A man who was homeless one day, became a millionaire because he did pursue happiness! Christopher Paul Gardner is an example of ‘rags to riches’. Gardner became the brand Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP which has a count of around 40 million members across the world. He is not just an entrepreneur, he is an author, a philanthropist and a single parent. Deemed organizations look up to his work as an inspiration. Gardner is an epitome of hardship- from nothing, he made it so big. He faced challenges of his life without stooping down for a moment. Today, Gardner has a mission to reach out to those 50+ people and encourage them to take up new challenges, carve an image that will put an impact on others. Chris wants to boost people that there is no particular age to search for fulfillment in life. You can do it even if you have crossed your 40s or 50s!
Harsh Reality Was Not A Roadblock for Christopher
Gardner was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 9 February in 1954. His childhood went through poverty, alcoholism, abuse, domestic violence and illiteracy running in his family. Unaware about his father’s existence, Chris lived with his mother Bettye Jean Triplett when he was not at foster homes. Gardner’s inspiration to carve a new path and attain whatever he wished to in his life is his mother. It was her ‘spiritual genetics’ that propelled Chris to leave behind his harsh past and believe that he can also set a goal and achieve it!
Christopher Gardner & Christopher Gardner Jr.
From high school, Gardner joined Navy. After his discharge, he moved to San Francisco to work as a medical research associate. He also got associated with a scientific supply distributor. A new phase of his life started with his son Christopher Gardner Jr. in 1981. New to fatherhood, Christopher was determined to find a career that would satisfy him and will also bring in money! His fascination for finance seemed to be the right track, but Gardner had no connections, no MBA degree, least to say a college degree! He was ready to live on almost nothing because he had already applied for training programs at brokerages and he was eager to learn a new trade. His wife was unable to cope up with these changing decisions of Gardner and left him. So, Christopher was left with no one but his little boy, but after fighting to keep his son despite adverse circumstances. Christopher says “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father is, and that he isn’t going anywhere”.
Rags to Riches- The Journey Had Started
Although he got a place in Dean Witter Reynolds training Program, he was unable to make both ends meet with the little salary he got. Life was getting miserable- His wife left him, he lost his home and he had a son to parent. The sun rose above him during his work period at Bear Steams & Co. from 1983-87- he emerged to become the top earner. Finally his life took up little pace in a positive light. In 1987, he founded the brokerage firm in Chicago- “Gardner Rich” with just $10,000 from his home. His company Gardner Rich LLC a FINRA was a registered broker-dealer platform. While expanding as an institutional securities brokers, it also got associated with corporate underwriting. Gardner’s company reached out to global markets through ordinary and ADR form, both.
Christopher Gardner~ An Inspiration For All
His passion for finance, and his determination to fight the gloomy days took him to a stature where today he contributes to homelessness initiatives helping families to stay together and also those men and women who are employed but homeless, National fatherhood Initiative, National Education Association Foundation, International rescue Committee. Christopher Gardner still remains to be committed to the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco- The place where he and his son found help in the early days of 1980s.
Honored by various awards, Christopher was a producer to the movie “the Pursuit of Happyness”. He released his biography with a desire to tell people that your backgrounds are not sole factors to define you. it’s your work, your determination and passion that ultimately goes to become your portfolio. Gardner comes from a background that had poverty as the king, but he had the courage to kick start with something he loved, something he was passionate about. The path to success is not rosy- but its not impossible to tread it! All you need to do is set a goal and chase it! Today Christopher Gardner is a father to two children, and lives in Chicago.