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Filipina leader on keeping Rex’s legacy alive while staying relevant

As the third generation in a family of publishers, Danda Crimelda Buhain-Garcia is in charge of keeping Rex’s legacy alive, and at the same time, staying relevant in this digital age. Rex/Released

MANILA, Philippines — With her petite frame and bubbly demeanor, Rex Group of Companies managing director Danda Crimelda Buhain-Garcia embodies the idea that big things come in small packages.

As the third generation in a family of publishers, she is in charge, along with her brother and cousins, of keeping Rex’s legacy alive, and at the same time, staying relevant in the digital age.

From its humble beginning on Calle Azcarraga (C.M. Recto Street) in Manila, Rex is now celebrating its 67th year. It has become one of the country’s leading publishers of educational materials with over 10,000 titles for K-12, tertiary and law levels, available in all its 26 branches and showrooms around the country.

Buhain-Garcia joined Rex in 1998 as the head of the recruitment office for authors and basic education. Eventually, she handled almost all levels like higher education, legal units and the like, before she moved on to lead the business development initiatives for the company. This post also saw her 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. 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.

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With more than 19 years of experience in the educational materials development industry, Buhain-Garcia also oversees the international sales arm Rex Book Store International Inc., as well as the Rex Knowledge Group that produces learning materials toward the development of the "Filipino Whole Child."

“Coming from five 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,” she says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An eye for innovation

Buhain-Garcia 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-Garcia explains.

She continues, “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.”

The managing director 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 and teachers alike,” 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 (Even if you are already working, you can still be a learner),” she adds.

A mother of two boys, Buhain-Garcia received her Bachelor’s in Communication, specializing in Advertising and Public Relations form the Assumption College of San Lorenzo. In 2015, the Philippine Cancer Society nominated her and 13 others as ladies leading lives worthy of praise on the personal, professional and civic fronts. 

 

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