am 100% certain I would not be where I am today had it not been for the Israel Tennis & Education Centers.”
So says Zvi Lantsberg, successful Director of Business Development at a major internet start-up who grew up in Beer Sheva and was introduced to the ITEC at the age of 11. A city like Beer Sheva provides few alternatives, and in that environment the ITEC was a great positive distraction from crime and other negative influences.
“The ITEC exposed me to lots of things, all helping me to become a better player and person. It was a place I could go after school to not only learn how to play tennis but to learn how to grow socially as a young adult. It was really a tremendously helpful life style choice for me and my friends.”
A very strong bond formed with his coach Alex Podolsky, who helped Zvi become the top player in his 15 – 18 age group. The lessons he learned both on and off the court paved the way of a successful tour of duty in the Israeli Air Force, after which he received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of North Carolina. He not only became Captain of the tennis team but was chosen to be commencement speaker at his graduation, an extraordinary honor.
Following school, Zvi landed a prestigious job at Morgan Stanley on Wall Street, and after a brief diversion to work at Amazon on the West Coast, he returned to help grow the internet start-up AddThis.com. During his time in New York, Zvi found time to go back to school and earn his MBA from Columbia University Business School. All the while he has never forgotten where it all started for him, and how the ITEC has so strongly and positively impacted his life.
” Whenever I go back to visit my family in Beer Sheva, I always make sure to spend time at the center where so much of what I learned took place. I remain very close friends with the staff there, including the Manager Yaniv Sakira who I grew up with. The ITEC is doing so many great things for the children in and around Beer Sheva, and I know what’s important to me, like giving back and striving to make the world a better place, are values that came from the ITEC and my late coach and mentor Alex. It was a privilege to be there as a child, and it is no different now as an adult.”