Matute, Maria Rita “Rhea” O.

Executive Director, Design Center of the Philippines

With 25 years of international experience and training, Rhea is the Executive Director of Design Center of the Philippines since 2017. Prior to joining Design Center, Rhea was the Deputy Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Rhea is a multi-awarded professional with an established a career committed to the pursuit of innovation. She has spearheaded programs that have been instrumental in transforming industries and have become international development templates, particularly in the areas of branding, design management, and the creative economy. Rhea has a track record of establishing and executing strategic trade promotion and industry development programs, building high performance teams, identifying and developing key products, services and concepts to achieve maximum results, move business forward and create value.

With an undergraduate degree in business management and marketing from the Ateneo de Manila University, Rhea also holds 2 Master’s Degrees – a Master’s in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute in New York, USA and a Masters in International Luxury Brand Management from ESSEC in Paris, France, where she graduated 3rd in her class. She has also completed programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.

Rhea was awarded the Amazing Alumna Achiever Award in 2017 by the Maryknoll/Miriam College Alumni Association. She was also given MEGA Magazine’s NEW PH Award in June 2015 as a “Filipino game changer who is putting the Philippines in the global map… a radical individual making a tangible difference in the lives of Filipinos.”

When not on a creative crusader mode, Rhea can be found in a football pitch bossing the opposition as a central defender or never to be found as she goes off the grid to reconnect with the universe.


Cajilig, Pamela

Design Anthropologist, Executive Design Director and co-founder of Curiosity Design Research

Terrado, Nora K.

Undersecretary – Department of Trade and Industry
Trade and Investments Promotion Group


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