Tag Archives: Gen Bouchard

Katelyn And Solenne: Now Hear This!

When Katelyn Bouchard was born 12 years ago, she failed the screening test for a hearing disorder.

But her eyes were lively, and quick to react. Her parents did not think anything was wrong.

But a second test 5 months later showed profound hearing loss. “She couldn’t hear a jet engine if it was next to her,” says Katelyn’s mother Gen.

Gen Bouchard

Gen — a former hedge fund executive who now owns Scout & Molly’s in Playhouse Square — and her husband contacted Diane Shannon. The longtime Westporter is a birth-to-3 service coordinator at Soundbridge, a regional program providing resources and services to children with hearing loss.

Diane explained 2 options: sign language and cochlear implants. The couple chose the latter.

Cochlear implants are electronic devices. Unlike hearing aids — which amplify sounds — implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear, to send sound signals to the brain.

Katelyn had her 1st implant at 10 months. Used to a world of silence, she tried to throw it off her face.

But Diane began working with Katelyn. She started from the ground up, introducing sounds, words and sentences.

Katelyn’s sister Solenne arrived 15 months later. Her parents knew then that — despite no family history of hearing loss — their newborn had a 1-in-4 chance of the genetic disorder.

Kately and Solenne Bouchard

Tests revealed that she too suffered hearing loss. She too would have implants.

Katelyn’s other implant was done the same day Solenne had 2. At 10 months, she was one of the first children that young to have surgery on both ears simultaneously.

At first, Solenne was very sensitive to sound. Once again, Diane patiently helped the Bouchards’ baby adapt to a new environment.

“We could hardly wait for them to start saying words,” Gen recalls. “Now they don’t stop talking.”

The girls have thrived. Katelyn — a 7th grader at Bedford Middle School — plays lacrosse. Solenne is a 5th grader at Saugatuck Elementary School; she plays basketball. Both are excellent students.

Katelyn and Solenne Bouchard

Though the only sign of cochlear implants are processors, “kids are kids,” Gen says. “Sometimes they ask, ‘What’s that on your ear?’ The girls just explain.”

Katelyn and Solenne are strong advocates for themselves. In loud environments, they’re not embarrassed to ask someone to repeat what’s been said.

Otherwise, their lives are no different from many other Westport youngsters.

But they — and their mother — have not forgotten the importance of helping other hearing-impaired kids.

Every year, Scout & Molly’s picks a non-profit to help. Last month, the store offered a silent auction, raffle items and refreshments, to support the Hearing Health Foundation.

The organization provided educational materials — including information on how to prevent hearing loss. (One way: Turn down the loud music!)

Katelyn and Solenne were there.

Then they went back to their own active, well-rounded — and sound-filled — lives.

 

Gen Bouchard: There’s Life After Hedge Funds

Gen Bouchard’s career in finance includes 11 years at SAC Capital and its successor, Point72.

She loved working with “super-smart, phenomenal” colleagues. However, she notes, “in hedge fund terms, that’s a long time.”

Starting out, she wore “plain Jane suits.” But SAC brought in a stylist, offering personalized fashion tips. Bouchard realized that “how you look determines where you go in life.”

Gen Bouchard

Gen Bouchard

When she began raising 2 daughters — and faced her own health issues — Bouchard realized something else: The discussions she and her husband often had about starting their own business might lead to a new direction in life.

Bouchard met Lisa Kornstein, owner of the Scout & Molly’s women’s apparel boutique. Both had multiple sclerosis.

“Her story resonated with me,” Bouchard says. “She was passionate about raising funds for MS. I am too.”

On Saturday (April 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Playhouse Square), Bouchard celebrates the grand opening of Scout & Molly’s latest franchise.

“We have price points for everyone,” the new owner says. “And it’s a non-snooty atmosphere.”

Scout & Molly's newest store, in Playhouse Square.

Scout & Molly’s newest store, in Playhouse Square.

Bouchard’s disease was diagnosed 12 years ago. She did not tell anyone at SAC. “It was an intense atmosphere, with long hours,” she recalls. “I did not want to change how people reacted to me.”

Two years ago, she suffered an intense brain infection — fatal within 48 hours. She was treated in 46.

“SAC rallied behind me,” she says. “They were very kind.”

Yet as she worked from home — with 2 small kids — she realized, “this was a sign.” Bouchard left the hedge fund world.

Scout & Molly logoScouting locations for Scout & Molly’s throughout New York City, Westchester and Fairfield County, she fell in love with Westport.

“I sat at Granola Bar. Everyone was friendly. The women interacted well,” Bouchard says. “This area seemed like a perfect fit for our model.”

She soon found a storefront just a few feet away.

Saturday’s grand opening features food, music and giveaways. Everyone is welcome.

Including — especially — all the women from Bridgewater.