Where Are They Now?
1998 NCAA Champion Vanessa Webb
by McCarton Ackerman, 23 February 2009
Vanessa Webb has never taken sitting still very well.
When shoulder surgery temporarily took her away from a successful career on the WTA tour, the 1998 NCAA women's singles champion assisted with a Canadian political campaign. And within days of playing her last professional match at the US Open in 2003, she began an arduous MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania's famed Wharton School.
The same tenacity that Webb showed on the court has led to a successful new career with The Parthenon Group, a Boston-based consulting firm, where she is putting her academic and vocational training to work by helping establish an office in Mumbai, India.
"One of the qualities you get from playing on the tour is that you're easily adaptable," says Webb, who has worked for The Parthenon Group since 2005 and has lived in Mumbai for the past year. "You just learn to make a home wherever you are - even if that home is halfway around the world."
Born and raised in Toronto, Webb was introduced to the sport by her father at age 7. She began practicing regularly against a wall behind her house and despite quickly garnering a reputation as one of the top juniors in Canada, her mother Cynthia, a hospital administrator, and her father Ian, a lawyer, always stressed the importance of education.
"My parents definitely impressed upon me the importance of academics," Webb says. "Whenever we were at a tournament, my father would always be trying to teach me about politics or something else. They were great supporters and always wanted me to succeed."
After high school, Webb took a year off to compete on the tour as an amateur, a decision she feels more top juniors should consider.