Peter Vander Auwera

I am excited about technology and its impact on society, corporate values, and leading by being.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

The realization of Alliance Lite, a web solution for SWIFT, where we challenged literately everything: from product experience, on boarding, pricing, ordering, marketing, launching, etc

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When studying architecture, and presenting a radical new approach for housing for elder people living in a community.

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

Discover your true self, and invest in personal development.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Relentlessly challenging the status quo.

What’s your favorite question?

“Can you tell me more about this ?” and “What does this enable?”

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

When you get invited without asking.

What do you think is most important for people to understand about rebels?

They act from deep good intention, and they are dead serious about their ideas. Use their energy like a judo player.

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

Never give up. Never ask permission. Follow your flow. Keep on going beyond the permanent fear of jumping, of sticking out your neck.

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

Spend a day with a rebel, and feel the adrenaline.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Change is now an constant. Changes are faster. Changes are exponential. We need rebels to feel the pulse of change, seeding challenging the status quo, create a culture of urgency and action.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Salvador Dali, Ghandi, Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga

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

“Why should we do this?”

Jimmy Van de Putte

Innovative divergent thinker, adept of management re-engineering, self-made and self-educated renegade aerospacial engineer.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Writing an essay on “management” within the Belgian Defense and making a lot of people very nervous.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I saw obvious weaknesses in procedures and nobody would listen until I started kicking around and got other high-ranked rebels to listen.

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

Start your own company in consulting and teaching.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

NEVER take an answer for truth…and excellence by default.

What’s your favorite question?

Tell me more.

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

The (slow) growing group of followers when change is expected.

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

They want to help improve the organization despite of the perception that they want to accuse somebody.

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

Persist.

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

Try.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Wherever an organization thinks they don’t need one … so about everywhere.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Jacque Fresco, Richard Florida, Gary Hamel

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

… Because I say so …

Cindy Tripp

Thought leader in how to integrate the empathy and imagination of design with the practicalities of business and has led many transformations from within as a positive, optimistic, passionate rebel.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Creating an open source, voluntary network of design thinkers who have led positive change all over P&G.  Having an open source, “all are welcomed” approach in a globally diffused, hierarchical company was a major shift.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

In my 20’s when I first began my career in Corporate America and I saw things differently than others.

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

Give people what they want AND what they need.  If you only give them what they want, you may be giving them too little or the wrong stuff. If you only give them what they need, they will reject it because you did not listen to what they wanted.  To advance change in a large organization you must give people what they ask for to earn the right to suggest a better way (what they really need).  So,  you have to live in the culture while you also work to change it.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Optimism and the power of possibility to energize others to the cause.

What’s your favorite question?

What keeps you up at night (sleep loss issue) and how can I help?

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

People tell me I have energized them and encouraged them to expect and do more.

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

Rebels are not mavericks that buck the system.  Rebels, who make positive difference, work with the system to change it.

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

Connect

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

Consider

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

I think we need rebels all over….especially in re-imagining education and in re-imagining how our government functions (does it function?)  I feel like corporations have the marketplace as incentive to change/evolve but I am not sure our educational system or government have that same natural force/pressure.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Martin Luther King

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

You care too much.  Caring is what is it all about.

Sam Spencer

I want to make a positive difference in the public sector – if only they would let me.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Sneaking a load of stuff in to an otherwise pointless ‘culture change programme’ that actually made it worthwhile.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

As a manger in the public sector, when I made various efforts to improve things for our customers, only to be blocked at every step by my bosses.

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

Be gentle.  Don’t start criticizing – it’s the quickest way for your efforts to fail as people will just defend the status quo and think you’re just an annoyance that needs to be ‘managed’.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

The willingness to experiment and embracing failure – as that means learning.

What’s your favorite question?

How will that improve things for our customers?

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

More people in the organisation are getting curious.

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

They’re not trouble makers – they are the people who really want to do some good in the world.

