We are excited to announce Shaina Bent will fill a role new to St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Chief Operations Officer!  Shaina shares, “When I began as a volunteer with the Free Clinic eight years ago, I was completely unaware of the level of need in our community.  I quickly learned that so many members of our community faced challenges and hardships that seemed unimaginable – not having enough food to feed your family, living with an illness because you don’t have access to quality, affordable healthcare, or suddenly finding yourself with nowhere to live.   Our core values of dignity, compassion, and respect drive what we do and are one of the reasons the work of the Free Clinic is so important to me. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and look forward to continuing to serve our community and the Free Clinic in my new role.”

Shaina joined the Free Clinic in 2011 as a volunteer in the food pantry. She joined the staff in 2012, and has held multiple roles, including Director of We Help Services, followed by Director of Food Programs. Under her leadership, the food programs more than doubled in size. She has implemented many new programs, including Pack a Sack, Hearty Homes, and led the implementation of our We Help Client Choice Pantry.

Shaina has established a reputation in her community as a prominent advocate in the fight against hunger. She is a proven leader and excels at bringing individuals and groups together to find and implement solutions. Shaina is driven by her desire to resolve the inequities and injustice that so many members in her community face. She believes that no person, especially no child, should go hungry and works tirelessly to find a solution to end hunger.

In addition to her duties with the Free Clinic, Shaina currently serves as Chair of the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County’s Childhood Hunger Initiative. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Gulfcoast Legal Services since 2015, and served as President of their board from 2017-2019.

Prior to joining the Free Clinic, Shaina practiced law for seven years in Chicago, Illinois and excelled as a successful litigator. A Texan by birth, Shaina attended Texas A&M University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration before earning her J.D. at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. She is licensed to practice law in Florida and before the Supreme Court of the United States. Shaina and her husband Jason, committed Floridians, are proud parents to two children, Elianna and Jacob.

Jenn Yeagley, shares, “As the new CEO of the St. Pete Free Clinic, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such a strong and committed COO. Shaina’s powerful leadership acumen and dedication to the Free Clinic were obvious to me immediately, and transitioning her into the newly created COO position was a natural progression of how she has expanded her role, and in turn the impact of the Free Clinic, over the last nine years. I’m excited to collaborate with her as we work toward fulfilling our organization’s critical mission.”