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  • Kimberly Runyan

PBI Associate Spotlight: Phil Azar

All I knew when I decided that I wanted to become a full-time teaching pro was that I didn’t want to be one where I had been raised: in cool, wet England.

So, when I heard about PBI and all its wonderful tropical resorts and clubs all over the world, it was a no-brainer: I was going to try to get in.

And after surviving the exhaustive application process that included a whole day of interviewing in Austria plus a whole month of training at PBI’s HQ in Texas, you can imagine what my face looked like when they told me that my first assignment was going to be in the even-colder, drearier German Black Forest.

Soon enough though, I got the phone call from Chris Dyer, our then-Vice-President, asking if I might be interested in moving to Mauritius… I had never heard of the country, never mind knowing where it might be on the world map, but I said, yes, yes, YES! And so, my journey in PBI truly began.

I met my wife-to-be there and our engagement consisted of “Darling, PBI’s offered me a new assignment in Dubai but the only way we can go there together is if we’re married. Do you want to marry me?”

From there, I had extended stints in Mexico and Italy and the Maldives where our island was submerged by the massive 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean; Japan with its seemingly daily earthquakes and where our son was born; Lebanon with its tanks and army check-points; Lyford Cay Club in the Bahamas where the billionaires come to get away from the millionaires and where our second son was born. We are now based in the Austrian Alps at the award-winning Stanglwirt. I’ve had the chance to work in clubs, resorts, resort-clubs, and every other variation in between and teach in 6 different languages.

Whilst recently talking with one of our resort’s general managers and telling her how much I admired that she had managed to stay in the same job for 25 years, she retorted that nothing would scare her more than what is the norm for so many of our pros: packing up and starting anew on the other side of the world.

She’s right: this lifestyle is not for everyone but, boy, if you embrace it, it is so rewarding. The stories I will be able to tell my grandkids one day about faraway cultures and countries just make it all worth the discomfort of packing and unpacking and the excitement of the unknown.

And all thanks to tennis and the vision of PBI to take the sport to every country of the world.

My professional life is fulfilled.

Pictured: A PBI World Camp Group at Stanlgwirt

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