John and Mark X. Cronin, the father and son founders of John’s Crazy Socks, addressed the new members at the National Honor Society at John F Kennedy High school in Old Bethpage/Plainview. Their talk entertained and moved an auditorium filled with parents, teachers and the families of the 200 new inductees and ended with a standing ovation.
John and Mark brought a message of hope and optimism and congratulated the students on their achievements. They also brought a challenge to the audience. Using John’s life and their experiences in starting and leading John’s Crazy Socks, they asked three things of the audience:
- See the possibilities in themselves and others
- Overcome the obstacles that stand between them and a dream
- Make an impact in the world
John said, “I want them to follow their dreams, but they have to work hard to make their dreams come true.”
The pair spoke of how they have created a purpose driven business and the need for each of us to ask what difference are we making in the world and the lives round us?
Mark said, “We recognized the students for the honor they were receiving. They have worked hard and reached a high bar of achievement. Yet at the end of the day, what matters is the impact we have in the world.”
The father-son team are speakers in high demand and travel the country to address audiences, but connecting with students especially on Long Island remains important to them. John said, “I loved speaking with these students. This is where we live. We want to have an impact in our community and we want to help students.”
A Well Received Talk
In the days after their talk, John and Mark received many messages of gratitude from audience members, people sending notes of appreciation through emails, chats and social media with people calling it an “inspiring and impressive speech."
One person wrote “I was lucky enough to attend the Plainview Old Bethpage HS National Honor Society induction tonight and heard John and Mark speak. What a dynamic duo and a great inspiration for the students and parents. Thank you so much for sharing such great energy and wisdom!”
A parent sent a sweet message, “Thank you so much for speaking at the National Honor Society induction tonight! It was so moving.”
Brad Levin took to LinkedIn to share his reaction to the talk:
Tonight, while watching my daughter receive her acceptance into the National Honor Society (Sorry, an unavoidable and shameless proud dad plug), there were two amazing speakers with a remarkable story. Mark and his son John, who was born with Down's syndrome and almost never made it out of the hospital, told their story of John's Crazy Socks which was the idea of a child who was not supposed to even be here. They started by making home deliveries on Long Island and have turned into an over $6 million enterprise. They have been invited to the White House and designed socks for the late Barbara Bush. But this is not a story about a successful business, it is a story about purpose. Living with a purpose and touching as many people as possible. A purpose of giving to those who need more than they did. When most people would barely be able to cope with such a difficult situation, they flourished and this 22 year old is someone any of us would dream to be compared to! Thank you Cronins for sharing this story and inspiring my daughter and everyone else in that room!
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.” 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.