Meet Rory Hibbler, Director of Operations at Feed Media Group and Primary Mastermind Network Founding Member
Read how Rory Hibbler's past experiences as an Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff led her to current role as Director of Operations at Feed Media Group (FMG), a B2B music licensing platform, and the lessons learned along the way.
As a CoS Mastermind Founding Member, Rory has personally witnessed how the access to other Chiefs of Staff has been a game changer to her role and career. Interested in joining? Apply here.
Can you walk us through your career journey to date? How did your interests and/or values help shape where you landed?
I’ve always been drawn to making things ‘go’ at startups. With so many moving parts and fast-paced changes, it can be hard to keep everything (and everyone) on the same page. I started my career as an Executive Assistant to CEOs of startups, oftentimes helping them build from the ground up. I then became Chief of Staff at ScaleLogix and ScaleUp Edge, helping grow SaaS scale-ups with incredible mentors. Most recently, I have taken on a more functional role as Director of Operations at FMG, a B2B music licensing platform.
How did you land the Director of Operations role at FMG? What advice do you have for others who are looking to transition into early stage tech from a different industry?
I had been working as a fractional Chief of Staff through vChief, taking on various consulting roles a few hours a week. I was really enjoying the work-life balance and taking a break from a full-time position, but then fell in love with the team and mission at FMG while working as their fractional CoS. When I saw that they were hiring a full-time Operations Lead, I went for it. If someone is serious about a career transition and is looking at the CoS role as a stepping stone, I would recommend joining an early-stage startup. While the pay usually isn’t great and it's a lot of work, your responsibilities will be incredibly broad, providing you with the opportunity to figure out what type of work you enjoy the most.
What has been the most rewarding part of the role so far? The most surprising and/or challenging?
Personally, the most rewarding part of my role is the people I get to work with. I’m lucky that I get to work with individuals from different departments and levels. Everyone at FMG is really supportive, intelligent, and fun to work with. The most surprising part about my role is how quickly things move here. We’re constantly hiring, onboarding, bringing in new clients, considering new business lines, and working on a cohesive company strategy. It’s exhilarating, and I love it, but it can definitely catch you by surprise how quickly things move here.
What is something you are very good at? How did you develop that skill? What advice do you have for someone working on it?
Developing company strategy that increases productivity. I’m good at optimizing and organizing company operations to increase output. I’ve developed this through many years of trial and error, working with different sized teams and levels of startup chaos, bringing streamlined processes, while being careful not to stifle the creativity. My advice for someone actively working on this is to be empathetic. By focusing on empathizing with the people you’re working with within the organization and understanding what their day-to-day and responsibilities are like, it would help inform you on how to implement in a way that helps, rather than hinders.
How has networking amplified your career?
Networking has been instrumental in helping me with both my career and day-to-day performance. I wouldn’t be in the role I am today if I hadn’t taken the time to introduce myself to a very inspiring CEO and ask her if she’d do a 30 minute Zoom call with me just over a year ago. She then introduced me to the COO of FMG, and here we are. I love taking the time to learn new things from those in my network and teach them in return. These Ops roles can be so vague and broad in scope that having a differentiated network is a game changer.
Who is someone that you admire that you’ve learned from? How have they influenced your career, your thinking, your approach?
My former boss, Shelley Perry, is a mentor who I’ve learned countless lessons from. She has guided me from an EA to a Chief of Staff and beyond. She taught me the importance of strategic thinking, essentially how to make smarter decisions with the bigger picture in context. Her guidance, patience, and lessons have been invaluable to my career and approach to life, and for that I am so grateful.
Apply to join Primary's Mastermind Networks here!