Reflecting on our impact: one small player in an intertwined social change ecosystem

THANK YOU for joining us on this journey of changemaking!

In December 2002, Way-Ting Chen and Jenni Shen set out on a grand experiment: to see if they could adapt the robust decision-making practices from corporate sector consulting to tackle the social sector issues that they cared most about. All while still being their whole selves, balancing their various roles as social impact consultants, business owners, mothers, and family and community members. Why? Because they believed that the complex social challenges of our day can be solved— by community leaders who embrace their unique roles and take the long-term view.  Way-Ting and Jenni were deeply inspired by social sector changemakers, and wanted to help them do good better. So they became accidental social entrepreneurs, birthing Blue Garnet in Jenni’s extra room.

Twenty years later, we stand in awe: the grand experiment worked! And not only did we, Blue Garnet, survive as a viable business, but we would also say that we have thrived. Yes, there have been some major bumps in the road, like the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and personal health and family issues. But looking back on the past two decades, we are humbled and overjoyed thinking of the impact our “small giant” firm has had.

We would not be here today without our wonderful community of passionate partners. Thank you for trusting us with your toughest strategic issues. It’s been a joy to serve over 286 organizations over the years.

We don’t often toot our own horn; but, in fact, over 20 years, we have impacted:

  • 1,001 (and counting!) leaders increased their ability to positively impact Southern California
  • 94% of clients in past 5 years say they have clarity on their organization’s outcomes as a result of working with BG
  • and 83% of clients say we helped them positively impact Southern California

…via our work, affecting:

  • 100 organizations through direct, customized consulting engagements
  • Another 186 organizations through capacity building initiatives and trainings

We know that it takes more than statistics to tell a story of impact. So, we continue to highlight client stories in our blog and case studies, including this new one from ICEF Public Schools. Through long term relationships with individual clients, we are able to witness the ripple effect of our work with our partners, on making California a more inclusive place for people with disabilities, reducing educational inequity for first-generation college students, increasing access to community-centered mental health, increasing Southern California’s biodiversity, and more.

Beyond our clients, we also see Blue Garnet’s impact extending through past team members. After the “mini-MBA” and other growth experiences while working at Blue Garnet, BG Alumni have gone on to work in philanthropy, direct service and advocacy nonprofits, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and leadership development, to name a few roles. We’re honored to hear these alumni say that their BG experience helped them accelerate impact around the world (check out this Alumni blog!).

To celebrate twenty years of making lasting change in Southern California, we got “Together for Twenty” in July. We welcomed our partners in this community to a different type of party, where we connected with dear friends and engaged in discussion about the many dynamic tensions that changemakers face.

In sum, THANK YOU for joining us on this journey of changemaking. For partnering with us. For teaching us, inspiring us, and trusting us. We look forward to twenty more together!


If you’d like to connect with us about partnering together in the next twenty years, you can reach out to!

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