Staying Confident As The Only Woman In The Room

By Heidi Jannenga

Long before I was a software executive, I was a practicing physical therapist (DPT). Moving from the female-dominated world of PT to the male-dominated world of tech was a culture shock — to say the least.

When I co-founded my company, WebPT, I was the only woman on the executive team for the first few years. And when we started raising capital, I was the only woman at just about every one of those meetings. I was always aware of this dichotomy, but it really hit home the time we were in an investor pitch and I needed to use the restroom — but no one in the meeting knew the code to the women’s bathroom. Talk about feeling isolated while doing the pee-pee dance.

Now, let me back up a bit. Learning to hold my own and remain confident was not foreign territory for me. I grew up playing basketball and helped our college team at UC Davis rise to the No. 1 spot in our conference. After college, I sought a career in sports physical therapy, working with world-class athletes, and quickly climbed the ranks to clinic director, but this — the world of voracious tech founders and VCs — was a brand-new ballgame.


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