Common Agenda provides search and recruitment services to progressive companies seeking to recruit exceptional senior level professional and executive talent in Engineering, R&D, Operations, Marketing, Business Development, and Sales. Common Agenda’s typical clientele are executives at companies whose products and services enable, manage, protect, analyze, or test Telecom Network Infrastructures and Network Services, 3G/4G and Industrial Wireless, OSS/BSS, Content Delivery Networks, TelePresence, Enterprise Managed Services, Enterprise Applications, Unified Communications, Optical Systems and Components, Cloud Architectures, and Intellectual Property.
Common Agenda maintains a global network of relationships with senior level executives and professionals in a wide variety of telecom verticals, all built upon by a shared ‘common agenda’. By treating each stakeholder in the search process as a partner, Common Agenda has established an impressive client list comprised of leading public, private, and venture-backed companies. Our firm employs search industry “best practices” and proven repeatable techniques, such as in-depth research, knowledge management, and ethical candidate identification and recruitment, as the means to deliver value to our clients. As a result, Common Agenda has completed more than 40 searches each year since its inception in 1996.history
1996: The Formative Years
Common Agenda began operations in November of 1996 in classic start up mode; a vision, a couple PCs, and two phones in Matthew’s home office. The vision was to provide intelligent, “executive search process based” recruiting services for specialized mid-to-senior level management and individual contributors in the communications industry. Our emergence into this field couldn’t have been at a more opportune time, as the wireline/wireless and public/enterprise networks were rapidly converging.
With the aid of his sister Sarah, Matthew focused on developing the business to reflect his vision. He handled all facets of search and recruitment, while Sarah took care of the marketing and administrative aspects.
Success came almost instantly to Common Agenda. We promptly obtained custom search agreements with prominent telecom companies, such as Lucent Technologies, Motorola, and Ciena; and even with a number of promising start-up companies in the Optical, Data Networking/IP, and Wireless spaces. The connections established through these initial contracts marked the foundation of long-term business affiliations and relationships. What began as one-assignment retainers, grew into multi-year, multi-position agreements. This put Common Agenda on the map and fueled its growth.
1998: A Period of Growth
In 1998, our company accumulated the resources to move into real offices and add a few key members to the team. Among them were Kathy Vail and, Matthew’s long time colleague, Daren Eilert. Both brought essential skills and experience to the company, making them vital in its growth and development. They readily became well known by our clients and candidates alike, and through their endeavors, became equally well loved.
With several successful placements under our belt and a strong business model, Matthew began to consider the future of the company. Taking his knowledge of the industry, and his experience in market research and recruiting, he started to devise a plan to drive Common Agenda’s next strategic move.
1999: Branching Out
With an established reputation and a significant clientele base of prominent telecom companies, including Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, and Lucent Technologies, the decision was made to expand Common Agenda’s reach. Our primary focus became venture-backed start-ups, where Matthew led the successful partnership and exchange of talent for stock options. These investments proved to be well founded, as many of these young companies were led by exceptional people that Matthew had worked with in years prior. A number of interesting stories came from that period; just ask!
2001: Time for Diversification…
With a new decade came a major shake-up in the telecom industry. We watched from the sidelines as the technology sector crashed. We knew big changes were in store for the segments of the technology and communications markets we had served since our inception.
By April of 2001, in anticipation of further erosion in the technology sector, we recognized the need to diversify our operation. Our plan was to bring Common Agenda’s vision to a number of world markets in order to leverage our strength in the technology space and apply our business model to a variety of industries.
2001 – 2004:
We successfully expanded our reach when many of our clients left the telecom industry and brought us with them to alternative, high growth markets, after the burst of the dotcom bubble. Operating in a variety of fields, including reinsurance, risk management, and defense and security, we leveraged our technical background and applied proven search techniques to these industries.
2002 marked Darlene Corrubia’s return to Common Agenda, providing further stability to our transitory phase. After successfully staffing Telium of over 500 people in the telecom networking space, Common Agenda’s expansion to new markets provided her an adventageous career move, in the midst of the tech crash.