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

Try

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

Listen

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

The public sector.  There are so many bureaucratic rules and procedures that innovation is crushed because people fear standing out from the crowd.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Cool Hand Luke

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

But the policy says…

Phil Schlemme

Life-long dedication to self directed learning, political activist and satirist, paradigm change maker, connector and facilitator, creative being, design specialist (masters student), social entrepreneur, business strategists, DJ, vandal and superb cook.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

As part of a much larger creative project for a Melbourne hair products manufacturerI identified that the company was using 100% virgin plastics for all their packaging —  a terrible thing to be introducing so much petroleum-based plastic to the world. On a Monday we held discussions about moving to recycled plastic (which uses 70% less energy in the manufacture). There was great resistance from within along the lines of “too hard” and “can’t do it now, costs etc.”  I pressed my point that it was a little incongruous to have newly defined “vision, mission and values” only to reject movement towards a more sustainable future at the very first hurdle. A long conversation with the plastic bottle and tub manufacturer ensued and issues of supply and quality were raised.

But by Friday of that very same week we had working samples and a provisional agreement for supply of 100% recycled plastic pellets in the three plastics we needed and the change was made at no extra costs. The tool maker was also consulted to thin the walls of the packaging without affecting structural performance, thus saving more plastic. ONE WEEK to dramatically change the direction and performance of the company.

Subsequently, we won Gold at the Australian Packaging Awards in the Export Category for our commitment to the environment and were recognised by Sustainability Victoria. Further to that the business introduced 100% Green Power at their HQ and warehouse and worked with suppliers to introduce 20% Green Power through the supply chain. New organic shampoos and conditioners were introduced and a new hero product, Planet Rock, a styling putty with some funds from sale diverted to local paradigm changing social enterprise “Y-Generation against poverty” helping to fund projects with volunteers, building facilities in communities of disadvantage. A close-the-loop philosophy has been adopted with a program initiated in conjunction with a major retailer in 120 stores nationally for consumers to return any plastic packaging in return for discounts raising awareness of recycling rates in neglected bathrooms and a move towards ISO14001 accreditation. Export sales are expanding and new territories explored.

Change is often easier than you think. There’s often someone doing what you want to do already. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

I was always encouraged by my parents to think for myself, applying my thoughts and opinions to a given situation. In primary school I was often told off for talking too much but this came with an admission from the teachers that what I had to say was interesting and of benefit to the class. Age seven we were asked “what we wish for” and I offered “peace between Iraq and Iran” with a drawing including their two flags. Most kids drew dolls and footballs. Perhaps it was with the help of my parents defending my right to not wear a school uniform in secondary school that clinched it, knowing it was OK to stand up to authority and think for yourself. I also learned about conciliation and pragmatism from my parents at this time as we agreed that I should to try and wear the school uniform jumper at least sometimes so as not to cause a stir.

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

There are no rules. Nobody knows what they are doing. A career is a myth. Be flexible and honest, work hard and always keep learning. We reinvent ourselves every day and people are constantly making things up as they go along.   Work environments can have a good or bad culture; make sure you leave if the culture is negative, if people aren’t nice, if you really don’t enjoy the work. Creative problem solving is one of the great things about work regardless of the field or industry. Whatever endeavour you find yourself involved withtry to find some passionate, interesting people who are friendly and empathetic. Remember there is no right and wrong, only good and bad environments in which to learn and thrive.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Asking questions; being a little outspoken. If I don’t understand something or I can smell a lie or half truth, I’ll call it and the person into question. I don’t care if you don’t know, just say so…bullshit gets us nowhere.

What’s your favorite question?

What’s your raison d’être? What floats your boat, spins your wheels?  What is the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing? When you ask people for their motivation you learn more and understand them and their drive/passion/purpose better.

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

I’m part of a vibrant community of change makers based at Hub Melbourne which is an absolutely amazing place to go to work and be a part of all these different stories, motivations and new collaborations.

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

They’re often the good guys. I’ve heard artists described as the canaries in the coal mine for a society. If society is ill, profound art flourishes. Witness Picasso’s Guernica, voted the greatest artwork of the 20th century. Maintaining the status quo, particularly when life is a constant state of flux, seems not only ridiculous but it’s the surest way to lead to irrelevance, atrophy and death. If you want to stand still, time and life will pass you by.  Rebels are the outliers we need to bring about paradigm change. At some point the ideas on the fringe will become the mainstream (well not all of them I hope) and we’ll find ourselves in a better place. Society is in a constant sate of transformation and renewal, I find these incredibly exciting times, but there are great challenges clearly before us. The rebels will help drag, cajole, chastise and through their delinquency drive us to an ever fairer, more equitable, thriving society of abundance rather than decay, destruction, psychosis, depression, disparity and dysfunction.

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

Avanti!

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

Education

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

In parliament. I’d love more politicians to say what they think and be motivated by altruistic notions of a better society rather than towing the party line, speaking in soundbites, fleecing the system and looking after their fat pensions.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Rosa Parks

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

Conform!

Brian Dys Sahagun

Product Design Lead at Voyager Innovations and Founder of DysineLab

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

The user interface team at Chikka has managed to incorporate a vital step in the design process. Before, sketches and wire frames were sidestepped in the process of developing web products. Now we have shared the knowledge with product developers that those are important in every project.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When the need to move forward and make improvements arose, our team realized that no one will start the move towards change but us.

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

Ask why. Do your thing. Listen.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Inquisitiveness.

What’s your favorite question?

What’s the policy for that?

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

People involved oppose at first then end up having easier lives.

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

Rebels are there to make you prove your point and if you cannot, you would prove a new and, most probably, better point.

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

Peace.

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

Engage.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

In the church and state.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Steve Jobs

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

“Shut up.”

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!

Steve Radick

Former government consultant now adapting to life as an advertising agency exec in the Windy City.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

My most notable rebel accomplishment would have to be starting my blog at www.steveradick.com. When I first started the blog back in 2008, my company had a policy that no employee could interact with anyone externally without first obtaining permission from corporate – this included speaking with the media, but it also covered blogs and social networking sites. People were even afraid to create LinkedIn profiles for fear they would run afoul of the rules. Rather than challenging this outdated policy, most people simply complained in their small circles but continued to abide by it. Recognizing that this wasn’t a sustainable practice and that the policy would have to be what changed, not the people, I built a launch plan for the blog and told our corporate folks that I’m launching this blog next week and that they can either be a partner or an adversary. They could either work closely and transparently with me to ensure that I’m adding value and minimizing the risks to the firm, or they can put their heads in the sand.

 

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

A looonng time ago! Even when I was I was a little kid, I rebelled against the status quo. If my parents asked me to do something and their only reason was “because I said so!” it was a good bet that I’d totally ignore them because of that. I remember two times in particular – once, I was around 11 years old or so and one of my jobs was to cut the grass every week. My parents would give $10 after it was cut. Well, I found out that my buddy down the street would cut grass for $5. So, I told him that if he came over to my house on Saturday morning and cut my grass, I’d pay him $5. For a few months that summer, my parents would pay me $10, I’d give $5 to my buddy, and pocket the rest. I never saw any issue with this – the grass got cut and that’s what they wanted, wasn’t it?

The other telling experience happened at school when a teacher gave me a poor grade for my answer to an essay question. She had told me that my answer didn’t match with what she had taught in class. I made it my personal mission that night to go home and research the question using my own books and came in the next day with sources that backed up my answer. Just because I didn’t come up with the answer she wanted didn’t automatically make mine wrong.

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

The biggest piece of advice I wish someone had shared with me is to be yourself and be yourself all the time. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you have to talk a certain way or dress a certain way to advance your career. Don’t try to be someone you’re not just because you don’t see anyone like you in the levels above you. Understand the unique skills, experience, and characteristics that YOU bring to the table that other people don’t have. Don’t assume that just because you’re a junior level employee that you’re at the bottom of the ladder and you have to go up. Look at it like you’re filling a different role, an important role in the organization. You bring strengths to the table that “senior leaders” don’t – you’re not jaded or cynical, you’re still full of ambition, you’re more likely to take risks, you’re better connected to the rest of the staff, etc. Understand and properly value your strengths.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

My propensity to ask, “why not?” “Because it’s a policy” or “Because the boss said so” or “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” aren’t good enough reasons for me.

