Fayetteville has recently been accepted to host a Creative Mornings chapter.
Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series and networking group that facilitates free, monthly morning meetings about innovative ideas or projects. Each early-morning event features time devoted to networking and refreshments, followed by one speaker speaking for roughly an hour on a pre-chosen topic.
Tina Roth Eisenberg, a designer and entrepreneur who goes by the Twitter name “SwissMiss,” founded the event in 2008 in New York. There are now 200 chapters worldwide.
A local host organizes each Creative Mornings chapter. In Fayetteville, that’s Regina Buono. A lawyer, scholar and writer, Buono has worked on water and environmental regulatory issues since 2004 but has a diverse resume. She holds degrees in political science and international relations, Spanish and European studies, law, water governance and public policy from the University of Arkansas, King’s College London, and the University of Texas at Austin.
This past November, after two decades in Austin, Buono moved home to Fayetteville to be closer to family and to have a fresh start after completing her Ph.D. in public policy from UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Buono explained that the water governance field is about how humans make decisions and resolve disputes, who gets to use water and what they get to use it for. She has built a career bridging environmental law and policy, helping groups with diverse interests find common ground and collaborative solutions.
Before entering the Ph.D. program, Buono gained policy experience as the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Centre for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. She remains a non-resident scholar and practiced environmental and administrative law with a firm in Austin.
She also worked as legislative counsel for the Texas Legislature, where she drafted legislation and supporting documents on water and natural resources. Buono now works remotely in Northwest Arkansas as a principal in an Australian water advisory firm.
While living in Austin, Buono said she attended Creative Mornings events and found them valuable and inspiring in many ways.
“When I mentioned to a friend who is part of the Creative Mornings organizing team in Austin that Fayetteville lacked a chapter, she pointed out that I could apply to start one,” Buono said. “I mentioned it to a few people, and the reaction was very supportive and enthusiastic. A mutual contact connected me to Jess Whalen, now [a] co-organizer and videographer, and we were off and running.”
“Our vision is to create an experience where folks in Northwest Arkansas can enjoy inspiring stories and energizing connections,” Buono said. “We want to celebrate local creativity, talent and innovation while promoting an open space to connect with others and build community.”