Homeless to CEO

Today’s story is about the founder and CEO of Christopher Gardner international holdings, Chris Gardner. A lot of people know his life story from the Hollywood blockbuster – The Pursuit of Happyness but have no idea who he is.

Growing up, Chris had a difficult and troubled childhood. At a young age, his parents separated and his mother remarried. His stepfather made life difficult for him and his family. He physically abused his mum and siblings constantly and he was always on the wrong side of the law. Because of this, Chris mother was falsely convicted twice. Having no one to care for them, him and his siblings had to move into a foster home at 8 years old. Chris struggled.

As an adult, he got married but afterwards the married failed. He became a medical equipment salesman but failed miserably at it, his girlfriend at the time deserted him because of the state of his finances. He became homeless with his son and had to spend nights in different motels, parks, airports and one time, a public toilet. Like it showed in The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris toiled endlessly at a brokerage firm in the daytime and stood in long queues at homeless shelters, so him and his son could have a roof over their heads.

Chris Garder

Finally, in 1982, Chris passed the licensing exam and became a full-time employee of Dean Witter, a brokerage firm. 5 years later in 1987, he established his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co. where he owns 75% of the stock. His firm today has offices in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Chris story is one of Perseverance. It teaches us that giving up should never be an option.

Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.” – Simon Sinek