Our Team

Hannah Banana Board of Directors, Hospital Liaisons, and Committee Chairs: Who we are and What inspired us to get involved

Linda Brosterman, Secretary, Hospital Liaison

Jonathan Cohen, Web Development

Joyce Zeller-Endick, Hospital Liaison, I first met Hannah in 1969 when we were both in the clothing business and we became fast friends. My business changed when I became a portraits artist but our friendship remained strong.
My inspiration for getting involved with HBF of course was Hannah. She was a very unique person who despite her many health issues was always upbeat, fun loving and interested in how other people were feeling. She made everyone around her feel better. Joining HBF will help to keep her spirit alive. Providing therapeutic activities bags to chronically and terminally ill patients will help inspire positive energy and optimism which will help with healing and making their hospital stay a little more bearable.

Adam Katz, Hospital Liaison, I’m a NJ suburbanite who’s been married to my “club-med girlfriend” Dana for almost 10 years. Our children Evan and Alyssa keep us busy when we’re not at work. When I’m not with them, or at work, you can find me competing in athletic events such as the Mens Health Urbanthlon, Arm wrestling competitions or the Wall Street Decathlon. I recently lost my mom to a short, but courageous battle with stage 4 lung cancer and miss her every day. After this ordeal, I started to look for ways to make in impact on an issue that became deeply personal overnight. I love what the Hannah Banana Foundation stands for – and I know my mom would have as well. I think about the times that she was getting chemo, sitting in the bed for 6-8 hours and only wish I had known about HBF then. HBF is truly able to help the ones you love when they need it the most.

Brian Leddy, Social Media, Hospital Liaison, Brian Leddy is a web entrepreneur with an extensive background in finance and investment, formerly an analyst covering global retail companies at Pequot Capital Management.

Nowadays Leddy is the COO of New York based Crowdcentric which was founded as a means of bringing people together around the world via collaborative platforms that fuse real-world and online experiences, connecting people, content and conversation.
When he's not working he enjoys hoops, softball, squash, tennis, ping pong and everything 80’s.
It was an easy decision for me to get involved with the HBF. Seeing first hand what little entertainment exists for cancer patients in hospitals, I was drawn to do something about it by joining the HBF team. Cancer patients need "mental refreshments" more than most other individuals who are effected by illness. At HBF it is amazing to see how a relatively small group of people and small amount of resource can positively affect so many. To know that you are apart of this effort is incredibly rewarding.

Allan Lubarsky, Treasurer, HBF is an opportunity for me to put my business training to good use for a humanitarian cause. Through our hospital disbursements we make a difference in the lives of chronically ill patients. My satisfaction comes in know that we, at HBF, remain financially sound so we can continue and expand our mission in the future.

Anita Lubarsky, Vice President, Hospital Liaison HBF is important to me because Hannah Prisand was my dearest friend. I watched as she bravely lived with her disease and its side effects for over 30 years. She found a way to cope with and to ultimately overcome the fear that chronic illness can bring. One of her many coping mechanisms was to pass the hours spent in the hospital with games, coloring books and puzzles. Through the mission of HBF, Hannah lives on, and her ability to keep a positive attitude in the face of illness is an inspiration to others.

Bill McGee, Social Media A motivated entrepreneur has worked at various firms prior to co-founding SoundView IT Solutions, Bill enjoys volunteering. He was an active Volunteer with the Bedford Hills Fire Dept and in High School earned a United Way award for service hours to the community. He has assist with Rebuilding Together and volunteers for Swim Across America.

On a personal note, Bill enjoys playing Hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, etc. Bill is also the founder of youwantgame.com , emptynetgoal.com, fanrow.com and buckwire.com. Bill and wife Kelly are proud parents of their daughter Keegan and twin boys Lucas and Grady.

Allyson Paterno, Director of Book Sales, I am a mom and a special education teacher in Middletown, New Jersey. I have been involved with the Hannah Banana Foundation since the very beginning. The founder, Arin Amanda Prisand, has been my best friend since high school. Hannah became like family to me after many "family" vacations. She always made me smile and gave me confidence to be the best I could be. I think of her often and being a part of the foundation keeps her alive and brings joy to many!

Jesse Podell, Vice President, Hospital Liaison, Jesse Podell is a native New Yorker who is honored to have been involved with our cause since its nascence while walking in Central Park with his friend Arin Prisand & her funny work-out shoes. Early in life while suffering from chronic childhood asthma he was touched deeply by the impact the "little things" can have while you are in care at the hospital. He thanks Marianne & Shakisha at NYU Langone Medical Center for their partnership & support as well as all of his friends & family who continue to contribute to the cause. Jesse is a trader at Susquehanna International Group.

Gary Prisand, Vice President, Hospital Liaison, Benefit co-Chair

June Prisand, Director of Product Management, Hospital Liaison, I have been a registered nurse for over forty years. My oncology experience has allowed me to see first hand the effect of serious illness on patients and their families. The experience became personal when my sister-in-law/friend Hannah became ill. Always the non complaining trooper, Hannah amazed me with her ability to deal with the life changing issues she faced. With a smile and a giggle she tried to make life easier for her family and friends. Through Hannah Banana Foundation we can pass on the smiles to patients who need a lift during their hospital stay. Giving our gifts can make a difference for a day, an hour or just a minute.I know Hannah is smiling with them.

Jared Schulman, Hospital Liaison, I am a 25 year old from New Jersey presently living in New York City. I am currently working as a Digital Media Planner for a Business-to-Business Advertising agency in Soho where I strategize in developing targeted online media campaigns to designated C-level audiences globally. In my spare time, I enjoy exercising, hiking, photography and playing music.I first found out about HBF through my mother’s boyfriend, Gary Prisand, when he first told me about how he and his daughter, Arin, started the foundation in honor of his wife/Arin’s mother, Hannah.
I’d always felt a great sense of respect for the work that they had been doing and I always enjoyed attending all of the HBF Fundraising events. However, the significance of the foundation truly impacted me when I found out that my own mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in April of 2010. At that time, when I first felt the direct impact of cancer in my own life, it truly changed my overall outlook and I knew then that I needed to take part in this foundation which had already been helping other individuals like my mother; who are also in similar and very difficult health situations.

Mary Beth Staines-Gartland, Hosptital Liaison

Dennis Tang, Web Development

Lauren Vingiano, Director of Marketing and Development, Originally from Massachusetts, I came to New York City after graduating from the George Washington University in Washington DC, and I love living in Manhattan. I am a business risk consultant at an international security and risk consulting firm in NYC. I enjoy spending time with my big Italian family, traveling, cheering on Boston sports teams, staying active, and all things food related. Having grown up choosing arts and crafts over watching television, and playing cards every summer down the shore with my grandmother's 10 brothers and sisters, I always believed in the importance of keeping an active mind and being surrounded by loved ones. When I learned about the Hannah Banana Foundation in 2009, I instantly felt a connection to the cause. Just one month prior I had watched my best friend’s mother, Joyce Friedman, lose a 10 year battle to breast cancer. I wanted to find a way to spread Joyce's positive and uplifting attitude to other sick patients, and becoming involved with the Foundation was the perfect way. Although I never met Hannah "Banana" Prisand, I strongly believe that Joyce and Hannah - both exceptionally strong, fun-loving and quirky women - would have bonded over their passion for art, music, the beach, and positivity. As we work to brighten the lives of hospitalized patients, I hope to spread Joyce’s and Hannah’s message that "Laughter is the Best Medicine!"

Bram Weber, Legal Counsel, Hospital Liaison

Charlie Ziegler, Hospital Liaison