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Brian is one in 61,000

By Julie Shapiro, Writer

“I was a crazy teenager. I liked to party and get into trouble. I really put my mom through the wringer, but that was a long time ago,” says Brian Mayberry. He’s been with the health system for 22 years now, currently as lead painter at North Shore University Hospital’s engineering department. “But I turned out OK. I think I’ve made her proud.”

A lot of people would agree.

An artist by both nature and trade, Brian is passionate about creating things with his hands. After a stint in rehab, Brian decided to turn his life around and find a healthy outlet for his boundless energy – so he got crafty and started making his own costumes.

“I was always into Halloween, but I started taking it to extremes,” he explains.

That first Halloween after he got sober, Brian decided to take the day off from work and surprise everyone with his first creation – an alien costume, complete with giant purple head, sparkly spacesuit, and lifts for his shoes to make his already tall stature appear larger than life.

He was an instant celebrity, visiting the infirm, posing for pictures and spreading laughter and joy in an environment that is often filled with sadness.

“People in the hospital need a distraction – something to make them laugh. I love to laugh. And I’m a people person. So it’s a perfect fit.”

Since then, Brian has dressed up every year. But not just for Halloween. Once HR got wind of the talent and passion they had in this employee, they began inviting him to entertain at official events – staff parties, awareness days and such. Brian has created and dressed as a praying mantis, a mummy, Frankenstein, Doc from "Back to the Future," a miniature version of himself…and even the former executive director of North Shore University Hosital. “People thought that was a risky one, but I knew her and knew she had a sense of humor.”

He was right. She loved it.

He also started making custom longboards—a type of skateboard—and getting heavily tattooed, literally wearing his heart on his sleeve though the art on his arms.

“It’s been a long journey to get where I am today. But I’m happy and I get to laugh and connect with people as part of my job, so what could be better?”

Note: For Brian, Northwell Health has become a family affair. His daughter is pre-med at Hofstra University and hopes to attend Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell someday. And his son, a high school student and aspiring artist, joins dad at work every chance he gets, helping to beautify the hospital by painting murals on the walls.

Interested in joining the 61,000? Learn more about careers at Northwell Health.