What’s your favorite question?

Why not? Why can’t we? Why aren’t we?

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

I think it’s the slow and steady move toward more social interactions at work. I can see it in the day-to-day interactions I see on our Yammer network, over email, and even on our Intranet. People are less formal in their interactions, they’re sharing more honest feedback instead of worrying about making a “career-limiting move,” and they’re connecting with each other based on the value of what they’re saying, not on their location on an org chart.

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

People have to understand that you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to rebels. Rebels offer a lot of benefits to an organization – they’re change agents, they’re leaders, they’re trend-setters, they’re innovative. But, by definition, they’re going to ruffle some feathers, disrupt some long-held beliefs and processes, and most of all, make you uncomfortable. You can’t have one without the other.

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

You’ll have to make a choice. If you’re a good rebel, you’ll likely advance quickly up the ladder. At some point, you’re going to have a sit-down with one of your bosses and you’ll get the talk. They’ll tell you that you’re going to have to start acting like a leader, dressing like a leader, or talking like a leader. You’ll get told that to move up further, you’ll need to adjust your operating style. You’ll be told that you’ll have to understand the internal politics. And you’ll have to make a choice. Do you want to change who you are in an effort to get that next promotion? Or, are you going to stay true to yourself? (for the record, I think staying true to yourself is almost always the best answer – if you do that, you’ll still get promoted sooner or later).

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

Understand the balance that has to exist between us rebels and you non-rebels. Don’t write us off as loose cannons. We understand that we can’t be rebels in EVERY situation, and that we need to be pulled back sometimes. At the same time, understand that we’re going to pull you further along than you’re comfortable with – we need each other to be effective.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

I think our government is in dire need of rebels. There are way too many things that are done just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. There are too many people willing to accept that the government is filled with red tape and bureaucracy and “that’s just the way it is.” Why??? It doesn’t have to be that way!!!

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

I’ve always been a huge Bob Knight fan. Through all of the controversy he’s endured over the years, he’s never backed down from his beliefs. He was always about doing what was best for his student-athletes. Yeah, he was hard on them and many times over the years, he probably did things they didn’t understand at the time, but it’s amazing to look back now and see what those same students say about him now. They might not have always liked playing for him, but they all realized that he had their best interests at heart and they’re better men now because of him.

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

“Because I said so!”

Paul Pirozzola

Chemist turned B2B Marketer; innovator with over 15+ years working for, leading or supporting big/small; private/public; start-up/well-established; for profit/not-for-profit companies.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

My entire career has been built on moving companies away from outdated business models and cultures to newer, bolder and more sustainable ones.  My greatest accomplishments have been infusing a healthy disruptive thinking in all of the companies that I have worked for; through new product/service development, adapting different business models/activities or simply creating a successful environment for growth.

It has been my experience working for many B2B companies that most of these companies struggle with defining, establishing and valuing marketing as a core competency for their businesses.  Unleashing the strategic value of marketing is often a rebellious effort at B2B companies (especially in the modern era).

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

5th grade.  We couldn’t afford nice uniforms, so I made our small, country school basketball team wear green headbands against the rival private Catholic School– to showcase our spirit (and not-so-directly) confuse the opposition and get them to focus on something else but playing, defending, and scoring.  As they spent time laughing at our headbands, we racked up an early lead.  Ultimately, we beat them — and we had no business beating them.  Our coach said,  “I don’t get it, but keep coming up with those ideas.”  I knew I was different.

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

Celebrate the small wins.  Like in sports,  not every team wins the championship.  But many teams have great years, great wins, and great journeys.  Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Healthy instigation.  Being able to instigate in a healthy, constructive fashion.

What’s your favorite question?

How do I know change my [insert: culture, department, strategy, biz model, engagement, job purpose, corporate impact] ?

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

You are asked to be involved (not leading) more game-changing initiatives.  More money is being allocated for changing initiatives.  You are spending less time justifying and more time implementing.

If not– you one step closer to martyrdom– and we all know how that turns out!

