Christopher Gardner

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Biography

Christopher P. Gardner is the head of his own brokerage firm and lives in a Chicago townhouse — one of his three homes - with a collection of tailored suits, designer shoes, and Miles Davis albums. His path to this extraordinary success took a series of extraordinary turns. Just 20 years ago, Gardner was homeless and living, on occasion, in a bathroom at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, California.

Gardner's first book, The Pursuit of Happyness, is an account of his life story and was released in June 2006. Columbia Pictures has also completed production on a feature film based on Gardner's rags-to-riches tale. The blockbuster film stars Will Smith as Gardner and was released in December 2006.

Gardner's extraordinary story illustrates the nurturing and sustaining power of positive role models. He proudly acknowledges those who guided him—a mother who kept him grounded and uncles who served in the military. Gardner's belief in himself and his dreams, along with his refusal to give in to self-doubt, inspires audiences.

In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a marginally employed salesman and a single father, struggling with the mother (Thandie Newton) of his five-year-old son (Jaden Smith). When they are evicted from their apartment, Gardner finds himself alone with his son in San Francisco and no place to go. Even when Gardner lands an intern position at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he still can't make ends meet. Forced to live in shelters, enduring many hardships as he goes through their program, Chris refuses to let this dampen his spirits as he pursues his dream of security for himself and his son.

Speaking Topics

Breaking Cycles
Christopher Gardner is the head of his own brokerage firm and owner of three homes, a collection of tailored suits, designer shoes, and Miles Davis albums-but just 20 years ago, Gardner was homeless, carried all his possessions on his back, and lived-on occasion-in a bathroom at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland, California. A true testament to the perseverance it takes to make it from "rags-to-riches", Gardner tells his story of overcoming obstacles, "breaking cycles", and the motivation it takes to make your own success. Listen as he recounts his fears of failure, exhaustion of pursuit, and great appreciation to those that helped him. Gardner's storytelling captures his audience completely, and his humor lights up the room.

Entrepreneurship and the American Dream
Listen as Christopher Gardner recounts the story of how a red Ferrari became the turning point of his career, and ultimately his life. In this presentation, Gardner takes audiences from his days in the military to the day he decided he would pursue his career dream and become a stockbroker. As a father first, and businessman second, his story is one of overcoming obstacles, facing the daunting task of balancing life responsibilities, and ultimately succeeding.

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