Company History

aha! Process is an award-winning training and publishing company providing workshops, publications, and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools, and higher education. We do this by creating an understanding of the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from the individual to systems level.

Poverty, middle class, and wealth are about an abundance or lack of resources. Our work helps individuals, businesses, students, and communities build resources for a more successful, sustainable future.

You can guess where we got our name from. Our company was originally RFT Publishing Co., but so many people told us how our work gave them an “aha” moment—that sudden clarity when all the pieces fit together—that  we changed our name. We strive to build those moments for you, helping you gain a broader, deeper understanding of economic class and how it impacts your work, your community, and your life.

1972 — Ruby K. Payne starts her educational career.

1994 — RFT Publishing Co. was founded by Dr. Ruby K. Payne. The company began with a mission to improve student achievement by using the economic lens and providing faculty and staff with concrete strategies and tools for helping students from poverty gain success in the classroom.RUBY_PAYNE_at Waco

1994 — Ruby wrote A Framework for Understanding Poverty.

2000 — We changed our name to aha! Process.

2001 — Ruby, Phil DeVol, and Terie Dreussi-Smith wrote Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities. Realizing that schools don’t work in a vacuum, but are reflections of their communities the Bridges book expanded the company’s work to include all aspects of community from employers, to social services, hospitals, community organizations, churches, and more.

2009 — We published Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students (written by Karen A. Becker, Karla M. Krodel, Bethanie H. Tucker).  With this work we further expanded into higher education. Realizing first-generation college students often needed additional support in order to complete their goals, we developed College Achievement Alliance and its constructs as a way for higher education to improve retention and completion.

We now have more than 100 books and products and deliver training events to tens of thousands of people around the world every year. Our goal is to keep creating those aha moments in schools, businesses, churches, colleges, and communities all across the world so people understand the dynamics that cause and perpetuate poverty from the individual to the systems level and how to build resources so every person can live well.