In 2005, Rhea Lascano or Rhee resigned from work after she found out that her son Rafael has autism. She tried to pursue a PhD so she can build a therapy center for him and other special kids. Although she was not able to finish her PhD, she continued her plan to build the SpEd (Special Education) clinic and hired teachers in 2008 with some financial help from her brother. "I want to follow the progress of Rafael. Plus, the reality na hindi sya makakakuha ng work, I just want him to feel he’s a productive member of society because of the clinic-school environment that I built." After Rhee separated from her husband in 2011 her mom helped her bounce back. That same year she went back to work to make ends meet until Rhee finally decided to focus on the clinic and pursue a freelance work as a market researcher in 2013. In 2015, her family found out that her mom has cancer. A few months after, she passed away.

Today, totally independent, Rhee is juggling business management at RLS Therapeutic Learning Center and consulting works as a freelance market researcher while still being able to spend quality time with her son. How does she do it? "I'm a morning person. I wake up at 6am. I make sure that all my meetings are done in the morning so I can be home early or do more [errands, shopping, malling] during the day. What I love most is the flexibility of my day-to-day and that I am doing something that I really enjoy—helping others in the process. It's a nice feeling. Giving jobs to those who need it and providing a place for special kids." As for Rafael, "I make sure I am home on Sundays so we can spend quality time together. We even take trips here and abroad. I don't care what other people say about my son. I want him to see and enjoy life."

Is she proud of herself? "The lesson is 'Always be positive'. I'm a single mom. I'm resilient. I'm proud of myself. There was no other choice but to pull myself together at every turn and I was able to overcome every challenge thrown at me because of Rafael. I get my strength from my son. Having him humbles me and I wish for him to have a fuller life." -KE

More about Rhee:

What she does

I'm a Qualitative Research Consultant. I conduct interviews among consumers for clients and Entrepreneur. I own a small research agency and a therapy center for kids with special needs.

Personal style

I am more of a tomboy so I always opt for something comfortable.  I also like to be appear more “androgynous” so I like wide leg pants, jeans, sneakers, loafers, button down shirts.  And during times when I do need to be a bit more girly, I prefer wearing flowy skirts and dresses or shirt dresses.

On expressing herself through fashion

Since I do freelance work, I can say I’m able to express myself fashion-wise.  But I also dress depending on the profile of the respondents. If I talk to teens, I try to look younger; if I talk to moms, I try to be more like them; if I talk to males then I wear more understated clothing. That way, they can easily open up to me during the discussion.  

Favorite Katre

The Strand. I love the practicality of it — how spacious it is, how I can be hands free when I need to lug my laptop and other stuff on the way to meetings. I find it extremely versatile too! I can bring it everywhere, meetings, interviews, everyday life.

On being a bag person

Like shoes, I believe bags can make or break an outfit.

Why she loves Katre 

The Katre team is so warm. And I love that they support causes such as special kids, having a special child of my own. I chanced upon Katre from Myrene’s (her highschool friend) Instagram post.  She posted a photo of herself and the Mayfair and I asked her where she got it.  That was 2 years ago, I think.

Style icon

I don’t really have a specific person but I like Diane Keaton (yes, I’m old) because of her “masculine” fashion and Anne Hathaway.

Dream designer bag

I would say, Celine or Chloe.

Shopping mantra

If you wake up in the morning and you still obsess over it, rush out and buy the darn thing! -ABA