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Women in Business - changing a male dominated industry.

Women are the backbone of our business and in a male dominated industry, they well and truly hold their own.

All of the Latitude Homes Franchise owners have a working woman director in key roles in their business and most have been with Latitude Homes for many years, in fact one of our Franchised regions has been operated and run by Debbie Middleton for over 10 years.


Debbie and her late husband Brian bought a Latitude Homes Franchise in the Hawke's Bay back in 2009. At that time Debbie's husband, Brian also owned a large steel shed franchise business. Brian thought that a Latitude Homes franchise was the future for him and Debbie, the problem was Brian forgot to tell Debbie that she would be running the Latitude Homes business.

Thrown into the deep end, Debbie started taking sales enquiries and building new homes for some fabulous customers who loved Debbie's open, honest and different way of doing business. Unfortunately, Debbie's husband Brian passed away 5 years ago. Debbie had to manage the business and her personal life on her own and has done that with aplomb. Debbie's business has almost doubled in the past few years due to some good growth in the Hawke's Bay area but more importantly due to Debbie's persistence and resilience to what must have been a very challenging time for her after her husband Brian passed. Most people would have given up and probably sold the business, not Debbie, she motored on, driven in her cause.

Debbie's team also consists of two other very talented women who help Debbie in the day-to-day running of the very busy operation.

Debbie and Team4 1


In the Waikato, Sue Payne and her husband Darrin run Latitude Homes Waikato, they are also joint venture partners in Latitude Homes South East Auckland and Waipa / King Country. Sue was a Chartered Accountant when they bought the Latitude Homes franchise back in 2009. Sue loved building houses so much she quit being an accountant and joined the building business and now excels in the challenging task of looking after all the accounts for the three businesses. Sue also looks over and controls all the process documentation and customer building contracts. A huge responsibility and a huge jump for Sue from being in a very secure position as an accountant in a large accounting firm.


Leisa Matthews and her husband Haimona have owned the Latitude Homes Northland franchise for 10 years now. Leisa had to help Haimona run the business while looking after four small children. No mean feat. Leisa was also responsible for the Interior Design of their new showhome in Whangarei and won Latitude Homes "Best Showhome Award" for outstanding presentation. Leisa is still involved with the business and they are currently in the middle of building a larger home for their growing family. We're sure Leisa will also put her award-winning interior design skills into this project.



Amanda Brew and husband Alix own Latitude Homes Wellington. They bought the franchise in 2014. Prior to joining Latitude Homes, Amanda was working at Kiwi Bank looking after international transactions and trades. It was a huge learning curb to go from banking to building, however, Amanda took it in her stride. Amanda is also involved in the day-to-day running of the business and at the same time, she's been raising two teenage boys.


Jess Laurie and husband Kurt own Latitude Homes Otago / Southland, they started their business in 2015 when Jess was pregnant with their first child. Jess is very much involved with the day-to-day running of the business and now has a little girl, Elizabeth, to add to the family. Jess runs the operational side of the business and is also known for her inspirational touches to the business such as the wonderful gifts that she gives to customers when they hand over their new home. Jess and Kurt also buck the norm by having a woman in the Project Managers role. They find that their project manager, 'JC' can often be a more calming influence on building sites than their male counterparts.


In Taranaki, Kate Wellington and her husband Graham bought the Latitude Homes Franchise just 4 years ago. Kate was 8 months pregnant when they decided to go out on their own. Kate has been actively working in the business from day one and had another little boy 2 years later. Kate never missed a beat and was back to work shortly after giving birth, little ones in tow. The babies are now part of the team and even have their own little Latitude Homes uniforms. Kate and Graham's business was recently awarded a Housing Community Project building 50 units for the Palmerston North City Council for the elderly community - an incredible effort from the team and a huge acknowledgement of Kate's ability to effectively grow a successful business and family.

KATE and Kids3


In the last couple of years we have had four new franchise owners come on board. Ang Falgate joined the team with her husband Todd and manage the South East Auckland region. Talia Lynch and husband Michael look after Nelson and the West Coast. Gauri Rane and husband Mike look after North West Auckland. Lee Hughey and husband Ross look after Waipa / King Country region.


Kelly Hunter and husband Marc run the Latitude Homes Franchise Group. Kelly and Marc started Latitude Homes in 2007 and they have been in the building industry for well over 20 years. Kelly is a fundamental part of the overall Latitude Homes operation and is key to the success of the business. Should Marc go to meetings with the team without Kelly the first question everyone asks is, where's Kelly? It's this type of response that shows that within the Latitude Homes environment partnerships are key - there are no bit players.


Not only are women a powerful resource in the Latitude Homes Group, but a couple of Latitude’s key suppliers also have women at the helm. One of them being Smokeylemon, Latitude's Advertising, Marketing and Web Design Company, owned and run by Mandy McGregor since 2001. Mandy and her team have been an absolute asset to the Latitude business. They bought a fresh and exciting new dimension to how we promote our business and we have never looked back. The experience that Mandy brings to our group is invaluable.

Mandyx3 2019

Another key supplier and long supporter of Latitude Homes is Karin Cunningham from Plumbing World. Karin's position at Plumbing World is National Commercial Manager. Karin recently won a scholarship from Women in Leadership Australasia to complete a Masters in Leadership at Monash University in Melbourne. To top things off Karin also recently received an Excellence in Construction Award from the National Association of Women in Construction.

Karen Cunningham

So if you are looking to build a new home, work with the team that understands the importance of partnerships. Talk to your local Latitude Homes builder today.

Latitude Homes can help you get the home of your dreams