Business Leader Heidi Jannenga, ’92, B.S., Explains How a Purpose-Driven Career Can Shape Your Future

Heidi Jannenga
“UC Davis gave me so much in terms of my education and longtime friendships. It helped to form the mold in terms of who I am today,” said Heidi Jannenga, an alumna from the College of Biological Sciences.

When Heidi Jannenga ’92 was injured playing women’s basketball for the University of California, Davis, she was nearly out for the entire season. But after receiving excellent care from a physical therapist, she was able to rejoin her team and finish the year, albeit with a brace. The experience inspired her to  pursue physical therapy (PT) as a career, and she went on to create WebPT, today’s leading physical therapy software and one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing businesses for the sixth year in a row. 

“At the time I began managing my first PT clinics, physical therapists everywhere were feeling financial pressure, and eighty percent of the industry was using paper and pen in their practice. So our largest expenses were transcription and dictation,” Jannenga explained. “There wasn’t a better solution available. So a software developer and I put our heads together and said, ‘Let’s build something,’ and that’s what we did. Today, the industry is 80 percent digital. We’ve been able to disrupt how people think about documentation and using technology within their practice.”

From only 10 users in 2006 to over 80,000 in 2018, WebPT now serves more than one-third of the physical therapy provider market. And it all started in the back of a coffee shop, without any previous experience of her own in the software industry. By pursuing her passion and consistently seeking solutions to challenges along the way, Jannenga eventually became President and Co-Founder of her own company.

How to Shape a Successful Career or Business

At Jannenga’s core is an ability to lead and adapt and a deep desire to motivate others to do the same, the basics of which she attributes to the ideas behind conscious capitalism, the higher purpose of business. With this framework in mind, she shares four expert tips for fellow UC Davis alumni about how to develop a pioneering and innovative spirit for lifelong success:

1. Collaborate. Have an open workspace that facilitates teamwork, participate in community-building projects, learn to ask for help and spend time with others whose strengths balance yours. Acknowledging your areas for growth actually builds trust.

2. Learn to adapt. Practice introspection or ask for feedback directly from your stakeholders. Try something new just when you are starting to feel comfortable. Be open to new experiences even if you aren’t sure where they are headed.

3. Be purpose-driven. Find what motivates you and your team. Have a clear mission and vision for yourself and others to follow. Create something that is a part of something greater than yourself.

4. Focus on your strengths. Do more of the things you are already good at by “living in the zone in which you thrive.” Find something you love; this will give you the confidence to pursue the right opportunities and help you continue on the path to success and be a leader in your field.

Said Jannenga, “The core of who you are will pull you through and shine through all of these experiences.”

Jannenga, is soon to be honored with an Outstanding Alumna Award by CAAA for her outstanding achievements, contributions to community, and innovative change. She shares, “I hope that by telling my story I can inspire others to go on and do something amazing with their future. Helping to shape the next generation of leaders is part of how I give back to my alma mater.”

Looking for ways to inspire fellow Aggies in their careers? Become a mentor or volunteer or support additional opportunities by giving back to UC Davis.


About the UC Davis Alumni Awards

Heidi Jannenga is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Alumna Award, 2018. This award honors a UC Davis graduate who is in the mid-point of his or her career, who has displayed outstanding achievement, promoted innovative change and made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community and to UC Davis.

The Cal Aggie Alumni Awards annually recognize alumni and friends of UC Davis that have brought distinction to their professions and through philanthropic efforts. The theme this year is “A Community in Action.” Seven awards celebrating alumni and one friend of the university will be presented for their outstanding achievement

This story was originally featured on One Aggie Network

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