Vehr Communications was founded 15 years ago on March 4, 2007. I started this post with the intention of celebrating by looking back at key milestones and memories. I didn’t go much further.

It seems trite or insufficient to reflect on the past — its many successes and accomplishments — when the past’s only real value is in how it prepares us for the future. I think this is especially true after the last two years.

This is not humility speaking. Being clear-eyed and honest is a reality for professional service firms that have been buffeted by the pandemic. It’s the key to success.

In many ways, COVID reminded me of the equally terrifying and exhilarating beginning of our start-up. Uncertainty reigned. Being nimble was required. Fear was ever-present. Celebrating was standard through years over years of steady growth.

Emotional swings were modulated in the intervening years by our success, experience, or maybe both. They came roaring back after March 2020.

And, that is worth celebrating. Here’s why.

I’m a sports guy. I learned early in life the true value of hours of training. It was the foundation upon which flawless delivery and the subsequent celebration of success was built. In truth, what we were actually celebrating was simply the new foundation established for the next, even bigger, challenge.

That’s what the pandemic has meant for us and for me: How do we build from here? How can we be better teammates for each other? What did we learn that will make us better at serving our clients?

The horrific pandemic brought us a window into each other’s daily lives. In addition to professional successes, and there were many, it taught us the need to share and celebrate personal successes. We were “Zoomed” into the private lives of clients and colleagues at a level never before experienced.

Of course, we learned that we didn’t need to be in an office five days a week for eight or nine hours; that while time together is invaluable, and will foster even greater teamwork and creativity, it can be balanced better with time spent working from home.

Because of COVID, we’ve learned in two years what might have taken the next 15: Dedicated and smart professionals can deliver incredibly valuable brand strategy, brand content and brand communications support from office or home.

The pandemic has increased our opportunities to win — to provide differentiating and market-moving professional services for our clients and positive and fulfilling work experiences for our team members.

As I said, that is worth celebrating. It will make our next 15 years — and beyond — that much better than our first 15.