In 2008, Diane Welhouse attended a meeting that changed the course of her career. At that time, she was VP of operations with her husband’s company, Welhouse Construction Services, just outside Appleton, Wis.
“We were big proponents of [The National Association of the Remodeling Industry],” she recalls. “And we ended up stopping in at one of their board meetings.” The NARI chapter was down to 12 members and struggling to remain viable.
After the meeting, Welhouse, who had over 10 years’ experience working in non-profits, wanted to help. She ended up taking over the failing chapter on a volunteer basis. Over the next few years, using sweat equity and an indomitable will to succeed, she grew the chapter from 12 members to 50.
While re-engaging the remodelers in her own community, Welhouse built a great relationship with nearby Milwaukee, the largest NARI chapter in the country. In 2015, officials there asked if she’d be interested in taking over as executive director, and Welhouse’s first response was, “I’m honored, but no thanks.”
“I thought, ‘Why would I do this?’” she recalls. “I’ve got a great remodeling company and I love what I do. But then I said, ‘Let’s have a conversation anyway. We can always shake hands and say it’s not a fit.’”
As it turned out, the opportunity was tailor-made for Welhouse’s experience, and she went from overseeing one of the smallest chapters in the country to the largest. “It was a really great experience,” she says.
A New Chapter
Flash forward nearly seven years, and Welhouse found herself at another crossroads. Although she remained deeply committed to NARI and loved her work, she also felt called to branch out on her own. Over the course of her career, Welhouse gained a deep understanding of leadership, business operations, and how the two intersect. That expertise, along with a passion for branding and company culture, spurred her to open Welhouse Consulting in 2022.
“I decided to jump off a cliff to see if I could fly,” she says. “So far it’s been really good.”
Currently, Welhouse advises a number of remodelers and speaks at NARI events. She also does project-based work for NARI and helped create a seminar teaching members how to use the NARI brand more effectively to bring in potential clients. “A lot of people don’t know how to turn the association they belong to into a value proposition for their own business,” she says.
Welhouse Consulting is based on a business wellness plan called the 5Ps: Purpose, People, Process, Performance, and Payoff. Welhouse’s mission is to help companies become healthier, and once that baseline is achieved, she works with them on an as-needed basis.
“Maybe that’s setting an annual plan, quarterly goals, or a three-year vision. The idea is to make sure we’re moving the needle on what we said we were going to get done.”
When it comes to getting things done, Welhouse is clearly in her comfort zone.