CK Insights

March 15, 2018

Women Who Inspire Us: Paula Hare, Firehouse Communications

Becca Hare

Paula Hare is the definition of a renaissance person. She owns Milwaukee-based marketing and graphic design firm Firehouse Communications, she’s a fashion designer, she’s the mascot for a famous Wisconsin dessert, and she’s an active volunteer for the Humane Society. Paula truly lives by one of her many mottos, “You gotta know a little bit about a lot of shit.”


And she’s also my mom. From her voracious determination, to her perpetual enthusiasm, to her superhuman ability to have fun in any situation, Paula inspires me every day.


CooperKatz (CK): What have been some of the most important factors in advancing your career and life journey?


Paula Hare (PH): The most important factor in advancing my career and life journey was never having the fear to fail. I fail every single day and have for the past 30+ years since I’ve owned my businesses. Failing is not always fun, but failing always teaches me many, many lessons. Lessons like: “Karma is a bitch,” “Some people are just unpleasant,” “Money isn’t everything,” and “Only hang out with awesome people.”


Other factors that have advanced my career and life journey include: 

  • Staying relevant. I have always been an early adopter of technologies and I love pop culture.
  • Everything in moderation. Including moderation.
  • Fun is a lifestyle. Not just a conscious thing to remember to do.
  • Be unsupervised once in a while. Interesting things happen when you are unsupervised.
  • Have an X factor. Do the polar bear plunge. Start a few businesses. Become a professional mascot.


(CK): Do you have a compelling quote or piece of advice that keeps you motivated?


(PH): Yes. Many. “Treat your clients like you are dating them;” “Over Promise and Over Deliver;” and “Nothing is handed to you on a fluffy, velvet pillow.”


(CK): What are you most proud of in your career?


(PH): I am most proud of the fact that I’ve raised two very strong, independent businesswomen and creative thinkers. I wasn’t the kind of mom that made the fancy cupcakes or cookies for the bake sale. I never went on a field trip or joined the PTA. But I was the kind of mom that taught her girls that they could one day own a business, lead a company, run a board, steer the direction of a non-profit organization, donate money to ensure growth, invest wisely, take risks and be brave.


My girls have grown up in a family where their mom was a small business owner and entrepreneur. They saw firsthand the joys, struggles and sacrifices needed to own a small company. They have been taught to be strong, self-starting, creative-thinking, hard-working, independent girls. They have also been taught to have fun, be healthy, and do the right things.


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