At John’s Crazy Socks, part of our mission is to show what people with differing abilities can do. Part of that effort means we speak to people with differing abilities and their families about finding meaningful work. We want them to know that there are opportunities for them to work and how we need them to work. That commitment led us to speak with the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) in the Massapequa School District.
“I like talking to parents of students to let them know what their children can do,” said John Cronin. "I love what the SEPTAs do." John is not only an entrepreneur and co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks, John also happens to have Down syndrome.
“Speaking to SEPTAs and other parent organizations is important to us,” said Mark X. Cronin, John’s co-founder and father. “My wife and I remember the apprehension and uncertainty we faced when John was born. We want to re-assure parents that there is hope that their children will be able to find opportunities and meaningful work.”
During the talk, Mark spoke of the medical issues that John overcame including open heart surgery and how John could not speak when he was young, so he learned sign language and used an assistive voice device. Now John is a frequent public fed twice before Congress, spoken at the United Nations and addressed 22,000 people at Madison Square Garden.
John said, “I want parents to know what I overcame and that their children can do it too.”
“We share with parents what is possible,” said Mark. “We want to give hope.”
The talk John and Mark gave included a humorous and lively retelling of how they started John’s Crazy Socks. The pair describe the social enterprise they built and the five pillars on which they have built it:
- Inspiration and Hope
- Giving back
- Fun Products You Can Love
- Making IT Personal
- Making This a Great Place to Work
And they talk of creating a unified workplace where people with differing abilities work side-by-side neuro-typicals and why that benefits everyone. They echo their TEDx talk where they show how hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business.”
At the end of evening, John and Mark answered questions and took photos with the parents. One mother attending the talk told them, “Thank you so much. This talk was so inspiring and so helpful.”
Keynote and Event Speakers
John and Mark X. Cronin are frequent speakers at conferences and corporate events. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics and the National Down Syndrome Society among others.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations. Their work has been featured on many national news shows. They are winners of many awards including the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. They serve on the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable.
John and Mark recently recorded their second TEDx Talk entitled, “Hiring People with People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business.” That Talk is available on YouTube and the TED platform. Their first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is also available on YouTube and the TED platform.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $500,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.