Ria started her career in 1985 as a communication designer and product developer. She then spent time with the retailer, Woolworths, in a Packaging Coordinator and Technologist’s capacity before starting her own communication design consultancy.
Ria joined the University of Pretoria in 1999 as a senior design lecturer and researcher. She completed her master’s degree at the University of Pretoria with a dissertation on developing a service quality framework for the communication design industry. She published several articles and conference papers.
In 2014 she reviewed and restructured the design courses of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE)’s Design School Southern Africa’s (DSSA). DSSA has integrated with IIE-Vega, where Ria is currently academic programme manager in the design department and national post-graduate research coordinator for the NQF8-level.
In 2018 she completed a Doctorate at the Da Vinci Institute, on post-graduate capacity development in communication design education. Ria also serves on the Design Educators Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA).