When n2y, the national leader in creating and delivering educational materials and curriculum for the special education classroom, planned their annual summit they wanted a keynote speaker that could inspire and encourage. They found what they wanted when they invited John and Mark X. Cronin, the co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, to kick off their gathering.
John is an entrepreneur who has Down syndrome, and together with his father Mark, the father-son team has bootstrapped John’s Crazy Socks into the world’s largest sock store. They have created a social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness where more than half their employees have a differing ability and every purchase leads to a donation to a charity partner like the Special Olympics.
Jane Benson, Chief Marketing Officer at n2y said, “John and Mark walk the walk and we wanted our people to hear about their success.”
John and Mark came through with a keynote speech that had the audience leaning forward in their seats, growing teary-eyed at times, laughing often, and ending with a standing ovation. One attendee said, “I’ve been going to company retreats for 20 years and this is by far the best talk I ever heard.”
Another attendee made a point of shaking John’s hand and said, “You reminded me why we do this work and why it is so important.”
Jane Benson wrote, “Your story was touching, inspiring, and joyful...and, the business aspects were highly relevant and insightful…your talk was truly the highlight of our week together.”
In their forty-five-minute talk, John and Mark shared the challenges John faced because of his Down syndrome and how he overcame them. They told the story of how and why they started John’s Crazy Socks, a tale they tell with humor and passion. They spoke of building a social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness and their Five Pillars, values on which they have built the company. And they spoke of the benefit of employing people with differing abilities and the impact a job has on their lives.
John brought the house down when he ended the talk by offering his advice, “Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Work hard and show what you can do.”
Afterward, John and Mark took questions and then met one-on-one with many of the guests. John posed for dozens of pictures.
The Weather Could Not Stop John and Mark from Fulfilling their Commitment
The n2y Summit took place in Nashville and John and Mark originally planned to fly to the conference from their home in New York. Mother Nature had other plans. For two days, they had multiple flights cancelled by multiple airlines at multiple airports due to snow and inclement weather.
The Cronins would not be deterred. They drove fifteen hours overnight to ensure that they fulfilled their commitment to speak at the n2y Summit.
“We made a promise to be there and nothing would stop us,” said John.
Mark said, “n2y does important work improving educational opportunities for special education students so this was personal and important for us. We wanted to come through for them.”
And Socks Too
To go along with their talk, John’s Crazy Socks made custom n2y Socks for their annual summit. John and Mark helped distribute the beautiful blue socks with the n2y logo after the talk.
“The socks were a huge hit!” said Jane Benson.
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 at virtual events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics, and the U.S. State Department, among others.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and speak at the United Nations on two occasions. 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 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 $700,000 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, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.