AHA co-founder Betsy Henning celebrates 25 years

The year was 1994, and Betsy Henning just got her first big break after setting out as an entrepreneur a few years earlier. Hewlett-Packard’s Vancouver office had called with an offer that would snowball into a 25-year-and-counting career as one of the most successful businesswomen in Clark County.

But first, she needed to buy a fax machine.

“At the time, I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to spend $900,’ ” Henning said with her characteristic laugh.

"From her corner office on the top floor of Vancouver City Hall, at the headquarters of creative agency AHA, that’s money she does not miss today.

“One HP project turned into another turned into another,” Henning said as she looked back on 25 years in business, an anniversary she hit last month. “Then one year later, Brenda Alling and I joined forces to create AHA.”

With 60 employees and national clients such as Comcast and Charles Schwab, AHA has grown to be a brand to know among brand-builders.

Yet if Henning’s story is a blueprint for success, it’s only because her plans were fluid and her ambitions clear. AHA has not just survived, but thrived as technology has forced a rapid evolution in corporate communications. The digital revolution also opened an ocean of opportunities to communicate a message or shape a brand.

AHA, like all media companies, has had to keep ahead of the many new ways people and businesses can interact. But the basics are still intact: telling a company’s story in a way that sells a brand or a product..."