2005 – 2007:
Out of adversity came opportunity in 2005, as a number of network infrastructures had begun the inevitable shift to converged IP and TDM networks, and wireless technologies. Common Agenda moved with this shift, and we found ourselves working in the same markets that formed the foundation of our business a decade earlier. Our transition back to familiar territory enabled Matthew and Darlene to specialize in more specific telecom fields; such as service providers, managed services, and enterprise applications, and optical systems, respectively. With the progression of technology and the emergence of new telecom fields, we expanded upon our knowledge and resources to accommodate our growing clientele base.
2008 – 2009:
2008 marked the beginning of, arguably, the most severe economic downturn the country has seen since The Great Depression. During this time, as with most industries, telecom companies had to reduce their operating expenses, forcing Common Agenda into its toughest period since the tech crash. Subjected to the recession, Common Agenda had to make hard decisions to adapt to working in an uncertain environment.
Through its resources, Common Agenda was able to adjust to the changing demands of clients and sustain a level of productivity, despite the unstable economy. By relying on the repeatable processes that made us successful in 2002 and 2003, we were able to maintain a steady stream of business. However, there were still challenges to face.
2010: Looking Forward
The impact of the economic decline on our company compelled us to take inventory of our weaknesses and improve upon them, in order to maintain our competitive advantage. We continue to stand firm in our business model, exemplify successful and reputable work ethic, and strengthen the working relationships with our clients. As the economy continues to improve, we have correspondingly enjoyed the revival of our resources. We are fortunate to have welcomed additional members to our team, and even more so to continually take on new clients and contracts. The resurgence of the economy has brought newfound excitement and motivation to the telecom sector, and though 2008 and 2009 were veritable “dark ages,” a new dawn has shown on the industry in 2010. We expect to see strong growth and development at all levels of production and service offerings in the Technology field in the years to come.
About Our Name
Years before Matthew Reaves founded the firm, a noteworthy placement with a telecom industry leader landed him an invitation by a friend, Rick Nickells, to participate in a unique executive search assignment with Northern Telecom (now Nortel Networks). The challenge was to recruit 7 VP’s to be Nortel’s ambassadors in the newly formed RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies) and to help inaugurate a Canadian/American corporate culture merge. This was a formidable and difficult recruiting task.
The new client, a Group VP, proposed on the white board an organization that charged the new recruits with “Joint Leadership, Joint Responsibility sharing a Common Agenda!” Immediately, Matthew knew that it would be a great name for an executive search firm and began to plan...
Over the next few years, while Matthew continued his successful search and recruiting career, Common Agenda’s vision was defined and business plan was written. The dream of running his own firm kept calling until one day in 1996 the death of his friend Rick inspired him to leave his employer of 13 years and start up Common Agenda.
In Memoriam - Robert F. “Rick” Nickells, Jr. - July 31, 1943 – May 26, 1996 -- In the five or so years before his untimely death from cancer, Rick, who was Nortel’s Director of Fiber Technology Planning and one of Matthew's valued client's also became a father figure, mentor, and a best friend. As a longtime advocate of Optical Networking and one of the forefathers of SONET and numerous OA&M standards, Rick’s vision and nudging inspired Matthew to form Common Agenda. Rick will forever be remembered for his visionary contributions in the telecommunications field, and for his kindness and giving nature in the human field. You are seriously missed Rick!our_mission
Common Agenda was formed with the mission to serve two parties that share a common agenda.
Our primary focus is the identification and recruitment of superior professionals in the industries we serve.
For our Client Companies, our agenda is to serve by providing effective intelligence based search and recruitment services in an ethical, timely, and creative fashion, thereby helping them to achieve or maintain their competitive advantage…
For our Candidates, our agenda is to serve by helping them to advance and enhance their careers in a strictly confidential and honest manner...
We seek to embrace our clients and candidates as partners and actively participate in each other's success. We succeed through combining our industry knowledge with vast resources and varying perspectives - in applying those to fulfill the Common Agenda of all parties.