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

They are purposeful, strategic and company/customer first.  So many times, I have encountered non-rebels at work that misconstrue rebel behavior as one of the following: undisciplined, not for the company, or simply not purposeful or aligned with business goals.  In fact, rebels are quite the opposite in most cases.

Rebels see the same end game as non-rebels, but choose a more disruptive or less defined way of reaching it.  I challenge anyone to spend an hour in the gym with me or an hour in a product development session with me or an hour with me and a customer — then tell me I am not purposeful, strategic and company first!

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

Genuine.

Be genuine.  Laugh, cry, swear, fight, sleep, mourn….do all thee things that make others realize you are human– and not a spreadsheet or a plan or God-forbid, a “manager”….

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

Rebels will never forget who supports them and encourages them — and will be your strongest allies and most genuine companions in your career.  They won’t tell you what you want to hearso be confident in yourself and LISTEN; don’t placate.  We can tell.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

No doubt about it– in high-end manufacturing.  In a world that still struggles to make high-end manufactured parts with the quality, ingenuity and speed that is needed to be sustainable.  Those U.S. companies that resisted the temptation to give away (read:outsource) their decades of high-end manufacturing/engineering competencies are at a cross roads and need rebels to help parlay what they still have into competitive advantages in the marketplace.  Creating new conversations with customers, developing new business/innovation models, and inventing the new value-props for the future…those arenas are where rebels shine!

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

So many to choose from, but I always thought Elvis was the most remarkable and most disruptive rebel of our time, and he did it in a genuine fashion because he had talent, demeanor, and grit.  In a time when it was hard to connect and hard to “go viral” his innovative spirit in music, movies, and styleinspired millions, and still does from generation-to-generation.

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

Yeah, but.

Matt Perez

Bureaucrat, teacher, mentor, leader.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Keeping debate going when others wanted to shut it down.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I was a platoon leader in the Army in Germany. During operation Desert Shield, elements of my company were tagged to deploy to the Persian Gulf to take part in Desert Storm. Senior officers asked that a female member of one of my teams be excused from deploying to the war theater because she would be the only woman in the deployment. From their perspective, sending a lone woman to a war zone would be disruptive and counterproductive. I argued that according to Army doctrine, we train as we fight. The woman in question was a non-commissioned officer and had trained to do this job, with this unit, in combat. To leave her behind because of her gender was a cop out in my eyes. I pushed for her to go, against the judgment of my superiors, and despite my worry that any harm that came to her would be on my conscience.

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

Do what’s right, but it’s going to hurt.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

I like rebels who act out of devotion to duty. To rebel for rebellion’s sake is vanity. The best judge of rebel intent is the reticence of the rebel. Blowhards and egomaniacs need not apply.

What’s your favorite question?

What makes you think that?

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

Grudging acceptance, or change without acknowledgment.

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

Rebels are the canaries in the coal mine. Rebels are a leading indicator of trouble. Ignore them at your peril.

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

Courage.

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

Listen.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Wherever key decisions are being made.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Too many to mention. To cite one would be to ignore too many. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, anyone who opposed the Nazi Party. See what I mean?

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

You can’t fight city hall. A senior executive said that to me once. I thought, “But you ARE city hall!”

 

Eric Pennington

A man of change working to change the world.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

I grew up and worked in safe and predictable environments, where getting along and doing what was safe was extolled. I discovered my authentic (the one given to me at birth) mission at 40 and I am pursuing it now, despite the great odds against me. My rebel wiring has been a significant help in keeping me going.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I couldn’t shut-up in the face of a wrong/problem that needed to be addressed.

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

You’re a rebel and never forget it! Let that be your lens and you’ll be able to dance with life.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Healthy, passionate discontent.

What’s your favorite question?

Why not, why can’t we?

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

When I can look people in the eyes and see hope.

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

We’re not trying to wreck the ship and we care enough to not let the ship run aground.

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

Care

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

Openness

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Large organizations that have the right systems and care.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Thomas Edision

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

We have to accept things as they are.

Donna Morton

Former Greenpeace activist turned CEO of disruptive clean energy company, also Ashoka, Unreasonable and Ogunte fellow. We out collaborate the competition.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Built the public, NGO and business support for the BC Carbon tax through dialogue collaboration and media strategies.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

Starting rebelling at 15. Am a lifer, now 46.

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

Treasure your rebel, honour her, take care of her, refine your skills, but never let go of that force inside you that drives change in the world.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Passion, I am passion applied.

What’s your favorite question?

Why?

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

People believe that we can make change around me.

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

We have changed the world, we include Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Gandhi.

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

Empathy

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

Reach

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Everywhere: Business, NGOs, arts, science and government come to mind.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Anna Mae Aquash, American Indian Movement leader, fought against uranium mining and was killed.

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

Impossible.

Deb Mills-Scofield

A status quo challenger, asks why and why not, focuses on And/Both instead of Either/Or, and hopefully is making a difference.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

A few key episodes that were transformative:

• Senior year in high school: I didn’t have class on Wednesday and Friday until 2:30 for Physics II so I’d sleep in or, in the fall and spring, go down to the beach and sit in the sun. The teachers wanted me at school but couldn’t give me a good reason to be there. They said it would affect my grades (with an A+ average how much higher could it go?), but it was because the school lost the per diem if a kid wasn’t in by noon.  It wasn’t a ‘good example.’ This started a bunch of kids going to the beach with me.

• At Brown, a few of us wanted to declare the same independent major.  With faculty and administration support, we started the Cognitive Science concentration. While it didn’t seem rebellious at the time because that’s the “Brown way,” it was my first entrepreneurial experience. Only later I did I realize that it was viewed as rebellious for those not raised/educated in that environment

• As a 20 year-old kid at Bell Labs, my first boss yelled at his people. The first time he did it to mein a meeting I got up, told him when he wanted to talk to me nicely to give me a call. Meanwhile I’d be in my office. I got up and walked out by myself, with everyone in shock. (What’s the worst thing he could do? Fire me). Later he came to my office and apologized. I accepted and thanked him for apologizing – he never yelled at me again. However, he still yelled at others who just took it. We had a fabulous relationship from that point on and he was an incredible mentor to me.

When did you first realize that you were a rebel?

Not sure I ever really realized it because it was encouraged at home, not so much at school — but we only went to school a few days a week —  andwas expected in college. When I was three years old and being disciplined, my father told me to stand in the corner and think about what I’d done. Apparently I told him he could tell me where to stand but he couldn’t tell me what to think.

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

To pay more attention to what made my mentors so great and how they did it so I would know more now that I mentor.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

That glint in the eye we get; taking ‘no’ as a ‘yes’; constantly questioning and probing the status quo.

What’s your favorite question?

Why not?

What tells you you’re effecting positive change?

People get a bit agitated, feel disrupted, and uncomfortable while other people feel I’m on the right track and support me. I can see reluctant positive changes in attitude, and of course hindsight is the best!

What do you think is most important for people to understand about rebels?

They aren’t going away – listen to them, give them a voice and respect.

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

Don’t give up and add a dash of compassion into your sense of urgency as you proceed.

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

Spend more time with rebels – it may rub off – and help them make a difference.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Where are they NOT needed?

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan.

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

“That’s nice”

Dan Mezick

I coach agile software teams and their managers in the mechanics of team and organizational greatness and I love my work…. which I think of as play.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I was sent to the principals office in 3rd grade for the 4th time and realized “this is nothing to worry about.”

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

Always seek capable mentors and integrate what they teach you.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Subversion of illegitimate authority.

What’s your favorite question?

What do you want?

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

People are happier and more engaged.

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

Rebels are an essential element of any healthy social system. Without the routine questioning of authority, tyranny reigns by default.

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

Experiment.

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

Experiment.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Wherever levels of engagement, levels of learning, levels of experimentation and levels of play are LOW.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Jay Forrester

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

Be sure to ask permission first.

 

Arlen Meyers

President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Helping to create the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and making it the largest such network in the world.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When I was 8 years old and labeled as a disruptive child.

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

Listen to your heart, not your parents when it comes to choosing a career.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

The enemies I make.

What’s your favorite question?

Why not?

