Chris' Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Opportunity Youth

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Chicago, IL

CHRIS GARDNER

Entrepreneur/Author
Gardner Rich, LLC, Christopher Gardner Media

“We all come from some place we didn't necessarily choose, but we can choose where we're going, and we can lead those behind us by example.”

INTERESTS:

Business Writing

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Perseverance Determination Experience Opportunity Focus Goals Hard Work Family Struggle Support & Encouragement

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

abuse, advice, alcoholism, business, career, choice, choices, commitment, family, future, homeless, Hurdles, military, negative, positive, positivity, poverty, rest, study, violence

BIOGRAPHY:

  • One of his earliest memories was of his stepfather kicking him out of the house at gunpoint on Christmas Day.
  • Although everyone expected him to become his alcoholic, illiterate, abusive stepfather, he made a decision to say, "This stops with me."
  • Joined the Navy after high school; says that until he went into the military, the worst violence he'd ever seen was in his own home.
  • Says most people keep their skeletons in their closets, but he keeps his on his mantlepiece, looks at them everyday and says, "No, you didn't."
  • In his effort to make a better life for himself, he took an unpaid position at Dean Witter, the largest stock brokerage firm in America.
  • Although the job would pay off in the long run, as a single father, the lack of salary left him homeless; lived in an Oakland BART station on and off for a year.
  • Eventually he started his own brokerage firm, went back to BART, gave a presentation to their investors, and won their business.
  • Wrote a book called The Pursuit of Happyness based on his life's struggles and triumphs; it was later developed into a film, and starred Will Smith.

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