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Chris Gardner will be the keynote speaker for the Chamber’s 2024 Voices of Vision



Fargo, North Dakota – Chris Gardner, a successful businessman, philanthropist, public speaker, and best-selling author, will be the featured speaker at the Chamber’s 2024 Voices of Vision event on Thursday, April 18. The yearly occasion will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Chief Provider: Nodak Insurance Co.

Since it topped the #1 Bestseller lists of the New York Times and Washington Post and served as the inspiration for the cult classic 2006 Will Smith film The Pursuit of Happyness, Gardner’s life story has gained international recognition. “That book was the story of my life,” said Gardner, “but I’ve always thought of it as the book of ‘us,’ meaning everyone who had every opportunity to quit, but didn’t. We all have the power of choice.”

Gardner had survived numerous cycles as a young man that could have easily brought him down and had brought many people down with him. However, in the early 1980s, he faced new challenges when he found himself a homeless veteran working as a caregiver for his small son in San Francisco, California.

“This was when I made the two most important decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” said Gardner, “and I was about to be tested to the nth degree. It was then I decided that my children would always know who their father was. I consciously chose to break every typical cycle that I was born into: child abandonment, child abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, fear, poverty and illiteracy. My second decision was that I would become world-class in whatever I did in my life. This led me to a nearly 40-year career on Wall Street, and I wouldn’t trade a single day of it for anything in the world.”

Gardner was asked two new questions recently that he felt compelled to respond to: What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Are you REWIREing or retiring?

Gardner’s goal for the next phase of his life is straightforward: he wants to improve other people’s lives so that everyone can still pursue the American Dream.

“I’ll see you on April 18 in Fargo, North Dakota, where we will give ourselves Permission to Dream and make life-changing decisions to improve and REWIRE our lives,” remarked Gardner. “If I can do this, then you can do that.”

“We are incredibly proud and excited to welcome Chris Gardner to our community,” said Chamber President & CEO Shannon Full. “Gardner’s life is marked by resilience, determination and transformative decision-making. I cannot think of a better individual to have spending time in our community and addressing our Chamber members than Chris Gardner. His life experiences and insights promise to inspire our attendees, and guide and motivate us all to reshape and ‘REWIRE’ our personal and professional lives.”
Tickets and sponsorships for the 2024 Voices of Vision event are currently on sale.