John and Mark X. Cronin delivered a moving keynote speech to kick off the annual conference for the Arizona Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Blending inspiration and motivation with practical notes on hiring people with differing abilities, the father and son founders of John’s Crazy Socks earned a standing ovation from the packed conference room.
Organizer Audrey Ellison rated their talk a 10 out of 10 and saying their speech “was loved by all.”
John and Mark mix comedy in with their passionate talk of how John, a young man with Down syndrome, could not find meaningful work, so he turned to his father to suggest they go into business selling socks. Starting by themselves, they have bootstrapped John’s idea into the world’s largest sock store offering 4,000 sock styles. More than half their colleagues have a differing ability. Along the way, they have been named EY Entrepreneurs of the Year.
On attendee said, “I loved hearing their story. They had me laughing and crying and ready to go out and take action. It was so inspiring.”
“We have a mission to spread happiness,” said John. “We want to show the world what people with differing abilities can do.”
“We are members of SHRM,” said Mark, “We understand the important role SHRM members play in hiring and building the culture within an organization.”
The pair also led a breakout session on hiring people with differing abilities. That talk led to a vigorous discussion on the mindset needed to employ a diverse workforce and practical steps companies can take to make it happen.
One participant said, “John and Mark are inspirational, but it is helpful to hear the speak about hiring because they have done it.”
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 National Down Syndrome Society, 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 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 $650,000 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.