First Commerce, FSU Office of Research to Kick off E-Month with Power Forward Speaker Chris Gardner of “The Pursuit of Happyness” Fame

From homeless to successful Wall Street broker and entrepreneur, Gardner will share experiences on resiliency, adaptability, and being portrayed by Will Smith in film.
As businesses navigate uncertain and challenging times, First Commerce Credit Union and the FSU Office of Research aim to celebrate their resiliency and keep inspiring their entrepreneurial passion with the eighth annual event in the Power Forward Speaker Series. The latest marquee speaker is self-made millionaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist Chris Gardner, who will help kick off Entrepreneurship Month in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Gardner’s real-life story and bestselling autobiography inspired a critically acclaimed film, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring award-winning actor Will Smith. Gardner’s lessons of true grit and perseverance will leave audience members feeling empowered to do anything they set their minds to in business and in life.
The ability to bring a speaker of this caliber to Tallahassee is made possible through the support and partnership of the FSU
Office of Research, along with founding partner the FSU College of Business. Established as Tallahassee’s largest annual business event averaging 1,000 attendees, Power Forward with Chris Gardner is set for Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall on FSU’s campus. The Power Forward Speaker Series has established a solid reputation for bringing highly successful celebrity entrepreneurs to Tallahassee to share their personal journeys and experiences in business, as well as insights that provide tangible takeaways back to the community through our area business leaders.
Chris Gardner is an entrepreneur, international bestselling author and award-winning film producer. His autobiography, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” became a New York Times #1 bestseller and has been translated into more than 40 languages. The movie, inspired by his book, tells the real-life story of Gardner’s struggles as a single father who, after facing various hardships, ended up living on the streets with his young son. Gardner’s relentless pursuit of his dream to work on Wall Street despite insurmountable odds led to his highly successful career as a stockbroker and eventual founder of his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co.
Tickets go on sale Friday, October 1, for Power Forward with Chris Gardner at ($40* base price for main level seating and $30* base price for balcony seating; $10* for students – student ID required for college students). Tickets also will be sold at the FSU Fine Arts Ticket Office (in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building at 540 W. Call St.). A limited number of sponsorship opportunities including VIP events are still available. Visit for details.
Follow Power Forward on Social Media: #PwrFwd @FirstCommerceCU @FSUResearch
For more information about Power Forward with Chris Gardner, visit