With her petite frame and bubbly demeanor, Rex Group of Companies Managing Director Danda Crimelda I. Buhain embodies the idea that big things come in small packages.
As the third generation in a family of publishers, she is in charge, together with her brother and cousins, of keeping the family’s legacy alive is no easy task and keeping relevant in digital age is even harder.
The company is celebrating its 67th year from humble beginning in Calle Azcarraga (C.M. Recto Street) in Manila to become one of the country’s leading publishing company in providing educational materials with over 10,000 published titles for K-12, tertiary and law levels in its 26 branches and showrooms around the country.
She joined Rex in 1998 as the head of the recruitment office for authors and basic education. Eventually handled almost all of the levels like the Higher Ed, Legal units and like moving on to lead the business development initiatives for the company, a post that also saw Danda immersed in the various aspects of product development and innovation.
“It’s a big job for a 4”10 girl like me,” she jests when asked about her current role in the family business.
“When I started with Rex, I was assigned to focus on the authors because my grandfather and my father had always believed that there has to be someone taking care of authors because at the end of the day the heart and soul of the products we produce is through the authors because they’re the ones writing and developing the content,” she explains.
With more than nineteen years of experience in the educational materials development industry, Danda also oversees another company (International Sales Arm), the Rex Book Store International Incorporated (RBSII), and the Rex Knowledge Group that produces various learning materials towards the development of the Filipino Whole Child.
“Eventually we started developing digital products,” Buhain says, “Coming from 5 decades of focusing on the product development of textbooks, authorship, eventually I became the managing director of all the groups in charge of product and service development”.
Buhain has keen eye for innovation without losing the quality of content in every educational material that the company produces.
“Gone are the days when we looked at ourselves as a textbook provider because when you say education now, it would encompass all the learning solutions available. Whether in a book form, digital form, assessment, manipulatives, professional development for both the students and the teachers.” Buhain says.
“We got into it already because at the end of the day, the way kids learn now is different. It’s not dependent anymore on a monolithic approach of teaching things. If you just depend on the monolithic approach, you end up not achieving your desire of making kids learn. You want them to really learn, not just memorize or know the concept. Hence, being able to apply it in the real world when they go to college or when they go to the work place.”
Danda is a firm believer in innovation amid the digital age going as far as making sure that she and her team put their creative efforts in designing learning materials so people won’t be impassive.
“So the way we look at ourselves is a provider of learning solutions for all stakeholders in education – learners, teachers”, she says.
“A learner doesn’t necessarily mean a student from kinder to law but everyone is a learner. The moment you buy materials that you would go through, you are a learner. Kahit nagtatrabaho ka learner ka pa rin,” she added.
Danda received her Bachelor’s in Communication, specializing in Advertising and Public Relations form the Assumption College of San Lorenzo. She is the mother of two boys, Luigi (15) and Enzo (12). In 2015, the Philippine Cancer Society nominated Danda and thirteen others as ladies leading lives worthy of praise on the personal, professional and civic fronts.