Rebel Stories

Ilka Sophia Rodriguez-Diaz

HR change agent (not an oxymoron!) with more than 20 years of experience in the field in the Intelligence Community.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

I challenged the organization I served to think differently about its new employee orientation – from an administrative nuisance to a powerful socialization process – and about HR professionals as consultants and advisers rather than transactional rule preservers.  I challenged myself and my team to completely discredit the classic Fast company article “Why We Hate HR.”

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I took a temporary assignment as a recruiter, I realized that there was much more to HR than just learning the internally developed “rule book.”  I proposed to my organization that it sponsor me for graduate work after business hours at a time when most of the HR workforce was comprised of former clerical or administrative staff. I don’t know if I made too many friends among my peer group at the time (I still don’t think so!) The only thing I knew is that a profession dedicated to, ideally, identifying, hiring, and maximizing the workforce required much deliberate thought and action founded in a robust academic program.

What advice do you wish someone had given you earlier in your career?

Don’t hesitate letting influential people know what you can do and what you’re willing to learn.  Hard work is never enough!

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Dogged optimism!

What’s your favorite question?

So why ARE we doing it this way?

What one clue tells you you’re effecting positive change?

I hear people use my own “lines” on me.

What do you think it’s most important for people to understand about rebels?

They’re ultimately motivated by a desire for the greater good and shouldn’t be treated as seditious egotists.

What’s your one word piece of advice for rebels?

We’re sometimes thinking ahead of many; patiently “feed” new ideas and you’ll see them come to fruition.

What’s your one word piece of advice for non-rebels?

Don’t try to shut us down!  If handled with respect, we’ll make you look good, especially if you’re in our chain of command.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

On Capitol Hill!

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

What’s the one thing you should never say to a rebel?

We can’t do that!

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