April 13, 2022
2021-22 Wise Webinar Series
Creative Approaches to Employment
Jonathan asked his teenage son, Fionn, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Fionn refined the question to “What do you love about your life?” and asked hundreds of people who do work he’s interested in, on camera. Nearly 3 million views later, the duo have become Happiness Experts.
A social entrepreneur’s job description is self-created, and Fionn (with Down syndrome) has a multi-faceted one: performing music, teaching children about nature, guest lecturing at universities, creating visual arts through various media, film making, political advocacy, international travel, etc., etc.
How do they make all this financially viable? By not worrying about financial viability. They follow their hearts, sometimes taking the slow road or wandering down random paths. And they love to unpack and reconstruct systems, so they fit the person rather than the other way around.
- Thinking outside the box
- Pulling things out from inside the box to use outside the box
- Redefining who your boss really is
Fionn Crombie Angus & Jonathan Angus
Fionn Crombie Angus and Jonathan Angus are son and father Co-Directors of Fionnathan Productions, a social enterprise. You can pronounce Fionnathan Fear nuthin’ – close enough.
They live in Ireland. Jonathan, who grew up in Michigan, taught children for 25 years. At the age of 7, Fionn (and his parents) took the Irish government to High Court to provide him support (he has Down syndrome) at the school of his choice. They learned to advocate early and often.
Fionnathan relies on a combination of grants and earned money to keep the lights on. Fionn became the first person with a learning disability in Ireland using government funding to direct his own support. The company hired Jonathan as the assistant to Fionn. Then the company hired Fionn, following his core passions to build an amazing career.
- He is a regular fixture of the Galway arts scene: a film maker, visual artist, and traditional musician
- His deep love of nature and studious efforts won him a place on the Heritage Council’s Experts Panel, teaching children in schools nationwide
- To help clarify Fionn’s goals, he’s conducted over 600 video interviews, asking “What do you love about your life?”. As a result, Fionn can rightly be considered a Happiness Expert.
- They are members of the National Down Syndrome Policy Group UK, which has led the effort to get the Down Syndrome Act passed, the most extensive law of its kind in the world.
- Fionn is the Co-Chair of the Inclusive Research Group for the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) and the first Steering Committee member in the organization’s 58-year history
Working with numerous organizations, they have led advocacy courses and family consultations; published works; served on government committees; and presented at conferences worldwide, and together they have visited over two dozen countries.