Chris Gardner offers message of hope, opportunities during keynote in Omaha

Omaha, NE – CEO and motivational speaker Chris Gardner says bad economic times are an opportunity for people to explore what they really want to do.

Gardner was the keynote speaker Monday at an event honoring seven Nebraska youth for overcoming obstacles and serving their communities. The winners of the D.J.'s Hero Awards receive a scholarship. The awards are sponsored by the Salvation Army.

Gardner was homeless and raising a son in the 1980s when he joined a brokerage firm's training program. He's now the CEO of Chris Gardner International Holdings. Gardner's life story was the basis of the 2006 movie "The Pursuit of Happyness."

He says young people should do something they really love, even if others don't support it. Gardner says they should also tune out negative messages in the media and listen to their true feelings.