By Sadie Hess, Founder and CEO
Having just turned 50 and celebrating Compass’ 27th year, I am in a season of looking beyond myself to the next generation and asking what is the legacy of Compass? I have been reading books about companies that have been passed down from generation to generation. One such book that resonated with me is The Story of Lego, written by Jens Andersen, which tells the story of a company in its 3rd generation.
At its core, it is rooted in Home, Faith, and Family. LEGO originated in Billund, Denmark, in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, who began making wooden toys in 1932. Two years later he named his company LEGO after the Danish phrase leg godt (“play well”). Now, for almost 100 years, they have made creating a world where kids can play well as their mission. My family builds a Christmas village every year. Lego has been a brand that has impacted my family and I enjoy seeing the commonality we share.
Billund was a small farming town with less than 800 people, but since Home was a core value, they decided they didn’t need to go out into the world, the world would come to Billund. Almost 100 years ago, Lego decided their home was in Billund and the headquarters still resides there today. Home is in the heart of Compass. Though we may expand our organization in the years to come, we will never lose sight of our home. Our headquarters are in Redding, and Compass will have a legacy of home.
The creator of Lego had an unshakeable faith that helped him overcome difficult times. In 1942, a fire raged through the wood products of the Lego factory, Ole Kirk Kristiansen doubted the plan God had laid before him. Ole said “As everyone knows adversity is made to be overcome, it’s through it that we humans are being refined” As Ole began to pray, he experienced something remarkable. The prayer became thanks to the Lord and a blessing for him. The factory was rebuilt with the help of family and friends and was better suited to toy production.
We too have a core value of Faith. It has been at the heart of every decision we have made. Like Lego, we have had seasons of adversity and difficulty. Honestly, there is usually something hard happening daily! But our attitude and posture remain one of gratitude. We work with some of the best people in the world and it is a gift to do what we do. We believe in endless possibilities for each person because God is good, and He is always on our side. Compass will have a legacy of Faith.
Lego the company has passed from father to son and is now led by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder. As big as Lego is, it is still a family organization at its center. Reflecting on 27 years of growing Compass, it has been family and community that encircles all the years. Family and community sets us apart, taking us from transactional to relational. We have raised 3 amazing kids (2 are in college now!) while growing Compass. It is the love of family that shaped Compass into the thriving resource it is.
We love people as we find them and create a safe and empowering culture where people can fulfill their own destinies. When I started Compass with my friend Joanne twenty-seven years ago, I am not sure I could have fully grasped the magnitude of growth we would have all these years later. We are a much bigger organization, but we are all still family. Dreams are happening every day and I love that we do it as a community and a family.
Over the next few years, many things may change. We may add new programs, add new locations, and continue to evolve our language and even our name. Some things will never change– we will remain an organization focused on our core beliefs and our core mission of serving the best group of people in the world.
“Our aim is to do a good and solid and pleasing piece of work so that people will know that LEGO® products are quality. My prayer is that the Lord will help us to run a reputable business in every way. That our actions and life may be in honor of Him and with His blessing. Lord, may we live in thy mercy each day.” From the Memoirs of Ole Kirk Kristiansen