Why I Chose FBN®: Deena Malaeb, Livestock Category Management & Operations

Melissa Niedrich

24 Feb 2022

Our ‘Why I Chose FBN’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to FBN, what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®.

When did you join FBN, what is your current role at FBN, where are you based, and what are your responsibilities? 

I joined FBN in March 2020 and currently run Category Management & Operations for our Livestock division. I wear a couple of different hats in my role.

Primarily, my team and I manage the product strategy and pricing for our Animal Health, Feed, and Supplies businesses.

I also lead broader strategy work for the Livestock business and ensure our operational needs are met. I'm based in San Francisco, but spend a lot of time in our Worthington, Minnesota office as well!

What was your previous work experience before joining FBN

My background is in strategy and business consulting. Prior to FBN, I was at Bain & Company, consulting Fortune 500 companies on various strategy, growth, and organization projects.

What did you first find compelling about FBN that led you to want to learn more? 

I had been looking for a role specifically in food or agriculture tech when I came across FBN. I first met with Ben Harms (our Chief Strategy Officer) and was immediately drawn in by the disruptive nature of how FBN makes an impact in agriculture.

I learned more about FBN's business lines (like how we invested in manufacturing our own chemicals to disrupt an oligopolistic market, and the transparency we're driving with market data) and immediately felt the Farmers First mission at work.

I was impressed with the broad impact FBN was making across inputs, agronomic data, financial and risk offerings, and more.

Why did you ultimately decide to join FBN? What did this thought process look like for you? 

Right off the bat, the mission deeply resonated with me. I considered other roles in food/agriculture tech, but I felt that FBN was the boldest of the lot.

There are a lot of companies in food tech that are building "alternatives" to the traditional agriculture system (think alternative protein, vertical farming, etc.).

While I think these are valid approaches, I was personally more excited about the potential to make sweeping changes in the main agriculture system we operate in today. To me, it deserves our attention and means a much bigger impact.

Beyond the mission, the role aligned with what I was looking for and I also was lucky to have the opportunity to work directly with Charles Baron, one of our co-founders, which I couldn't pass up!

Now that you’ve joined, how would you describe FBN’s culture and what it’s like to work here? 

At FBN there's never a dull moment. There's always something new launching, a big change, another new challenge. And yes, it is fast paced. We don't like to wait around. 

The makeup of the team is also unique and I think is part of what makes us successful. I have colleagues who grew up on farms their whole lives in rural towns as well as colleagues who grew up in larger cities (like me). But at the root of it, we all feel a sense of duty to farmers and want to work together to make change. 

What kind of impact are you and your team having on the company’s future? 

Our team is building the next platform at FBN from the ground up. We've launched 3 new product lines, acquired a company to jumpstart the business, and made countless investments into defining scalable growth. It's also been incredible to see the Livestock team grow and transform. 

How does FBN’s mission come to life in your day-to-day work? How does your work positively impact famers? 

Everything we launch at FBN is with the farmer (or in my case, livestock operator) in mind. Day-to-day, there are hundreds of micro-decisions that my team and I make to try to hold true to this.

For example, I'm currently working to negotiate deals for calving medications and supplies from our vendors so that we can put the products that producers need on sale when they need them.

We're also packaging them into easy educational assets so that ranchers can feel prepared for the season. My team also developed the first input financing options that better meet the unique cash needs of livestock operators.

Lastly, I like to get out on farms, dairies, and feedlots to learn directly from the source whenever I can.

We know you have a life outside of work - what kinds of things do you do for fun? 

All things food -- cooking new recipes, trying out new restaurants in SF, reading ag news.

I also love working all that food off during my Sunday soccer games or long walks in Golden Gate Park. When we're not in the midst of a global pandemic, I also love to travel (Italy is my happy place)!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone considering FBN

Don't give up if there isn't the "perfect role" for you right away. There are always new opportunities popping up -- plus a lot of internal mobility options once you're here!

Learn more about FBN

Interested in learning more about FBN and opportunities to join our team?

Check out our Careers page for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!

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Melissa Niedrich

24 Feb 2022

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