About Us

FirstString is the leading career technology company for nurturing the next generation of leaders in the workforce to find fulfillment and success. Our story begins with an a US Army veteran with a professional recruiting background and a former University of Georgia athlete who are relentlessly determined to modernize the recruiting process. 



We reimagined the job recruitment and career development process for the digital age. We are on a mission to be the career technology company known for creating great employment connections and enhancing the skills of America’s business leaders.



Our vision is to provide tools that empower the rich diversity of our nation through education and technology to create an authentic and genuine human connection between the individual and the business world.

MEET The firststring TEAM

Our best-in-class team consists of business leaders, former athletes, and seasoned HR professionals who are driving innovation across our business.

Barry Jones Founder & CEO

The difference between making a living and making a difference is what drives Barry. He started his career as a military officer and then transitioned into the pharmaceutical industry to work for Johnson & Johnson.

Read More From there his success afforded him the opportunity to join Actelion, a start-up, rare disease Biotechnology company. After a successful tenure at Actelion he joined another Biotech start-up where he was responsible for the initial startup and management of the sales force. After 25 successful years in the health sciences industry, winning President’s Club or equivalent awards seven times, multiple CEO executive performance citations as well as being the most awarded Sales Director in corporate history, he transitioned to the Executive Recruiting sector. It was here that he found inspiration to build a better recruiting model. A technologically advanced model, designed to be extremely efficient, fair and cost appropriate while putting humanity back into the process dominated by AI. A platform that would make the static resume obsolete and change forever the recruiting industry for the new college graduate. FirstString was born.
TYLER JONES Co-Founder & VP of Business Development

Tyler is a former Division 1 student athlete who competed for the University of Georgia on both the track team and served as a team captain for the cross-country team. As an athlete he found success through hard work, consistency, and leadership.

Read More During his time at UGA, Tyler was a 3x SEC academic honor-roll recipient, multiple time SEC qualifier and scorer, as well as presented runner of the week by the SouthEastern Conference committee. Post-graduation, and with a degree in Consumer Economics, Tyler was eager to pursue a path down business with the inspiration to make consumers’ lives easier. Chasing his passion for professional sales, Tyler invested 9 months in the financial services industry at Capstone Financial LLC. When COVID-19 became a factor, Tyler experienced 1st hand what it was like to feel exposed and helpless in a competitive job market with little experience to compete for the best opportunities. Together Barry and Tyler realized that there are so many qualified and overlooked candidates that have extraordinary talents and passions for their work that were in the same position. They worked to develop a system that would enable new college graduates to win job interviews far outside of their experience level. Using this system, Tyler himself earned a job in the surgical device industry and is now one of the highest performers of his tenure in his company.
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MARK BATTAGLIA Vice President, Operations & Technology

Mark is a technologist with 15 years experience working with data, systems and operations. He is passionate about leveraging emerging technology, data and AI to improve every day life and business operations.

Francisco Maciel Chief Financial Officer

Francisco has over 40 years in finance, with many spent as a CFO. He has an MBA from the University of California – Berkely, along with a masters in Economics from the Universidad Ahanhuac where he has also taught Finance for over 30 years.

Read More Former McKinsey consultant, CFO of Mexico’s largest textile company and CEO of Mexico’s most relevant education financial institution.
Dr. Jeremy Sutton VP of Research and Development

Jeremy is a psychologist, writer, educator, and behavioral change consultant. He has a Ph.D. in performance and sports psychology, having spent six years researching endurance athletes’ mental toughness, motivation, personalities, and physiology.

Read More More recently, he has been working with therapists and coaches, sharing knowledge and learnings in the field of positive psychology to improve client, student, and employee wellbeing and performance.

Jeremy worked in IT and business in multiple specialist and management roles across risk, compliance, governance, and project management for several large financial organizations.

Jeremy is also an ultra-marathoner, regularly running long-distance events in Ireland, the UK, and beyond.
Saima Latif, PhD Scientific Advisory Board consultant

Dr. Latif’s career has spanned 20+ years. She is a licensed psychologist, coach, therapist, researcher and writer. Love for learning and a thirst to know more has remained throughout her life. Most of all she enjoys enabling others to benefit from her wealth of psychological knowledge and expertise.

