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AARP Welcomes Chris Gardner as New Ambassador to Empower the 50+ Audience as They Undertake Their Own “Pursuit of Happyness"

Media Contact:
AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560


WASHINGTON (October 21, 2010)—The New York Times best-selling autobiography and acclaimed film The Pursuit of Happyness introduced the world to Chris Gardner who endured poverty, abuse and family alcoholism as a child and a period of homelessness in his late twenties while raising his infant son as a single father. But with hard work and tenacity, Gardner climbed the financial services ladder, eventually founding his own successful brokerage firm. As the new Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP, Gardner embarks on a new mission: to inspire and empower individuals to pursue their authentic happyness by sharing his own hard-won wisdom. His journey, as a father and a business owner, has been defined by overcoming obstacles, breaking cycles and embracing change. Whether seeking incentive to pursue new challenges, searching for fulfillment at a new stage of life, or crafting the legacy they want to leave behind, Gardner is uniquely qualified to empower people to undertake their own “Pursuit of Happyness.”

“Chris is the perfect guide to show our audience how to create a more meaningful future,” said Emilio Pardo, executive vice president and chief brand officer for AARP. “His message strikes a deeply personal chord and by connecting him with our members and the 50+ audience, we want to not only give people facing tough times hope, but also inspire them to rise above adversity and live their best lives.”

In his new role, Gardner will share the tools of empowerment that have been instrumental to his success – emotionally, financially and spiritually – online at He will regularly contribute “Mentoring Minutes with Chris Gardner,” short videos featuring many of the life lessons he has learned throughout his own journey, some of which he chronicled in his second best-selling book Start Where You Are. In addition, Gardner will participate in live online web chats where the 50+ online community can engage directly with him via a Q&A format. He will also continue to answer questions in his “You Can Do It” column in each issue of AARP The Magazine.

“There’s no expiration date on passion and curiosity,” said Gardner. “And there’s never a better time and place than right here, right now, to start. Each of us can make the conscious choice to look more closely at what we have and where we want to go. I hope I inspire the AARP audience to trust in their talents and convictions, let go of excuses, and embrace the excitement of what's next in their own pursuit of happyness.”

The misspelling of “happyness” with a “y” is intentional, as it was something Gardner noticed written on the wall of his son’s day-care center at a time when he was struggling. It made him smile and it came to represent the importance of “You” when defining and pursuing happyness. Your pursuit, and what success, growth, fulfillment, and enlightenment mean to You in Your life will be completely individual. Gardner will connect people to practical ideas and life lessons at, helping them get from where they are now to where they want to be.

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About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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