- American entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, currently residing in Chicago.
- Founder and CEO of stock brokerage firm Gardner Rich & Co, based in Chicago.
- Inspiration behind the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness", starring Will Smith.
Up until 1980s, Chris Gardner was struggling and homeless, raising his two-year old son as a single dad.
So how did he, a medical equipment salesman, turn himself around into a millionaire?
As the story goes, the turning point in his life came when he was impressed and inspired by a sharp dressed man coming out of a red Ferrari, and asked him what his occupation was. When the man answered that he was a stockbroker, Chris Gardner knew what he wanted to do with his life.
From that point forward, Chris devoted his time and energy in joining the training programs offered by major stock brokerage firms, and in doing so, accumulated parking tickets worth $1200 which he couldn't pay - and ended up spending 10 days in jail for that.
his return, he found his live-in girlfriend vanished with his son,
cloths and all possessions; and yet, wearing the same cloths that he had
on since he was taken into custody 10 days back, he managed to secure a
position in a prominent brokerage firm's training program.
Stuff for the movies.. isn't it!
An Interview with Chris Gardner
But it goes to show the grit of the man, for sure. Gardner soon became a top trainee at the firm, by persistently making cold calls to prospective clients, at the rate of 200 calls/day, and soon became a full time employee, and was subsequently hired by Bear Stearns.
while he was able to get back the custody of his son, he secretly
continued to struggle with homelessness as he couldn't afford the rent
on his meager salary; consequently he was always on the run from daycare centers
to soup kitchens to wherever he could find a place for him and his son
to sleep at night - including on an occasion, a locked bathroom in a
California rapid transit station!
It took him several years to establish his brokerage firm - in an apartment with just one desk - which slowly grew with time, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So what is the secret to Christopher Gardner's success?
Is there one, other than his tenacity, determination, and his never give up attitude?
Will Smith received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Chris Gardner in the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness.