Lindsay Diaz, the events Manger for the Keller Williams Carolina’s Region, needed a speaker for the Culture Conference she was organizing. The conference would highlight the impact of Keller Williams people and give awards to individuals for the impact they had in their communities. Lindsay wanted a speaker who would inspire and entertain the audience and reinforce the commitment to making an impact.
Event organizers always feel pressure to find speakers who will deliver the goods. Lindsay turned to John and Mark X. Cronin, the father-son team that co-founded John’s Crazy Socks. The pair are keynote speakers who have brought crowds from conferences and corporate events to their feet and left them laughing and cheering.
How did it turn out for Lindsay and the Keller Williams Culture Conference for the Carolinas? Here is what Lindsay wrote:
“I have been with Keller Williams for 4 years and I have planned or attended at least 100 events since then and the two of you were by far my favorite speakers we have ever had. I know that feeling was not felt by me alone, we had non-stop feedback from people saying the same thing and people thanking me for finding you and bringing you to our region.”
In fact, John and Mark left such a strong impression, that Mark Brennaman, who is the Keller Williams Reginal Director for both the Carolinas and Northern Ohio and Michigan, brought the pair to speak at the Keller Williams Culture Conference in Ohio. He introduced them by saying, “We have a special treat for you today. John and Mark will inspire you, they will motivate you and they will show you what is possible. I am so glad we are able to get them to join us today.”
To make the events even more fun, John’s Crazy socks made custom socks for Keller Williams that John and Mark tossed into the audience at the end of their presentation.
John and Mark X. Cronin: Keynote Speakers for Keller Williams
Good speakers need to have the goods, meaning real substance to share, and they need to deliver it in a way that wows people. John and Mark start with their real-life story. John, who has Down syndrome, could not find meaningful work upon finishing high school, but the is a natural entrepreneur: if he could not find a job, he would create one. He told his father he wanted to go into business with him and eventually suggested that they sell crazy socks.
Ask John, why socks and he will tell you, “They are colorful, creative and always let me be me.”
They opened John’s Crazy Socks in December 2016 and have turned John’s idea into a nationally recognized social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness. John’s Crazy Socks features 4,000 different socks, making it the largest sock store in the world. But they do more than sell socks, more than half their colleagues have a differing ability and every purchase helps give back to their charity partners like the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Along the way, EY Named them Entrepreneurs of the Year, and they have testified before the U.S. Congress twice and spoken at the United Nations. They have been featured on CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, PBS, the Today Show and many other media outlets.
Mark said, “We loved speaking at the Keller Williams Culture Conference because we relate to the audience. They are entrepreneurs who want to have an impact. They understand that doing good in the community is good business.”
John and Mark worked with Lindsay to tailor their talk for the Keller Williams audience. They opened by sharing John’s story in a dramatic way and telling the story of how they bootstrapped the start-up of John’s Crazy Socks. Knowing how much culture matters to Keller Williams, John and Mark shared their simple purpose – Spreading Happiness – and the five pillars on which they built their business. And they shared lessons they had learned and how the Keller Williams real estate agents and staff could turn those lessons into action.
Throughout their talk, the audience paid rapt attention, breaking into applause frequently, laughing, and more than a few attendees shed tears. At the end, the crowd leapt to their feet to give John and Mark a standing ovation.
After a lengthy question and answer period – John and Mark love engaging with their audiences – John staged an impromptu dance party with dozens of attendees joining John for a little dancing, John then stayed around to take pictures and to meet with individuals who had follow up questions or wanted a personal conversation.
John said, “I love doing speaking engagements. I love meeting people and making them smile. Most of all, I want to show them what I can do and what all people with differing abilities can do.”
Mark said, “At the heart of our speaking engagements is a message of hope. We want to show what’s possible. And it is part of our mission to not only spread happiness, but to show what people with differing abilities can do and to demonstrate the power of inclusion.”
Kayla Garcia, the Event Organizer for the Ohio Culture Conference wrote, “Thank you so much to you and John for yesterday. I can’t tell you how much our group enjoyed the opportunity to hear from you both.”
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.