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Martina studied Architecture at London University in London, England, believing she wanted to be an architect. But half-way through her course she became passionate about lighting design and the possibilities of transforming spaces through light. After working a few years in England as a lighting designer, she came to Canada in the early 90s where she joined a firm of project managers and where she managed a team of eight engineers to develop energy performance improvements in 178 buildings of a major Canadian School Board. The work included design as much as project and contract administration. In 1996 she had the opportunity to work in Singapore on the team that designed and built the new line of the Singapore subway system, a total of 16 new stations. Here she envisaged and led the new countrywide transportation image and manual for the Singapore Land Transport Authority and resolved complex coordination and contract problems of complementary architectural contracts. A long-term ambition to do an MBA brought her back to Canada and after completing one in Strategic Management at the University of British Columbia in 2002, she started her own consulting firm which specialized in helping not-for-profit organisations make money, a choice that resulted from her wish to help the community. However, never forgetting her roots in design, she jumped at the chance to become involved in mentoring women in construction. Thus as co-founder and CEO of Wo-Built she strives to achieve a balance between hard business realities such as profitability and client satisfaction and the social dimension, the mentoring of women in construction.


ELIDA HUIGNARD - President 2006-2010, Lead Consultant

Elida is a Graduate Architect form the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who started her work in Toronto in 1977. She worked for Kelton Architects and Pellow Architects in several roles that included: interior design, preparing working drawings, project presentations, contract administration and construction supervision. In 1982 she started working for HN Construction as a project manager. She was in charge of the estimating and project supervision of numerous government projects like: schools, office renovations, court houses, immigration offices, and several private offices. In 1985 she founded her own company, Builtron Ltd with her husband. As Vice President of the company for more than 20 years, she continued to develop her strengths that include the ability to successfully coordinate difficult projects and achieve their completion in time and on budget. The nature of the work was: analyzing and responding to tenders, negotiating contracts, supervising construction, administering contracts, coordinating job sites and conducting project reviews and inspections with clients and government officials. Recognising that women have great talents that are well suited for the construction industry she became a strong advocate for helping women to enter the construction trades. As co-founder and President of Wo-Built this continues to be one of her main focuses. As Head of Operations for Wo-Built she contributes her top level organizational and team management skills to coordinate the work of an impressive mainly female construction team, to drive customer satisfaction and project completion in time, on budget and beyond expectations.



Deborah has worked within the residential construction field for five years and comes to us with a background in interior design and construction management. She brings a unique combination of skills and experience to many challenges that are imposed on today's residential builder. Deborah trained at Ryerson as well as the international Academy of Design in Toronto. Her work has been in both commercial and residential structures, working on homes, condominiums, spas and warehouse spaces. Deborah's understanding of construction and interior design has given her a competitive edge in this field. She can not only design a structure from the ground up, but she also understands the importance of the interior finishes that make a home complete. Deborah's philosophy is that your home should reflect the character and style of you and your family. To achieve this requires an empathy and understanding, a sense of balance and proportion coupled with effective and imaginative space planning. Deborah styles her projects based upon her clients so you can rest assured she will find you tastes and work with them. Modern or classical she will bring your vision to life and execute it to the letter. Deborah joined Wo-Built Inc. in September of 2008 so that she could contribute more to the support and development of women in trades. She believes that women bring a fresh and creative edge to the construction industry. Deborah is dedicated to supporting women in this industry and has commitment to bring forth a new perspective on the value of having women in trades.


OLGA GOUBAR - Consultant

Olga Goubar is a web developer and a professional blogger with wide fields of experience: Community Development, Software Development, Agile Search Engine Optimization, Extreme Graphic Design, Creative Content Management Techniques and Education. She provides social media strategic services to businesses and publishes our Wo-Built's Forum. Olga participates in the business development of the West Toronto Junction neighbourhood and she is an active volunteer for the Society of Internet Professionals.


DAWN PALFREEMAN - Artist/Design creator/Site worker

Dawn is a freelance artist who has worked independently on numerous projects since the early 80’s after doing some course work at the former Ontario College of Art. Since then she has worked as a senior artist for the localized Santa Claus parade and contributed design work to the annual Caribanna Parade. Her incredible artistry can be seen in a variety of other projects from full wall murals, commissioned paintings and portraits, and personalized greeting cards, usually cartooned. Dawn returned to school as a mature student because she wanted to expand her opportunities within the construction field. She graduated from her course in Construction Craft Working at George Brown College at the top of her class with a Dean’s Merit Award and a bursary for outstanding achievement. She comes to Wo-Built through the College’s placement program. Her abilities in both construction and art make her a valuable asset on site as well as in the office. Most recently she has worked with Martina Ernst on “Wobinna” (a new “anime” owned by Wo-Built Inc.) as illustrator and contributor to the storyline.