Read More Dr. Latif’s doctoral research focused on stress, coping and social support amongst adolescents and young adults. This allowed her to understand the obstacles and barriers faced by young people, and alternatively their motivation, enthusiasm and resilience. This places her at a great advantage to understand the lived experiences of young college athletes that FirstString wishes to help and support.

Dr. Latif has worked in academic research involving projects with young people in education and the labor market, psycho-social aspects of genetics, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, and long-term health conditions in adults. She progressed into establishing her own independent practice for the past 13 years. This has encompassed expert witness work, therapy, coaching, consultancy projects and writing articles and books. Dr. Latif now hopes to amalgamate her knowledge and experiences and develop ever-evolving opportunities for young college athletes at FirstString. This will be through original research, assessments of young people and employers, academic learning and mentoring opportunities and many, many more support avenues for those who decide to take up the fantastic recruitment opportunity through FirstString.
Anthony “Bo” Casella Vice President, Sales

A proven sales leader with 36+ years in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry. Competitive, Innovative, Inspiring, and Successful have been used to describe his leadership style.

Read More Bo held positions in sales, training, sales management, marketing, and disease management at Bristol-Myers Squibb acquiring a broad base of knowledge and experience over 20 years. He transitioned to the biotech industry with Actelion Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company, building and leading his sales team to extraordinary success and leadership positions throughout the organization. He is co-owner of a real estate investment firm doing business in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Bo completed his undergraduate work at the University of Florida. Competed in intercollegiate athletics: Baseball
Geoffrey Rowan Director of Business Development / Florida

Geoffrey Rowan is a dedicated businessman with a breadth of business development expertise and a focus in partnerships and leadership development. His previous roles in health sciences and SaaS, along with his dedication to community development have garnered accolades such as being named a Top 20 under 40 professional in Miami and an emerging leader in South Florida. 

Read More Geoffrey has built an extensive network and strong connections in the sports industry both on and off the field, stemming from his time as a former player within the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Geoffrey holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University as well as an Masters in Business Administration from the University of Miami. His passion for community, athletics, and leadership development is derived from his family as Geoffrey takes initiative to help build better communities for all to thrive.
Michael Bernard Allen Chief Diversity Officer

Michael Bernard Allen is an entrepreneur, business professional, author, human rights consultant, and founder of Surrender Your Hate, LLC and Let Life Live, Inc. SYH is a God-inspired spiritual and social movement with a primary mission of helping people learn to let go of hate, anger and differences that oft times leads to violence.

Read More To learn more about how you can contribute to this nonprofit, please visit our website (www.letlifeliveinc.org). SYH, a global love initiative, and LLL, a parent and youth focused violence prevention program, believes that love conquers all forms of hate and that we can live together without killing each other! Both Organizations function to educate parents and at-risk youth on how to resolve conflict, how to de-escalate violent situations and how to build better human relationships. We also offer conversation starter messages on our website (www.surrenderyourhate.com) to help promote love and life – Surrender Your Hate and Let Life Live paraphernalia! Michael resigned from the pharmaceutical industry, in 2021 after 30 plus years of service as a Salesperson, Sales Trainer, Manager, Marketer, Sales Director, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Champion and a Senior Sales Operations Leader. He is a 1985 graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (a FAMU Rattler) in Tallahassee Florida, with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Public Relations.
Janet VonKohn Director of External Recruiting

As Founder and CEO / President of VonKohn Search Group, and Director of External Recruiting for FirstString, Janet VonKohn along with her team, partner with National Companies to build world-class Commercial, Clinical, and Executive Teams.

Read More Janet is nationally recognized and awarded as a driving, results-oriented, self-starting team of professional recruiters whose sense of urgency is tempered and disciplined by their concern for the accuracy and quality of work. VSG has helped companies create winning teams for over 30 years. Through a personal and relentless process, they partner with their clients’ leadership team to hire and retain elite talent. Janet’s experience includes overseeing 100s of clients each year. She personally trains leadership on how to recruit, hire, and retain the best talent. She is a nationally recognized speaker on specific hiring / interviewing strategies along with proven employee retention methods. Janet also provides consulting services to C-level executives that find themselves in a career transition or need confidential guidance in their current role.

Partner With Us

Whether you are an employer seeking to hire your next great employee or just looking for help to enhance your employee’s performance, FirstString is here to help.

Our staff of well-seasoned and successful personnel combined with our unique technology make working with us both easy and effective.