Women Helping Women to host its first male speaker | Arts & Culture
His life is featured in the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Will Smith played Christopher Gardner. The real Mr. Gardner will be in Spokane on May 12th, as the first man to be the featured speaker at the Women Helping Women Fund luncheon.
The Women Helping Women Fund will share his story of overcoming obstacles.
Gardner is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and single parent. His inspirational story has made him a frequent guest on major news networks and publications.
Born February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Gardner’s childhood was marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy. Gardner never knew his father, and lived with his mother, when not in foster homes. Gardner credits his mother for his success as she taught him that in spite of where he came from, he could chart another path and attain whatever goals he set for himself.
In 1981, as a new father, he was determined to find a career that would be both lucrative and fulfilling. Fascinated by finance, but without connections, an MBA or even a college degree, Gardner applied for training programs at brokerages, willing to live on next to nothing while he learned a new trade. Despite his circumstances Gardner fought to keep his son. He says, “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father is, and that he isn’t going anywhere.”
Gardner earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program but became homeless when he could not make ends meet on his meager trainee salary. Today, Gardner is involved with homelessness initiatives assisting families to stay intact, and assisting homeless men and women who are employed but still cannot get by. In 1987 he founded the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago from his home with just $10,000.
As a single parent for 25 years, Gardner has demonstrated his concern for the well-being of children through his work with and on behalf of organizations such as the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Education Association Foundation and the International Rescue Committee. Gardner remains committed to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco; where he and his son received assistance in the early 1980’s.
You can purchase Gardner’s bestseller at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane.
For information on about the Women Helping Women Fund luncheon, click here