Clients Tell Their Stories at our AGM

At our 2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting (May 26–28, 2021), leaders of Ally Law member-firm clients operating in industries as diverse as artificial intelligence, supply-chain management and real estate, told their stories. Our panelists discussed the genesis of their big ideas, overcoming adversity, and achieving success in fast-paced, competitive marketplaces.

The panel:

  • Ellen Mell is a practicing patent attorney and CEO and founder of Custom Technologies LLC (St. Louis, Missouri), a provider of turnkey manufacturing, including product design, prototyping, production, launching and consulting.

    Ellen spoke about her family’s history of business successes and “failed experiences,” how addressing the challenges of global trade spurred the company to discover what it does best, what working in larger corporations taught her about building a strong, supportive team, dealing with fluctuations in supply and demand, and fostering responsible, local manufacturing.

  • Samuel Bertram is CEO and co-founder of OnePointOne (San Jose, California), which automates vertical and molecular farming to improve the health of humanity through plant-based foods and medicines.
  • Sam discussed his company’s goals in the areas of disease and hunger prevention. He and his brother (also a co-founder of OnePointOne) were spurred into action when they read that 1.1 billion people began the millennium malnourished. He talked about the value of learning from history, the importance of “fire,” and determining and pursuing your north star.
  • Jarrod Hofmann is general manager of engineering for Hofmann Engineering (Perth, Australia), a specialist provider of engineering and manufacturing services to Australia’s industry leaders.
    A third-generation leader of the family’s global business, Jarrod spoke on the challenges of overseeing factories located around the world, expanding into new sectors and markets, addressing legal requirements across jurisdictions, seeking peer support when developing strategies, and fostering a positive workplace culture.
  • Ian Gillespie is founder of Westbank Corp. (Vancouver, Canada), Canada’s leading luxury residential and mixed-use real estate development company, the world’s largest net-zero developer, and Vancouver’s largest developer of affordable housing.

    Ian described the launch of his company and its projects in multiple market sectors. He also talked about the importance of inspiration (once basic human needs have been met), responding to climate change, the company’s work with First Nations, developing a productive relationship with his legal advisors, and fostering positive partnerships with colleagues worldwide.

  • Julio Lopez is CEO and founder of alasxpress (Santiago, Chile), a supply chain and logistics company with warehousing, order preparation and last-mile delivery services in more than 320 communities across the country.

    Julio solved the lack of reliable last-mile delivery services in Chile by launching his own business. He discussed overcoming early challenges, building trust with customers and lenders, the importance of focus in order to overcome crises, the need for shared values in an organization, and how the execution of an idea is often more important than the strength of the idea itself.

  • Jason Trost is CEO and founder of Smarkets (London, UK), one of the world’s largest betting exchanges with a mission of pushing the known boundaries of real-time financial technology.

    Jason talked about the two pillars of his business model, the evolution of his company, the organization’s focus on “being human,” the varied — and regular — internal and external challenges that face entrepreneurs, tips for overcoming anxiety, setting personal markers of success, and working with partners and providers that care about your success — and vice versa.

  • Vanessa Taiah, is co-founder of MindHub (Buenos Aires), a training academy featuring intensive and innovative bootcamp programs that integrate education and employment across Latin America and the United States.

    Vanessa reviewed the founding of MindHub and its focus on talent development and placement. She described the important of resilience, their goal of emerging from the COVID-19 crisis stronger than they went into it, the value of trusted partners. She also talked about the importance of falling in love with the problem rather than the solution, pitching wherever possible and — most of all — thinking big.


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