Paul Callahan

 Paul Callahan, Chief Executive Officer

Paul is a national figure in the USA, is known for his ability to “overcome adversity,” and shares his knowledge and beliefs with others who have encountered challenges in their lives.

A quadriplegic and two-time USA Sailing Paralympian, Sail To Prevail is Paul’s effort to share his skills, business experience and strategies with others. Having assembled a broad range of like-minded philanthropists, thinkers, business leaders and sailors to create opportunities for others, Paul harnesses these intentions and expedites the outcomes with proven results.

A graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, and subsequently worked at the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs & Co in New York City, Paul landed in Newport, RI, to assist a fledgling non-profit organization. From this experience, Paul created Sail To Prevail – The National Disabled Sailing Program. Now that the program has matured, Sail To Prevail is the largest and most effective sailing program for people with disabilities in the USA.

Paul’s ultimate goal is to replicate the methodologies and results of the Sail To Prevail programs worldwide, in a cost and time efficient manner.

With a focus on marine activities, Paul has served on the Board of Trustees with the NYYC, the Membership Committee and, more recently, the USA Olympic Sailing Committee, as well as President of the USODA, the largest organization of youth sailors in the country.

Along with his executive and strategic responsibilities, Paul thoroughly enjoys being in close contact with the participants of Sail To Prevail and sharing his knowledge directly with the children and veterans with disabilities who are on similar missions to fulfill the potential of their lives.

Mary Beth Dolohanty

Mary Beth Dolohanty, Financial Manager

Mary Beth grew up in the Midwest, including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, but traded the plains for the ocean and has lived in RI for 31 years. Her education includes a Michigan State University BA in Accounting and an MBA from Babson College. For 14 years she co-owned and managed The Market – Newport Gourmet and Blackstone Caterers, which provided excellent service and gave back in numerous ways to the community. The Market donated lunches for Sail To Prevail fundraisers for several years.

Mary Beth works as Sail To Prevail’s Financial Manager and ensures that all of the paperwork is in order so the entire program runs flawlessly. She is an avid hiker and traveler, enjoying escapes to the White Mountains. Traveling also gives her the chance to catch up with family, including nine siblings spread across the country.

Patty Brdar

Patty Brdar, Executive Assistant

Patty Brdar came to Sail To Prevail in 2010 as Executive Assistant. Her innate organizational skills are put to the test to keep up with CEO, Paul Callahan. She is intelligent and creative and has 30+ years of administrative assistant experience in businesses and the non-profit world. Patty works with Paul in Florida most of the year and relocates to Newport each summer “where the action is” when the sailing programs are in full operation.

Patty is not a sailor but will be the first to hop aboard as a passenger if the opportunity arises, preferring peaceful “cruising” on the water (the bigger the boat, the better!) rather than the “thrill” of racing. Patty is an independent and adventurous person in terms of travel and life choices. She left her small home town in Pennsylvania at age 18 to experience life in Hawaii where she resided for 13 years. She was then motivated by her Christian faith to move to Jerusalem for a first-hand experience of Israel’s people, culture, land and language. She has since lived in So. California, as well as traveled the world on her own. Her creativity is expressed through photography and graphic arts.


Stephen Piserchia, DC, FMCSA ME is the Fleet Manager for Sail To Prevail.  Dr. Steve came to us after learning about our program at a local fundraiser for Sail To Prevail.  Once he saw the need for someone to manage the fleet and keep an eye on their condition, he offered to run the physical facility and, most importantly, make sure everything is in working order.  He is a full-time volunteer who has a passion for sailing, cooking, helping others, and keeping the fleet in tip-top shape.  He feels the most rewarding part of his work is witnessing the true enjoyment that our participants receive when they spend any time on the water.  Therefore, he wants to make sure that the fleet is up to the demands and safety standards that are worthy for our sailors.  Dr. Steve is usually behind the scenes keeping everything in working order and making sure that everything is in the right place at the right time.  Dr. Steve and his wife Laurie reside in Newport, RI in the Yachting Village.


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  • "Even people that do not swim get over their fear of the water and relax. Thanks for the experience!”

    Pattie (Spurwink RI) Program Directors and Staff
  • Most people from our group have never sailed before. Everyone absolutely loved it, and many say it is a high point of their summer. The young people you have working there are exceptional in making everyone feel comfortable sailing, whatever their level of ability.

    Elinor (Director, MS Dream Center) Program Directors and Staff
  • All our residents had a phenomenal time sailing. It brought back many happy memories from the past of sailing excursions with their families. And for one, it was his first time ever! (age 82!!). I hope we can do it again next year!

    Judy (Harbor Hill) Program Directors and Staff
  • Thank you for all your help and efforts in making this summer a success with my fieldwork requirement. I have loved every minute of my time at Sail To Prevail, and I hope to make it possible with my schedule to return next summer!

