Why I Chose FBN: Ryan Larkin, Head of UX Research

Erin Lemos

Mar. 31, 2023

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 June of 2022 as the Head of UX Research and I’m currently based out of Atlanta, Georgia. User Experience Research (UX) at FBN partners with our product and design teams to ensure that our strategic and creative thinking for all digital experiences (web, app, etc.) are based in deep customer centricity. 

We work across the organization to discover and deeply understand the needs, expectations, and pain points of growers and producers so that we can provide validated experiences of value for our users. 

Basically, we talk with our members to understand what they need, help our internal teams understand why that's important, and then test our ideas with our members to make sure we created what they wanted and that it works correctly. 

What was your previous work experience before joining FBN

Previous to FBN I was fortunate to work for digital transformation and marketing agencies, partnering with clientele from a broad range of industries and sectors, to both produce and manage user research initiatives and help organizations become more customer centric in their design and strategic thinking.   

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

I’m a sucker for the underdog story.  At our core, FBN is about the farmer: lots of small family businesses fighting to break even in an industry that has been dominated by a few large entities who control the marketplace. FBN has always been about disrupting that status quo and empowering the underdog small farmer.  

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

I remember during our interview process finding it refreshing and motivating that everyone I spoke with at FBN was focused primarily on creating amazing experiences for our users. When we talked about what success would look like both for FBN and the various roles within UX Research, we focused on the quality of the work rather than profit targets. 

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

Hyper focused on the customer. That is the best description. The cultural aspect that reverberates from every level and department at FBN is making sure that we are getting it right for the growers and producers who are our members. The people we work with at FBN are some of the best in their disciplines and there is a true culture of innovation and experimentation. 

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

Ultimately, UX Research is about advancing an organization's customer centricity. Customer centricity: creating experiences that are valuable, helpful, and occur at moments that matter to the user; are proven means to increase organizational success. 

In much simpler terms, UX Research ensures our products and experiences are, and remain, relevant and meaningful for our members. 

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

UX Research is the living embodiment of “Farmer First”.  Everyday we talk directly with our members to understand their needs, discover problems that we can help solve for them, and collaborate with them on design and usability of the experiences. Researchers become the voice of the member, representing their needs and concerns when they can’t be present. 

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

I am one of those people who has too many interests and too little time! If I’m not traveling back and forth between hockey tournaments for my kids, rebuilding an old car or motorcycle, hiking or just being outdoors as much as possible, then I’m probably in the middle of a home project that I underestimated the amount of time and materials (along with overestimating my own skill level) it would take me to build - lol. 

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

Everyone at FBN you are going to talk with has been thinking deeply about farmers and producers since they started with us. We didn’t all come from an agricultural background though - I’m a suburban kid from Chicago and, while I saw lots of corn and soy fields across the prairies growing up,

I was very far removed from understanding what the life of a farmer or livestock producer is and that’s ok. My advice…don’t be afraid to ask questions. We respect that desire to learn and see it as a strength.

Want to work for FBN?

Outstanding companies are built by outstanding people. The FBN team goes to work everyday to ensure farmers stay profitable while they feed the world.

Learn more about the open roles available at FBN.

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Erin Lemos

Mar. 31, 2023

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