Mom Next Door: Regen Horchow Fearon, Institute for Interesting People founder

Lauren Niebes
February 2008 in
April 30, 2008
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Not everyone grows up going on buying trips with a dad who travels all over the world, nor do they have visitors from various countries frequent the dinner table. Regen Horchow Fearon did, and now she wants to enrich the lives of others in much the same manner. This mom of three girls is the daughter of Roger Horchow, founder of the luxury furnishings catalogs and stores that Dallas loves. Now, she is out to spread the wealth of knowledge through other people, as well as attempting to organize motherhood – a challenge she takes very seriously.

That motivation to give others the same opportunities to interact with fascinating people is what sparked her to start the Institute for Interesting People, an organization that hosts speakers from various fields to present on a wide range of topics. “I wanted to create a way for people to be exposed to interesting people,” says Fearon. But there is another underlying reason for launching the Institute: “to fill a void in my life,” admits the “momprenuer.”

“Originally, I thought the audience would be a lot of people like me … moms who stay home,” says Fearon. But in actuality, it’s a very eclectic group of members who range in age from their 20s to their 80s — there for essentially the same reason: “to fill a void for people that don’t have a lot of time, but want to hear [about] different things,” says the institute’s founder.

Not only does the mom of 15-year-old Samantha and 5 1/2 year old twins Sabrina and Fiona want to enhance people’s lives by exposing them to a different way of thinking, but she also wants to help mothers stay sane. “I think that technology should be doing more,” she asserts. “A lot of things are routine that you do over and over. You shouldn’t have to re-invent the wheel every time.”

With excitement in her voice, Fearon explains that she’s creating a (computer) “system that helps busy moms to coordinate their lives – in ‘mom speak,’” something that hasn’t been successfully accomplished yet. But that doesn’t deter the woman who started a beauty shop for women during her collegiate days at Yale. The multi-tasking mom obviously knows what she wants, and how to get it done.

On top of owning her own business, launching a new one, and serving on countless boards such as Chair of the Board of Trustees for The Hockaday School, board member for the Tate Lecture Series at SMU as well as a few others, it’s a wonder how she has time for anything else. “First of all,” says Fearon, “I have lots of help in my life. I have a wonderful nanny and sitter who help me bridge the various pick ups and conflicts when I’m in a meeting.” Because she’s self-employed, Fearon admits that her schedule is flexible, but she also tries to “pick and choose when things are most important to physically be there” in order to balance work and family. One thing that she guards relentlessly is her evening schedule. “We have dinner five nights a week typically,” she states, because “both my husband and I feel that’s very important.”

One family tradition is similar to what Fearon experienced growing up: using the dinner table as a teaching tool for her girls. “We talk about all different things,” says Fearon, although readily admitting, “we don’t always agree.” The Dallasite “grew up in a household where there were always different visitors at the dinner table from all over the world,” which created a atmosphere where the “unfamiliar became routine.” She mirrors the practice in her own way; currently, a medical fellow from Iraq is staying with the family.

“Being exposed to lots of different people and lots of different ideas, creates that curiosity” — the kind that makes a child become interesting, explains Fearon. “If you live in [certain] pockets of Dallas, you can be tricked into thinking the whole world is like that.”


Interesting Fact

“If I have to choose only one interesting person, I would have to say Malcolm Gladwell, author of best sellers, The Tipping Point and Blink. He is a great speaker and is always thinking about and writing about fascinating ideas – with humor!” -Regen Horchow Fearon


Regen’s Quick Tips:

1. I make washing hair a fun activity by inviting the girls into my beauty shop. I wash their hair in the kitchen sink while we sing my version of the song from South Pacific. This is faster and more efficient than supervising their bath because I can monitor what I am cooking for dinner at the same time!

2. I plan meals for the week and do a round of grocery shopping on Sunday. I always make sure I have a back up supply of things like pasta, shredded parmesan, broccoli, corn and chicken broth so I can always make a quick meal without going to the store if I get in a crunch or plans change.

3. I keep a box near my desk to accumulate all of the photos, programs, funny notes or other keepsake items for the year. Then, in the summer when things are slower paced, I put them into an album. I also keep a box for each child and put things specific to them in their own boxes and not in the family album. The key is to put these boxes in a place that is easy to access.

4. I set up walking dates with various friends so at the same time that I am getting exercise, I am catching up with a friend, venting about or preening about my children, reminding myself that EVERYONE is dealing with some issue or another. My walks keep my life in perspective and, hopefully, my body in some semblance of health.

5. I keep activities, books and snacks in the car (one for each twin!) to keep them happy and occupied when we have to be in the car a lot. I also have their preferred music on my iPod in the car, so we can sing as we go.


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