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?


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


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!”