He may not have landed the biggest clients or made the most money, but multi-millionaire stock broker Chris Gardner is possibly one of the most successful stock brokers in the world. From living on the street, bathing in public restrooms, and having to spend ten days in jail, Chris Gardner has crossed valleys and moved mountains on his way to creating his own successful and internationally-known stock brokerage firm.
When he first decided he wanted to be a stock broker, he didn’t know a single one or even what one did. All he knew was that he wanted to be like this man he was talking to in the parking lot that day – impeccably dressed behind the wheel of a Ferrari, and earning $80,000 a month as a stock broker. How he would become a one himself and what that meant, well, he hadn’t figured that out just yet. Nevertheless, he knew he was going to do it.
After much persistence, he finally got an interview with Dean Witter – the fact that he had just gotten out of jail and had no clean clothes let alone a suit was not about to stop him from this one shot at becoming a stock broker. He told the interviewer the plain truth about his situation and it seemed to work; he was hired on the spot and placed in the company’s training program. In little time, he was on his way to living his ultimate dream.
Left to care for his young son on his own with no home to live in and subsisting on a meager trainee’s salary, nothing was about to discourage Chris Gardner from his dream of becoming a stock broker. He never told his coworkers that he spent his nights with his son sleeping in locked bathrooms at subway stations – it didn’t seem to matter.
In 1981, he passed his licensing exam on his first try and could now officially practice at Dean Witter. Eager to demonstrate his ability, he would always be the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave in the evening. Hour after hour, he spent his time making cold calls to attract new clients to the firm. His success as a stock broker was noteworthy, but perhaps even more significant for this single father was the day he was able to finally afford to rent an apartment for him and his young son.
In 1983, Chris Gardner became a stock broker at Bear, Stearns & Co., where he quickly rose in the ranks and became one of the top producers in both San Francisco and New York. His success there led to the creation of Gardner Rich & Co. in 1987, which later expanded into Christopher Gardner International Holdings. Today, with business in North America and Africa, Chris Gardner has become one of the most successful stock brokers in the industry. Not bad for a man who just less than ten years ago didn’t even know what a stock broker did.