'Pursuit of Happyness' Inspiration, Christopher Gardner, Keynote Speaker at NationaLease's Annual Meeting

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Christopher Gardner, whose autobiography 'The Pursuit of Happyness' was made into an Academy Award-winning movie, brings his message of overcoming obstacles, breaking cycles, and helping others achieve their goals to the NationaLease 65th Annual Meeting. The gathering of independent truck leasing companies takes place Oct. 4-5 in Naples, FL.

Christopher Gardner, whose amazing life story was the inspiration for the dramatic film 'The Pursuit of Happyness', will talk about the keys to overcoming obstacles as the keynote speaker at the NationaLease 65th Annual Meeting on October 4 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL. His speech falls on the first day of the October 4-5 event.

Today Gardner is owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC, an institutional brokerage firm based in Chicago, but back in 1981, he was a homeless single father struggling to make ends meet on a meager salary as he worked his way up from the bottom in the world of finance. After serving in the Navy after high school, he was determined to find a career that would be both lucrative and fulfilling. But with no connections or formal college education, he took the one route available to him: as a trainee with brokerage firms. He and his son lived on next to nothing as he learned his new trade, but eventually he earned a spot at Bear Stearns & Co. and began his ascent to his current success. His life story was made into the #2 all-time domestic grossing dramatic film, starring Will Smith as Gardner.

"We're proud to bring Christopher Gardner to motivate and inspire our members," said Gene Scoggins, president of NationaLease, one of the largest full service truck leasing organizations in North America. "His message of overcoming obstacles, breaking cycles, and helping others achieve their full potential comes at the right time as we all face a tough business environment," he said. "NationaLease is an organization of entrepreneurs, owners of independent truck leasing companies in the United States and Canada. So his philosophy of life, one that says you can chart your own path and attain whatever goals you set for yourself, rings true to our members."

Gardner recently spoke about how he and his company are staying positive in the current business environment. "I don't just survive in times like these, I thrive. People keep saying that the sky is falling and no one has experienced this type of difficulty before," he said. He believes that entrepreneurs need to pursue what they are passionate about in order to succeed and to align themselves with others with similar goals. "Hire passionate people from the get go, people who want to be part of something big. Passion is contagious," Gardner noted. "The best decision I made as a CEO was to not participate in the recession. Now is actually a great time to be moving forward and hiring the best talent. Now we have the chance to hire the best."

A passionate philanthropist, Gardner is today very involved with homelessness initiatives assisting families to stay intact, and assisting homeless men and women who are employed but still cannot get by. In addition to heading Gardner Rich -- a firm specializing in the execution of debt, equity, and derivative products transactions for some of the nation's largest institutions, public pension plans, and unions – he is also the author of the autobiography 'The Pursuit of Happyness' and his newest book, 'Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be'.

He views his latest book, 'Start Where You Are', as a road map to his first book 'Pursuit of Happyness'. "'I kept receiving questions like 'How did you keep going?' and 'Why didn't you quit?' and later, 'What would you be doing now?' Start Where You Are is a blueprint to surviving and thriving. I see this climate as an opportunity to step up. We don't need cheerleaders right now, we need players."

More information on the NationaLease Annual Meeting can be found at http://www.nationalease.com or by calling 1-800-SAY-NTLS.

About NationaLease
NationaLease is one of the largest full service truck leasing organizations in North America, with more than 600 services locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, a combined customer fleet of 125,000 tractors, trucks, and trailers, and annual revenue in excess of $4 billion. The company provides comprehensive services for private fleets and transportation service providers and now comprises 175 independent businesses employing 22,000 people.

CAPTION:
Christopher Gardner, whose autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness was made into the #2 all-time domestic grossing dramatic film starring Will Smith as Gardner, will be the keynote speaker at the 65th Annual NationaLease Meeting, Oct. 4-5, in Naples, FL.

For a high-res photo: http://www.ancassets.com/Meetings/2009/AnnualMeeting/Gardnerhighres.jpg

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