Diane K. Fasel


M.S. Statistics, 1972, B.S. Mathematics, 1971

Co-founder and President, The Bellwood Group

"My work today is concentrated on leadership, governance and business strategy," said Diane Fasel, co-founder and President of The Bellwood Group. Her management consulting firm works with individual executives and multi-disciplinary leadership teams to improve their organizations, particularly during periods of strategic change or growth. For instance, The Bellwood Group consultants have:

  • Convened a strategic planning work session with a company’s top executives and managers to prepare them for a major cultural change from hierarchical to team-oriented.
  • Assessed the operations of a fast-growing health clinic and led workshops and coaching sessions to improve teamwork and productivity.
  • Designed and facilitated a partnering work session with executives from four independent companies to launch a successful collaborative venture.

"As co-founder and president of The Bellwood Group," said Fasel, "I provide overall direction and leadership for the company. In addition, I define and sell consulting services; and I consult with clients, particularly on assignments related to strategic business change and partnering relationships."

Fasel did not expect to go into strategic management consulting when she was a student. "My initial objective was to be a math teacher," Fasel said, "but life intervened. While working on my degrees at Purdue I got a ‘taste’ of industry as an operations research analyst with U.S. Steel, and liked it." Throughout her years at Purdue, Fasel worked at U.S. Steel full time during the summers and on special projects during the semester. At that time, said Fasel, "U.S. Steel’s Operations Research Group worked on finding solutions to problems related to the operation of the steel mill. For example, one of my projects was to create an inventory control program for the 96-inch plate mill. By better managing the inventory, we were able to reduce operational costs for the company. Although this seems like no big deal today, in the late ‘60s computerized inventory control was leading edge."

After graduating from Purdue with a B.S. in Mathematics (1971) and then an M.S. in Statistics (1972), Fasel worked at a variety of companies doing software development; systems engineering; sales; marketing; professional services; and product management. While working she also continued her education and received an MBA from Santa Clara University in 1985. In 1992 she co-founded The Bellwood Group. Fasel decided to start her own consulting firm, she said, because "I wanted to create more flexibility and balance in my life, and to be able to pick the assignments I wanted to work on."

One of the key skills needed for a management consultant is communicating with people. "Technical knowledge is not enough; you also must be able to communicate effectively with others," Fasel said. "When I talk about communication skills, I am referring to all forms of ‘transmit’ and ‘receive’ (for example: reading, listening, observing, speaking, writing, body language, etc.), and all in relation to the person(s) with whom you are trying to communicate (considering context, language, culture, background, age, etc.)." She continued, "Without effective communication skills educated people are much like fast fancy computers with crummy input/output equipment – they may be very good at processing data, but they may not be very useful." Fasel has been developing her communication skills since high school, when she took speech and debate classes. "At Purdue I took one of my favorite classes called ‘Principles of Persuasion’," she recalled. "Throughout my career I have made time for additional workshops and self-study as time and opportunity have allowed. In addition, the workplace provides a real-time learning laboratory on a daily basis."

To share some of the lessons learned from her consulting work, Fasel wrote a book, Partnering in Action, which offers guidance to business people for building and sustaining successful collaboration across organizational boundaries. She said, "writing the book provided a good way for me to summarize in one place some of the consulting work that I had been doing."

To current Purdue students Fasel advises, "Whatever you choose to pursue with your study of Statistics and throughout your career, you will do well to match your work to your aptitude and interests; navigate your career choices with perspective and preparedness; distinguish yourself with positive energy and enthusiasm; manage your career in relation to your overall life goals; and maintain your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health."

Diane Fasel received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, College of Science in 2006.

To read more Alumni Profiles, please visit our Alumni Profiles archive.

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