Compass Guides: Meet Jaynanne Calaway-Habeck

In 2020, we welcomed Jaynanne Calaway-Habeck as our first Compass Guide to provide strategic Human Resources support to our portfolio companies. Leveraging her extensive background in both consulting and in-house roles spanning decades, Jaynanne brings a wealth of experience in areas like executive compensation, change management, and recruiting strategy.

We sat down with Jaynanne to talk to her about her background and some of the common challenges faced by companies in the lower middle market.

Tell us about your career in Human Resources.

In 2000, I earned my Master's degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois. I began my career at Towers Perrin, and gained experience in HR consulting, covering areas like executive and employee compensation, organizational development, and communications. After a few years, I went in-house to Panera Bread, and worked my way up to Chief People Officer before transitioning to establishing my own HR consulting firm.

How do you support our portcos?

Compass Guides wear many hats—ready to offer quick advice (I call it a “phone-a-friend service”), manage larger projects, or even step in as fractional executives. Some companies may have an HR leader or a small in-house team, while others may not have a dedicated HR department at all.

What's the highlight of being a Compass Guide for you?

Working with founders partnering with Compass Group feels like coming full circle for me. My dad was an entrepreneur, so I grew up around the strategies, wins and challenges of small to medium sized businesses. I hear his voice every time I interact with a CEO of one our portfolio companies. I feel a deep connection here.

What are common HR challenges faced by portcos, and how do you help?

Oftentimes companies joining Compass Group need more structured HR programs and refined employee communications, especially as they grow. I assist in navigating these pivotal moments to make the transition as seamless and smooth as possible, as new partnerships often include culture integration and change management.

Can you share a portco success story?

Last year, I supported Pacesetter through a shift in leadership as they welcomed Clete Madden as their new CEO. Managing changes, especially at the top, is no small feat and requires careful planning and clear communication to ensure minimal organizational disruption. Clete hit the ground running, bringing a positive impact to the organization in no time.

What Compass Group Core Value do you resonate the most with?

Wow, it's difficult to pin down one Core Value with which I resonate the most! If I'm forced to choose just one, it would be “Do What's Right.” Integrity is what we do when no one is watching; it's delivering on our commitments, both said and unsaid. “Do What’s Right” also speaks to having the courage to deliver candid feedback, and creating a culture of feedback and psychological safety is a passion of mine.

Note: Compass Guides include a blend of full-time employees and contractors. They are paid by Compass Group Management and are reimbursed by monthly retainer fees paid by the portfolio companies for which they work. No fees received by the Compass Guides are offset against management fees.