Whether speaking to a patient who has just received a difficult diagnosis or the CEO of a corporate sponsor, Jeannie Shapiro, Executive Director of the Clearwater Free Clinic, speaks with confidence and calm, with integrity and purpose. She has a ready smile and a word of thanks for everyone. On this Boss’s Day 2015, it is easy for the staff of the Clinic to honor Jeannie.
When interviewed in 1998, Jeannie asked the Board of Directors about their vision for the future. When they responded that they wanted the Clinic to grow and expand its services, that was the exact challenge that Jeannie had hoped for. When she started, she “did everything” with the assistance of a part-time administrative assistant. She saw patients, worked in the pharmacy, made arrangements for referrals, recruited volunteers and sought funding.
In order to grow the Clinic, Jeannie knew that she first needed a clinical director and then a nurse practitioner who could write prescriptions. Within two years she had added those critical positions. As the clinics services expanded and served more patients, the facility became crowded, and Jeannie took on back-to-back remodeling projects in the early 2000’s…the first to rearrange space and provide decent furniture and cabinetry and the second to build a much-needed addition of three exam rooms. What had started as a one-night-a-week enterprise in 1977 soon became the Clinic as we know it now…a full-time medical facility for the uninsured families in north Pinellas County.
As the Clinic grew, Jeannie reached out into the community to hospitals, labs, medical practices, businesses, churches and civic groups. Over the years she and the many who have served on the Board of Directors have so grown community partnerships and in-kind services that in 2015 we are proud to say that every dollar donated to the Clearwater Free Clinic provides five dollars in medical care for families who desperately need it.
Jeannie truly lives and breathes the mission of the Clinic…”to deliver comprehensive medical care to uninsured families through volunteerism and community partnerships.” Her enthusiasm for helping others is contagious; every volunteer enjoys working at the clinic and leaves knowing that they have helped to make an enormous contribution to the improved health of someone in need.
HATS OFF to our boss, Jeannie Shapiro. Her staff sincerely enjoys working with her. “She really makes us feel like family here.” “She’s amazingly compassionate.” “Jeannie has led enormous growth at the Clinic.” “She’s wonderful manager.” “Most places have a mission statement, but here we do it, we follow it, we believe in it.” “She makes you believe that you can make a difference too.”
HAPPY BOSS’S DAY, Jeannie. Here’s to many, many more!