Kuala Lumpur, March 23, 2017: Standing with an imposing presence of over six-feet, dressed in a stylish suit, American entrepreneur Chris Gardner is not your homeless salesman you'd imagine, living on the streets of San Francisco with his toddler son.
Amongst the many rags-to-riches stories we know, the life-story of Chris Gardner is considered one of the most famous of all.
To those who are unfamiliar with his story, he slept in the toilets of railway stations, in public parks and under his desk at work, when his colleagues had left—all these, while caring for his fourteen-month-old son, as a single father with nothing to his name.
You want to watch the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness," inspired by Chris Gardner, whose memoir, was made into a film starring Will Smith in 2006.
The film, which went on to earn some US$307 million at the box-office, highlighting Gardner’s early life in the 1980s, portraying his son as a five-year-old (played by Smith’s own son, Jaden Smith) for dialog sake. "The truth is, at that time of our lives, he was still in diapers, and barely fourteen months old," he says.
CEO Summit, Terence Yao with Chris Gardner in his Chicago, Illinois office.
Despite all that, Gardner eventually succeeded as a stockbroker on Wall Street, and then founded his own stockbrokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co., based in Chicago. Today, the stockbroker-turned-motivational speaker travels around the world on a different mission.
Just days before, Chris arrived in town to present at the Global Transformation Forum, where he shares his philosophies and methods to creating a fulfilling, successful life based on positivity, tenancy and discipline—a theme that fits perfectly for the man of struggle and reputation.
All smiles: The team at Summit gets to spend some quality time with Chris Gardner.
So we got on the phone, sat down for a long overdue catch up, and discussed on everything—from the recent U.S. presidential election, family, parenthood, social responsibility, and work ethics to future plans.
Gardner also stressed on the fact that we are all masters of our own destiny.
He says, "we all understand genetics, you’re going to get your Mother’s eyes, your Father’s nose, and there is nothing you can do about it. But the spirit of whom you are going to become as a man or woman, I believe that you can choose. You can do, or be anything that you want to do or be."
To the proud Grandfather, age is just a number. At 63, he is showing no signs of slowing down. "In fact, we’re just getting started," says Gardner.