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

Physician entrepreneurship has gone mainstream.

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

You don’t have to fear them.

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

Find a sponsor who can provide cover. Innovate your heart out but don;t let anyone know you are doing it until the right time.

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

Enjoy your job. It won’t last long.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Sick care.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Dr. Ben Eiseman was a mentor.

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

Would you like to retire?

Carmen Medina

Spent 32 years within CIA trying to make sense of the world; hoping to have better luck now that I’m out, and in any case enjoying looking more at the positive and less at the negative.

Most notable rebel experience?

That’s a hard one to pick; there are so many. I remember with some fondness but also a little prickliness the long line of more senior people who kept telling me that if I wanted to be successful at the CIA, I needed to mute my critique. But I think my favorite must be the young graduate intern who spent the summer with my group when I was a mid-level manager. Toward the end he said to me, Carmen, I notice that you’re always thinking about how things could be better and making suggestions. I said, Yes. He asked Do you that because it’s career-enhancing? I paused one tick and said slowly…”Noooooooooooo…”

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

Actually my first memory really involves when I first realized I was a careful rebel. It was when I was asked, when I was a junior in high school, if I wanted to write for the underground newspaper. And although I agreed with many of the causes they were arguing for and several of the undergrounders were friends of mine, I pretty quickly said no. My analysis was that they were not going to last long enough to achieve anything and so I didn’t think it was worth the trouble I would get into. That’s a calculating rebel.

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

Don’t think a smooth meeting means that you’ve had a good meeting. If you’re discussing something important and difficult, the meeting should be difficult. That’s a good thing.

What are your favorite rebel characteristics?

Asking questions and exploring all the nooks and crannies of issues. Most policy initiatives (all?) are like English Muffins, full of holes and empty spaces. I love to ask very simple questions that usually get at the heart of what you’re trying to achieve.

What’s your favorite question?

My favorite question is some version of What’s your Theory of how this will work?

What tells you that you’re effecting change?

When I hear ideas I’ve been talking about for years eventually be advocated by the conventional leaders of the organization. Sometimes I could track 15 years back to when I and other rebels first began talking about an issue. Rebels are often the ones who chip away at the wall long before anyone else even knows the wall exists.

What do you think is most important for people to understand about rebels?

Most of us love the organization and want it to succeed just as much as you do. We’re like the Tough Love people.

What’s your best advice for rebels?

The best thing God made was one day after the other. (My grandmother used to tell me that.)

What’s your best advice for non-rebels?

Pull together all the known rebels in your organization and go have pizza and beer with them. This, I guarantee, will work miracles.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Middle-management.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

I’ll name two. Billy Mitchell, the Army officer who argued after WWI for the importance of air power.  And Louise Michel, a French anarchist of the 19th century. She died in 1905 so maybe she doesn’t qualify but I think all people need to learn her story. A remarkably courageous and principled woman. I don’t agree with everything she stood for, but she was an awesome example of living your passion. (If she doesn’t qualify, Ingrid Bergman.)

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

If you continue to speak your mind, you will ruin your career.

Bonnie Lesley

I’ve spent my life as a learner and a teacher, as an activist and a thinker — always striving to find the balance since one role can be consuming.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

I spent the 1970’s organizing, leading, and participating in the Women’s Political Caucus, hardly a radical organization, but it felt like it at the time! I organized the El Paso, TX, Caucus and chaired it one year, and then I chaired the Texas Women’s Political Caucus. Doing that work and learning as much as I did turned me into a political junkie, and since then I spend time every day fighting the good fight.

In my career as a teacher, I found myself championing the expression of the students and encouraging them to learn everything they could so that they could think for themselves. Some of my colleagues thought I was pretty radical!

As an administrator, trying to improve students’ opportunities to learn, I had to take on the interests of adults at every step. My rebel nature continues in retirement. I am doing everything I can to ensure funding adequacy and equity for public schools and warning everyone about the creeping movement toward privatization.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

I first realized I was a rebel when I was in college–but not in action, just in thoughts. My first actions occurred when I was a teacher as I found my voice to question policies and practices as they affected teachers and students. In my first year I was called to the superintendent’s office for telling the librarian that her policy of not allowing freshmen to check out books on the sophomore reading list was “absurd.” It went from there.

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

I wish that I had learned negotiation skills from someone early on. Instead, I got slapped around a lot because I would at times be too direct or too assertive in my protest. I had to learn over time how to proceed. I learned how to be a leader in the Women’s Political Caucus.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Persistence. If a situation cannot be made right today, I want everyone to try again tomorrow, and again and again until it is right.

What’s your favorite question?

Tell me, why are you doing what you are doing? What I am looking for is the evidence that informs the decisions (and sometimes there is none). I learned to ask that question when I first became a teacher supervisor and then a supervisor of other administrators.

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

I have an archive of notes, letters, emails, Facebook postings, etc. from former students, employees, and political friends that tell me how I made a difference in their lives. Many of those messages thank me for supporting them in their endeavors. It is particularly sweet to review those affirmations as I am now retired (kind of) and in my 70’s. I feel that it was all worthwhile.

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

I think that many rebels are very bright. They see things that go right over the heads of most others.

They are also people who work hard to know that what they are doing is right. They are ongoing learners. They take responsibility for their thoughts and actions.

Really good rebels are also really good leaders. A rebel leader points the way toward some desired change rather than get out in front of the crowd after the poll is published.

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

Care about the people affected — affected by the change and/or affected without it.

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

Hmmm. If you agree with me, help me. Rebels needs lots of help. Lots of different kinds of help.

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Everywhere! Change is occurring exponentially, and instead of confronting the issues — that threaten the planet due to climate change, that endanger the food supply, that violate human rights, that obscenely increase the wealth gap, that deal with privacy issues, that threaten our safety and security, that seek to privatize all government services, and on and on —  too many people try to take us into the past. We need rebels everywhere!

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Gloria Steinem. Her work in advocating for acceptance of the changing roles of women has been such an inspiration to me. Still, in 2012, a woman who steps out of the traditional role, is considered to be a rebel.

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

Know your place. (A lady is a woman who knows her place.)

Akili King

I love showing athletes and soldiers that the hustle never stops, only the language changes.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Teaching business and entrepreneurship to the student athletes at Oregon State University through the only Startup Weekend event hosted for a community via a NCAA Athletic Department.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

When my mom told me that my first word was “ain’t.”

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

Test your assumptions constantly!

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

Curiosity!

What’s your favorite question?

Does this work in the real world?

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

The look on athletes’ faces when the light goes off in their heads that they are more than their sport!

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

Understanding why they are rebels!

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

Assumptions!

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

Assumptions!

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Anywhere there is non-value adding waste.

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Anthony De Mello

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

It is what it is.

Annalie Killian

Catalysing the magic found only in human beings, not machines.

What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?

Hmmm…part of being a rebel is knowing how to be an enigma….so, I choose not to share my proudest act of rebellion. Suffice to say I was locked up in jail overnight ( it was in my university years in South Africa) and released the next day without charge….but that’s when I realised I want to go about changing systems in a smarter way. And I did! I was seconded by my company years later to organise South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 in the Zululand area.

When did you first realize that you are a rebel?

In primary school – year 1. I just didn’t need the approval of the masses. I was always content with going about achieving things in my own way. This became even more prevalent in my teenage years where typically, peer groups are strong. Again, I bucked the trend. I seemed to work out how to play both sides by being an edge-dweller.

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

Back yourself more.

What is your favorite rebel characteristic?

The power of the outsider who has learned to be a chameleon and can blend into the eco-system yet remains apart.

What’s your favorite question?

What’s the downside of not acting?

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

Smiles, squeals of delight as people push beyond their comfort zones into their stretch zones, spontaneous singing. Seeing people act in a very authentic way that transforms their personal growth visibly in front of your eyes.

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

That they need them.

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

Timing matters.

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

Follow the rebel!

Where do you think rebels are most needed today?

Medical/ Pharmaceutical industry

Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?

Viktor Frankl who managed to outwit the Nazis and went on to be the founder of Logos Therapy.

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

Take your time.