‘The Pursuit of Happyness: Meet the Real Christopher Gardner’

Christopher Gardner comes to Detroit to share his inspirational “rags-to-riches” story on Feb. 28, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at Detroit’s Music Hall Center. Gardner will discuss his struggles of being homeless and his incredible journey to becoming the CEO and owner of Christopher Gardner International Holdings. Unfortunate circumstances left Gardner and his toddler son homeless on the streets of San Francisco in the early 1980s. A man driving a red Ferrari became the major turning point in Gardner’s life. He realized what he wanted for his and his son’s future and what it would take to get there. As a father first, and a businessman second, Gardner’s story is one of overcoming obstacles, facing the daunting task of balancing life’s responsibilities, and ultimately succeeding. Despite not possessing any connections or a college degree, Gardner, who wanted to be a stockbroker, managed to earn a place in the Dean Witter Reynold’s training program and was offered a position there in 1981. Gardner spent time at Bear Stearns & Co. from 1983 to 1987, eventually becoming the top earner in San Francisco and later in New York. Gardner left in 1987 to establish Gardner Rich & Company, Inc., which has since expanded into Christopher Gardner International Holdings. Gardner’s bestselling autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, recalls this remarkable journey and is also the inspiration behind the movie starring Will Smith. African American Family Magazine’s Distinguished Speakers Series presents America’s most intellectual, inspirational and informative speakers who engage broad-based audiences by addressing issues such as history, race, literature, economics and education. The series has had notables, such as the late Coretta Scott King, author and poet Maya Angelou, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient Toni Morrison, Sheila Johnson, the world’s first black female billionaire and, most recently, former President Bill Clinton. “The Pursuit of Happyness: Meet the Real Christopher Gardner” is produced by African American Family Magazine. This event is also sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation, Central Michigan University, McDonald’s, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Metro Parent Magazine, International Black Expo, Inc. and Warner, Norcross and Judd. Partial proceeds from this event will benefit The Yes Foundation, a local 501c3 nonprofit organization that works to promote literacy in Detroit.

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