Christopher Gardner, whose autobiography “The Pursuit of Happyness” was made into a film starring Will Smith last year, will be the keynote speaker during The Rental Showat the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The keynote session, sponsored by Multiquip, is Feb. 12.
Gardner will present his remarkable story of struggle, faith, entrepreneurship and fatherly devotion — as well as how to break the cycles that hold you back.
“Christopher Gardner demonstrates the value of perseverance and determination,” said Chris Wehrman, American Rental Association CEO. “It’s a motivating and uplifting life story with a message that will inspire everyone who attends his presentation at The Rental Show.”
Always hardworking and tenacious, Gardner became homeless in San Francisco during the early 1980s and the sole guardian of his toddler son, Chris Jr. Unwilling to give up on his son or his dreams of financial independence, Gardner started at the very bottom of the financial industry ladder — earning a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program even without a college degree. The meager stipend he received as a trainee meant that he was one of the working poor, someone with a job who couldn’t make ends meet. His co-workers never knew he spent his evenings trying to arrange for day care, and find food and a safe place for him and his son to sleep.
Often spending nights in a church shelter or the bathroom at a Bay Area rapid transit station in Oakland, Calif., Gardner was the sole trainee offered a job at Dean Witter Reynolds in 1981. He spent 1983 to 1987 at Bear Stearns and Co., where he became a top earner. In 1987, he founded the brokerage firm Gardner Rich and Co. in Chicago. Today he is the owner and CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings with offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. He also is a passionate philanthropist committed to many charitable organizations. His autobiography was published in May 2006 and was a New York Times bestseller.
The Rental Show is scheduled for Feb. 11-14, 2008.