Breakfast Keynote Presentation
Mark & John Cronin-CO CEO’s John’s Crazy Socks
John and Mark X. Cronin are the father-son team that founded John’s Crazy Socks. John is an entrepreneur who just happens to have Down syndrome. You may know them for being named EY Entrepreneurs of the Year or testifying before Congress or speaking at the UN. You may know them because John became “Sock Buddies” with President George H.W. Bush. Or you may know them for having grown a bootstrapped start up to a $5 million dollar business in less than three years.
John’s Crazy Socks is an internationally recognized social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness and show what people with differing abilities can do.
Their mission infuses all aspects of their business. More than half their employees have a differing ability. Their Giving Back Program starts with a 5 percent pledge of profits to the Special Olympics and has raised over $400,000 for their charity partners. They have attracted over 27,000 online five start reviews. John’s Crazy Socks has over 235,000 Facebook followers and 50,000 Instagram followers.
You will love their socks, but the socks are just the physical manifestation of the happiness they share.
Suffolk County Sheriff- Dr. Errol D. Toulon Jr.
On January 1, 2018, Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Ed.D., became Suffolk County, New York’s 67th Sheriff and the County’s first African American to be elected to a non-judicial countywide office. As Suffolk’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, he is working to serve and protect the county’s 1.5 million residents through innovative programs to reduce crime and recidivism, and by implementing sound fiscal policies.
Sheriff Toulon is highly focused on using data analytics and technological assets to capture crime patterns –which are used to uncover trends like drug dealing in local neighborhoods and the movement of international gangs encroaching into parts of Suffolk County. Early in his term, he reorganized departments into multi-disciplinary teams focused on corrections intelligence gathering, violent crimes, gang activity, and human trafficking.
In his first year, Sheriff Toulon launched the Sandy Hook Promise School Safety Initiative in the wake of heightened violence in schools nationwide. Since then, more than 22,000 students have been taught to recognize the signs of a peer in distress, especially on social media, and how to report concerning information to a trusted adult.
He has also prioritized getting to the root causes of youthful delinquency and inter-generational crime. In October 2018, Sheriff Toulon launched a task force named Deconstructing the Prison Pipeline to study these issues, drive policy discussions, and implement solutions. Simultaneously, he greatly expanded correctional rehabilitation programming aimed to reduce recidivism and improve offenders’ desistance from crime. In just two years, he launched Choose Your Path for young adults, Choose to Thrive for incarcerated women, a Senior Citizen Program POD, and made significant improvements to the Sheriff’s Addiction Treatment Program. He also launched the nation’s first jail-based Human Trafficking Initiative, which assesses all county inmates for signs of victimization. Programming is offered to both pre-trial and sentenced individuals. It aims to address the needs and deficits correlated with criminal activity, such as substance abuse, mental health issues, limited educational and employment skills, transportation, housing, and identification issues. In February 2020, Sheriff Toulon launched the START Resource Center on the grounds of the Yaphank Correctional Facility. The fully staffed center provides a continuum of case management services for individuals exiting the county jail.
Sheriff Toulon has more than 30 years of criminal justice experience, heavily centered upon corrections intelligence and combating gang violence. Prior to serving as Suffolk County Sheriff, Errol worked for 25 years with the New York City Department of Correction beginning his career as a NYC correction officer and culminating as the Deputy Commissioner of Operations. He was assigned to the Emergency Service Unit as a captain during a challenging time when the department housed almost 25,000 inmates. He was a captain assigned to the Firearms & Tactics Unit when the World Trade Center was attacked. In July of 2014, he was named Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the New York City Department of Correction.
Sheriff Toulon is certified through the Department of Homeland Security in Emergency Planning, Radiological Emergency Management, Incident Response to Terrorist Bombing, WMD Threat and Risk Assessment, and State Disaster Management. He is also certified to teach courses in weapons of mass destruction awareness, National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), domestic terrorism, and hate crimes. He received his master’s degree in Business Administration and doctorate in Educational Administration from Dowling College. He earned an advanced certificate in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University and attended leadership courses at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
Robert Vitelli, LBGT Network
As the Chief Operating Officer, Robert provides the leadership and day-to-day management for the LGBT Network’s Program, Community Partnerships, and Development Departments, and serves as a member of the Finance Team.
Robert served as the organization’s first development officer in 2005, and since that time has raised more than $10 million to support programs for the LGBT community, including anti-bullying, HIV prevention, sexual health, and older adult services. Prior to his development role, Robert began working at the organization in 2001, and served in various capacities as a community educator, organizer, and project director.
Robert has a history of designing and establishing new far-reaching initiatives. Robert conceived and designed the LGBT Network’s National Coming Out Day Campaign, and subsequently established its Safe Schools Initiative as a programmatic centerpiece. His experiences in creating the Safe Schools Initiative has been published in “Gender and Education: An Encyclopedia” (2007). As a fundraiser, he designed and launched the LGBT Network’s Partners in Pride business program in 2007 and Long Island LGBT Expo in 2009, increasing the organization’s community profile and building a sustainable corporate sponsorship program. In 2014, Robert designed a national capacity-building project to help LGBT centers across the country to enhance and expand their domestic violence services; he wrote and won the organization’s first federal competitive grant securing $600,000 to launch the project. Most recently, in 2015, Robert also secured $500,000 from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) to renovate the LGBT Network’s new Patchogue LGBT Center as the first eco-friendly sustainable LGBT center on the East Coast.