    Abbey (Sailing Instructor) Sail To Prevail Staff
  • Working for Sail To Prevail was a life-changing experience for which I will be forever grateful.

    Coral Hines (former Sailing Instructor)
  • David, I just wanted to say thank you for an amazing event yesterday. The feedback is still coming in and it's all positive. Looking forward to discussing the volunteering opportunities which could take place later in the year between Sail To Prevail and Bank of America.

    Robert Wilson Bank of America, Belle Haven Challenge Cup
  • What struck me the most was that the kids were actually sailing. What a wonderful and engaging activity for youth and adults alike! I didn't realize how successful it could be to promote self esteem and confidence.

    Sue Donovan, Barrington Circle of Friends
  • Over the past summer, I've seen the students at Cornerstone school flourish when attending the Sail To Prevail program! The students at Cornerstone are often times unable to participate in activities afforded to a typical student but Sail To Prevail has done an amazing job of adapting their sailboats and equipment to allow our students to have the same experience! The staff have done a exceptional job making our students feel welcome and accepted, often times teaching the student to steer and take control of the sailboat! From week to week, the students continuously looked forward to taking the trip down to Newport. Sailing with Sail To Prevail has become a featured highlight of Cornerstone Schools summer schedule!

    Lauren Windsor, Cornerstone Schools
  • Hope we get to do this again next year - students absolutely love it!!

    Bonnie M. Eddy, Administrative Assistant, Cornerstone School
  • Over the past four weeks we had participants signed up for 34 camp sessions. The demographic that we have served include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, scoliosis, hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorder, right-sided hemiparesis, cortical visual impairment (from TBI), muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis and spinal cord tumors, heart transplant recipient, chiari malformation, Charcot Marie Tooth, hereditary spastic paraplegia, and Spastic Diplegia caused by spinal cord injury.

    Sarah Kirwin, Director, Sail To Prevail, Confidence is Cool Camp
  • For the times we went sailing this year, The LaPlante Center clients had a terrific time! Being in Wakefield, we are close to the ocean and Sail To Prevail gives our clients access to the ocean just down the road. Without you, they would not have another opportunity to sail. Thanks again to all of you and we are looking forward to next season!

    Joni Lonczak, La Plante Center
  • As in the past, our students truly love sailing with you. Although we do have other summer activities, sailing is by far our students' favorite. Without Sail To Prevail, they would never experience the thrill of sailing….We are so very grateful to Sail To Prevail for … the experience of a lifetime for our students.

    Bonnie M. Eddy, Administrative Assistant, Cornerstone School
  • It is like nothing else they have experienced, and it really does have a long term effect on them. It makes them more positive and excited for life.

    Penny Merris, Director of Day Services, West Bay
  • We took a total of six boats of people from the MS Dream Center RI sailing this summer … Most had not sailed before and a few had sailed for the first time last year with our MS group with Sail to Prevail and enthusiastically returned this year. Without a doubt, they all loved it ... As with MS, there were all levels of disability, from people who look like they have no impairment to paraplegics. It was amazing to see those who really got into handling either the tiller or sails. They all felt empowered and "normal" having the outdoor experience in Newport Harbor. For the group who went in June, they were excited to be amongst the America's Cup trial boats as well as some of the big ocean liner cruisers.

    Elinor Thompson, MS Dream Center RI
  • The kids and staff once again had a wonderful summer sailing with your staff! Our clients are individuals with development, physical and verbal disabilities. They find sailing the best part of the summer and an activity they are proud to tell friends and family they were able to go do but also to participate in. From helping steer the boat, pull lines, and grind winches. All of the activities are beneficial therapy for the body and mind! Thanks again for the opportunity to sail, and we look forward to sailing again next summer.

    Deb Christensen, Aquidneck Island Day Camp
  • …everyone wants to go sailing! … we work hard to make it possible for everyone to go. We can not wait for next year already!

    Elaine Scott ARC of Blackstone Valley
  • Sailing we know they like – it puts smiles on their faces. We notice how much it makes them relax for days and weeks after. It helps the staff coordinate with each other and with the clients. Everyone benefited.

    Penny Merris, Director of Day Services (West Bay)
  • The staff is always courteous and professional. It makes the whole experience easy and pleasurable. Everyone knows Sail To Prevail as being a first-class operation.

    Elaine Scott (ARC of Blackstone Valley)
  • We have clients that are diagnosed with Down syndrome, and sailing does lots to relax them. It helps them focus on quality of life

    Joni Lonczak (LaPlante Center)
  • Sailing is a great combination of skills. It also takes clients out of their daily routine and allows them to experience new challenges, like using the mainsheet or the tiller. Something different from everyday life at our Center.

    Kathy McCauley (Maher Center)
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