Success Stories

Christopher Gardner

Sep 24, 2017

Christopher Gardner was born on born February 9, 1954 in Wisconsin. Growing up, Chris did not have many strong male role models. His father wasn't living in the same state, and his stepfather was abusive. His step father falsely accused his mother of trying to burn down their house, and Gardner and his siblings were placed in a foster home. He later learned that his mother was in prison. He grew up telling himself “you can only depend on yourself.”

Gardner decided to enlist in the U.S Navy. After being stationed for 4 years in North Carolina., Gardner accepted a position assisting cardiac surgeon, Dr. Robert Ellis. By 1976, Gardner was in charge of a laboratory and performed various surgery techniques. One year later, Gardner married Sherry Dyson. As time went on, he realized with 10 years of medical training ahead of him, that it would be best to leave that field. Their marriage ended shortly, but took 9 years to legally become divorced. In those 9 years, Gardner welcomed his son with Jackie Medina.

Gardner was working at UCSF as a research lab assistant at the time, but realized he couldn't support his girlfriend and his son on his $8,000 a year salary. He later returned to San Francisco to peruse his dream in business success. He ran into a man named Bob Bridges, dressed very well, driving a red Ferrari, and asked him about what he does for a living. After learning Bridges was a stockbroker, Gardner had his career path decided. He was accepted into the E.F Hutton training program. He quit his job to focus strictly on training to be a stockbroker.

When he got to work on his first day as a stockbroker, he learned his manager had been fired. At the same time his relationship with Jackie was going downhill. When she tried kidnapping his son, Gardner took off after her, where she gained some scratches. He was taken to jail, and Jackie took his son to live with her on the East Coast. He was unable to meet his living expenses when he returned home from jail to an empty apartment, no college degree and the same clothes he was arrested in. Gardner became a full time employee of Dean Witter Reynold, and he was later recruited by Bear Sterns and Company in San Francisco. Jackie returned with his son 4 months later, and Gardner accepted sole custody. The home he was living in did not accept children, and Gardner and his son quickly became homeless. A few years later he reconnected with Jackie and they welcomed a second child, daughter Jacintha, although they did not pursue a relationship.

In 1987, Gardner start his own brokerage firm called Gardner Rich & Co, based in Chicago Illinois. The company started with a capital of $10,000 and one desk, which doubled as a kitchen table. In 2006, Gardner sold his company in a multi million dollar deal. He then became CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings, in three locations, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. He wrote a book called “The Pursuit of Happyness” which later became a film starring Will Smith. Today, Garden has spoken in countries and continues to travel the world as a motivational speaker.

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