Don Timothy Buhain: A Journey to Success through Ora, Labora, et Servio

Don Timothy Buhain: A Journey to Success through Ora, Labora, et Servio

By Angelica R. Cabrito

In this special feature, we explore the life and success story of Don Timothy Buhain, a figure synonymous with dedication and innovation in the field of educational publishing. 

The Early Years: Laying the Foundation

Books are deeply ingrained in the very essence of Don Timothy Buhain’s existence. His entry into the educational publishing industry was predestined, being the eldest of the third generation family with a prominent business in the book industry. Don felt from the very start that he needed to repay the generosity of his family who provided him with education and support. After he joined Rex in 1992, the feeling of longing to repay transcended and became a passion for education and entrepreneurship.

Rising in the ranks of their own company, Don gained a deeper understanding on the power of educational materials in molding the future of learners. After witnessing the transformative impact of education first hand, he was motivated to take on the role of CEO. It occurred to him that his journey was intricately tied to Ora, Labora, et Servio (Pray, Work, and Serve), embodying a commitment to both family and the mission of REX.

About REX Education: Empowering Learners and Educators

REX Bookstore, now known as REX Education, demonstrates unwavering dedication to empowering learners and educators by offering innovative, high-quality, and accessible educational solutions. The founding story of REX Education traces back to a firm commitment to excellence in creating educational resources for both teaching and learning. They firmly believe in the transformative impact of education, which has the capacity to elevate communities and propel national advancement. REX envisions themselves in “every home” as they do not only cater to the four walls of formal education, hence, they understand that there are many learners that can be reached beyond the formal education setting

Overcoming Obstacles: Don Buhain’s Path to Success

Success is never attained without encountering hurdles along the way. For Don, the primary challenge he faces is within himself. As he previously mentioned, when one is involved in their family business, there may be a lack of individuals willing to point out errors or provide constructive criticism. Thus, a leader must remain attentive and prudent regarding their contributions to the company.

“Be humble but not helpless.” According to Don, embracing humility involves acknowledging that seeking help, may it be from other board members or elder family members, is not only acceptable but also propitious. Being a leader does not stop by recognizing problems and challenges in the organization, but also being able to present resolutions in addressing them.

One particular memory of Don stands out from 1993 when he faced a challenging situation. REX scheduled a seminar at St. Paul’s Bocaue to fulfill a commitment to a client, however, an oversight by their transportation head resulted in the negligence to fetch the speaker from Cavite. Faced with this dilemma, Don made the decision to hire a helicopter to bring the speaker from Cavite to Bocaue in time for her 8 AM talk. That decision incurred a cost of Php 25,000 at the time. In spite of that, it reinforced the client’s confidence in REX’s commitment to delivering on its promises.

Nurturing Every Child for Lifelong Learning

Notwithstanding, one of the most—if not the most—pivotal moments during Don’s tenure as CEO was the re-articulation of their mission. Transitioning from simply comprehensive textbook publishing to “Nurturing Every Child for Lifelong Learning.” During the pandemic, their digital learning platform facilitated online education, while their printing services played a helpful role in producing print-based learning modules for the Department of Education and numerous LGUs. This shift signified that they are not just selling books, but they were already touching lives.

A Legacy of Leadership: Don Buhain’s Journey

Over Don’s past 32 years with REX, he has actively sought assistance from numerous consultants and pursued further education, including post-graduate studies (Master of Entrepreneurship) at the Asian Institute of Management, where he received the Superior Performance award. He also participated in numerous short courses both domestically and internationally.

At his core, Don is most proud of the decision to retain all employees during challenging times, despite the widespread retrenchments amid the CoVid-19 pandemic in 2020. Guided by God and a desire to give back to those who have supported the company, his leadership made him realize the importance of standing by his employees and acknowledging his responsibility to support them during difficult times. Don’s decision reflected a shift in perspective, viewing challenges through a lens of compassion and generosity, reinforcing REX Education’s dedication to its people and its mission.

Don thought that it was time to demonstrate the sincerity behind the common speeches of leaders saying “Human resources are the most important resource of our company,” to safeguard every individual within the organization and uphold their true value. In Don’s moments of adversity, God’s presence was palpable to him, guiding his actions as he faced challenges head-on.

Charting the Course: The Road Ahead of Rex

REX Education embraces advancements and developments as opportunities to enhance learning experiences and expand access to education. They are steadfast in leveraging technology to generate immersive and interactive educational solutions that cater to a wide learning preferences, as well as support teaching effectiveness and efficiency.

Over the past 74 years, REX has undergone significant development, evolving from a second-hand bookstore in Azcarraga (now called C.M Recto) to its current position. According to Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, the Philippines ranked last in Reading and second to last in Science and Math. Additionally, 69% of 15-year-old children express pessimism about their future prospects—a disheartening indication that these young individuals have lost hope before even embarking on their journey. Furthermore, recent studies reveal that the best and brightest students are reluctant to pursue careers in teaching.

REX’s ultimate aspiration is to positively impact these individuals. They are tasked with the monumental challenge of uplifting the last, lost, and least, but with their mindset of innovation, growth, and impact, they are confident that their efforts will make a meaningful difference. Currently, REX Education has a multitude of ongoing partnerships and projects with various private organizations and government entities. Every effort converges on a singular objective: empowering learners to reach their fullest potential. All these endeavors are incomplete without the principles of “Ora, Labora, et Servio.” One must pray diligently, work tirelessly, and serve both their family and company, aligning with its mission.

We are no longer into selling books, we are actually touching lives

As Don aptly puts it, “We are no longer into selling books; we are actually touching lives.” This encapsulates the essence of REX Education’s transformative impact on the educational landscape, underscoring the power of learning to inspire, uplift, and empower individuals and communities alike. Forging a strong partnership with San Beda College Alabang, REX continues to innovate and expand its reach with the legacy of Don Timothy Buhain’s leadership that serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the enduring value of education in shaping a better world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *