Jana Webb: “I Didn’t Know If They Wanted a Date with Me or They Were Taking Me Seriously”

Jana Webb. Photo by Dave Laus

Some of you may know Jana Webb as a cast member of ‘The Real Housewives of Toronto”, as a TEDx presenter, or as a fitness writer. But she is also a business woman, who started her own JOGA project, when she was recovering from a car accident that happened a year ago in Dominican Republic. As Jana describes it, JOGA is a hybrid of traditional yoga with biomechanics of sports’. Focusing mainly on athletes, JOGA coaches provide them with a tailored all-encompassing wellness program to fit their individual emotional, mental and nutritional well being. ‘So for the program, there is a DNA kit that we use, we call it our lab. Because human’s DNA doesn’t change, it’s what you are born with. From there we are able to prescribe nutrition, movement, and environment so their bodies could strive’. Right now Jana has over 400 certified coaches across Canada, a head office in Seattle, and big plans on expanding to Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

But before JOGA became a successful venture, there were hard times putting things together and getting initial investment. ‘I don’t even think the word ‘hard’ describes it. Once I saw there was an opportunity and demand for what we are doing, then I needed to raise money and write a business plan – which I have never done before. So it was kind of like doing an MBA, but learning the hardest way possible.’ When she came up with a business plan and started looking for potential investors for her project, she faced the downside of being pretty and being a woman. Due to this combination, most men would not take her seriously and would only want to go out on a date with her. As Jana said, ‘Sometimes when you are trying to raise money for your business, you are in ‘Old Men’s Club’. Half the time when I was pitching my deck, I didn’t know if they wanted a date with me or they were taking me seriously. And that’s what I said to other female entrepreneurs: you can come in with a game face, but their motive or incentive for having that meeting can be completely different. And that’s what is hard. Because you, as entrepreneur, are excited and you believe in what you are doing. And you also think that that person, sitting across from you, believes it as well, and really, they just want a dinner date. As a woman, I feel like you have to sort through a lot more people to find those investors, who are genuinely interested and believe in your product.’ 

When asked what kind of man she is looking for, Jana replied that she is already dating someone. ‘I was single for a long time. And to be honest, I was never looking for a certain type, because I was so busy building my business and also being a single mom. For me, there was no space left over for intimate relationships, so the guy, who I’m dating, kind of fell on my lap. His sister was watching “The Real Housewives of Toronto” and she emailed me. I got his phone number, we started a conversation. And because I have this brain injury, I kept forgetting to text him back. So one day I was just having a coffee and he came. So the way we met was very organic. He is a fire fighter. And I guess after everything I’ve been through, that feeling of being safe is important right now. And it’s nice to have someone who is grounded and confident. He is a dad as well, he’s got two boys, so he understands my situation. All those things are really important.’

For more information about Joga go to jogahouse.com
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Jana Webb. Photo by Dave Laus