FirstIdea lights the path to help companies place and promote the best-fit people for a thriving organization.
The right people make all the difference to business success. FirstIdea takes the guesswork out of hiring, promotions, and diversity training. Our HR and psychology experts come alongside you with latest research and technology to ensure you make the best decisions.
We work with you closely as your partner to create personalized solutions to secure a highly talented workforce that is dedicated to your organization’s success. Our view is holistic and science-based, using rigorous analysis, insights, and customizable hiring and promotional testing tools as catalysts for organization-wide change.
We are people-focused. We are passionate about our clients’ success, supporting them on a personal and organizational level. We value every individual, helping to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments. Driven by great people and leading ideas, we enable transformation.
FirstIdea was founded on the idea of putting peoples’ futures first. For over three decades, we’ve tailored our research-based methodology to each organization’s unique culture, values and brand. We’ve partnered with hundreds of businesses and municipalities to assess and secure the next generation of talent, offering exclusive, customizable tools and processes.
From high-tech to high touch, we provide an array of tailored Human Resources consulting and recruitment testing services, including GR8PI™ (Great People Inside), the world’s first customizable talent assessment platform.
We are a certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) with more than 40 years of combined experience. We are experts in psychology and HR sciences, holding Master's and Doctorate-level degrees, and the highest levels of certification.
Annette Alvarez, MBA
President & CEO
Annette is a talented and seasoned executive who subscribes to a strategic client-focused system of operations. Bilingual, emotionally intelligent, and proactive, Annette has championed initiatives that have changed the fabric of organizations to be more inclusive, efficient, and productive. No stranger to challenge, this executive both captivates and directs the mission of FirstIdea, Inc. With a 30,000-foot view of the market, her client needs, and relationship building, you can find Annette at the helm of FirstIdea, guiding and motivating her staff. Annette is well-respected in the First Responder community and beyond as an advocate for unbiased, equitable and efficient selection, promotion and most recently, personnel training.
A transformational leader in tailored HR solutions, Annette is also a lifelong learner and support in her local community. Whether fundraising, event organization or mentorship, Annette finds enjoyment in cultivating others – personally and professionally.
Guillermo Alvarez, MS
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force with 20 years of subsequent experience in major corporations such as US West, Qwest, and Raytheon, Guillermo brings vast expertise in process effectiveness and assurance, quality assurance, statistical analysis, testing, and business development. He holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Colorado Technical University and a master's degree in Industrial /Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University. In his role as vice president at FirstIdea, Guillermo serves as a critical corporate strategist.
Director of Operations
Susan is the operational heart and soul of FirstIdea. Susan has assembled a distinguished 40-year career in operations management, and as a U.S Army Veteran was recognized as a “Distinguished Honor Graduate.” Susan carries a broad portfolio of responsibilities from day-to-day office management to client-facing project duties. She also plays a crucial role in long-term planning geared toward operational excellence and collaboration. Continuously challenging procedures to increase efficiency, her passion for creating and implementing innovative process improvements enhances organizational effectiveness, client satisfaction, and drives ongoing expense reduction.
In addition to being a servant-leader at FirstIdea, Inc for 15 years, Susan is a true servant in her community and beyond. She organized and helped sew over 1,200 face masks in response to the pandemic and continues to serve in local food banks.
Michael Lesser, MS
Senior Personnel Assessment Consultant
Michael is an Industrial Organizational Psychology Consultant with an extensive background in employee selection. Michael earned a M.S. in Psychology from The University of Memphis and pursued a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The University of Tulsa. Michael’s background has focused on large scale assessment centers, individual and managerial assessments, and executive feedback and development.
Michael has managed organizational effectiveness and talent management with multiple Fortune 500 companies. In private companies of up to 300,000 employees, he has been responsible for all aspects of selection programs including job analysis, test development and validation of all hourly and salaried positions.
In the public sector Michael has served as a part of a leadership team overseeing transformation of a public agency in order for it to emerge from receivership and comply with a three-decade old federal consent decree. In this role Michael worked with numerous public agencies to develop and implement content valid employment tests and procedures including numerous Public Safety classifications in Police, Fire, Corrections, and Sheriffs organizations.
Michael has also been involved in the development of technology-based training and assessment as well as task and competency model development for tech sector jobs.
Michael brings critical expertise in data analysis and psychometrics for all aspects of measurement ranging from scale construction to survey reporting.
Michael has interests in woodworking and photography.
Dr. Ray O’Connor, PhD
Personnel Assessment Consultant
Dr. Ray O’Connor is a seasoned professional who has broad experience in the area of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. He has written and presented extensively on issues related to psychological assessment, testing, and diversity. He spent the first 20+ years of his career as an academic and consultant. His background also includes managing, leading, delegating and problem solving in both the retail and food service industries. As the newest Personnel Assessment Consultant at FirstIdea, Dr. O’Connor uses his strengths, knowledge, and talents to complement the team in all areas of selection and promotion on various government contracts. His experience with job analysis interviews and test administration makes him an asset to the team and its current contracts.
Dr. O’Connor holds a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University and spends his free time on personal interests which include writing and reading in psychology, playing the occasional video game, and spending as much time as he can with his stepson and daughter.
Michelle Chancey, MA
Personnel Assessment Consultant
As FirstIdea’s most experienced consultant, Michelle has innovated and implemented state-of-the-art measurement tools for more than 12 years. Her technical experience is partnered with a robust project management foundation, having led hundreds of projects from conception to completion. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont and a master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Michelle is rarely matched and never surpassed in her areas of expertise.
Jenneh Peabody, MS
Jenneh is our principal test developer and author of knowledge-based content for our customer-tailored written examinations. The Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and distinction as an I/O Psychology Generalist equipped Jenneh to bring FirstIdea a rich background in private businesses and the public education sector. Her expertise in the technical and interpersonal makes her a vital part of the FirstIdea team. She has also successfully guided and managed change in organizations to promote sustainability and effectiveness. Jenneh holds a BS in Psychology and an MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology; her graduate research examined workplace behavior and motivation theory.
Jenneh has volunteered her time with Big Brother, Big Sister - Miami-Dade and Boys and Girls Club of America. When the opportunity calls, Jenneh will fly, sail or drive to both quaint and exotic destinations; traveling allows her to glean from diverse cultures and customs.
FirstIdea, Inc is a minority and women-owned company. We recognize our similarities and we celebrate our differences. Comprising a diverse and inclusive team of professionals, we’re committed to delivering optimal products, hiring tools, and services to our clients and partners — ranging from municipal to federal agencies and organizations.
We leverage our team’s diverse backgrounds and perspectives to help our clients achieve their hiring and retention goals. As more organizations come to appreciate the importance of workforce diversity and inclusion, we’re uniquely positioned to help your agency or organization with our proven HR screening, recruitment and retention strategies and methodologies – all designed by our leading-edge experts in organizational psychology, bias disruption, and culture change management.
Offering breakthrough tools and processes that are customized to your unique culture, values, and brand, we ensure that you are attracting the best candidates so you can nurture a thriving workforce.