About the Center: Meet the Staff
Director of the Perkins Center
Tali Hairston is a known mentor in reconciliation, a loving father and family man, trusted leader in the community, and a minister in the church.
Born and raised in the diverse environment of Seattle’s Rainier Valley has served as a central piece of influence for Hairston's heart for community development and service through the ministry of reconciliation. Living as an urban outreach youth worker, Tali Hairston came to SPU in 2001 as assistant director for campus ministries.
His multicultural upbringing and ministry experience prepared him for leading SPU in a unique partnership in 2003 as director of The John Perkins Center. He has also served as special assistant to the president advising the University in its Reconciliation and Diversity Initiative. He affirms his work as a definite calling to multi-cultural ministry. Read the full story in Response.
Read Tali’s full biography.
Budget Manager, Coordinator for Events and Student Clubs
Native to Seattle, Caenisha received her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Washington, while serving in ministry and leadership at Interbay Covenant Church (now merged with Quest Church). Combining a youth ministry background and a passion in mentoring people, she was led away from the world of banking and came onto the campus ministry staff at SPU in 2005.
After a transformative experience on Sankofa with the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), she began to dive deep into her personal story and identity in search of understanding and reconciliation. In her experiences after this journey, she discovered that the discomfort of race is saturated into the infrastructure of our institutions, including education and the church, as much as it is a part of our every day social and personal interactions.
Caenisha joined the Perkins Center staff in 2007 not realizing how much it would steward her vocational call toward reconciliation. Motivated by the life-work of community development, yearning with a heart for relationship building, and growing in a thirst for Biblical reconciliation, she completed her masters in Christian ministry, with a concentration on justice, from North Park Theological Seminary in 2011.
She has enjoyed work on a number of different justice and compassion projects, centered around the church, youth, homelessness, culture, and race/ethnicity - including a local youth and justice conference called Feet 2 Faith, the Journey to Mosaic –North Pacific trip with the ECC, and a few community committees. While at SPU, she is excited to encourage further training and awareness on community development and reconciliation work with campus and community.
She has an enthusiasm for people, enjoys learning their stories and walking through life with them. Other interests vary from art, dance, music, and even watching the occasional professional bull riding event.
Coordinator for Global and Urban Involvement
Owen is a Seattle Pacific University graduate who says he once naïvely vowed never to live in, or care about, the city. But then he participated in SPU's Urban Involvement program while an undergraduate student in 1995. Owen now advises the Urban Involvement, Latreia and SPRINT programs at SPU.
Trained under World Vision's Vision Youth Initiative, Owen served as youth director for Choose Life Youth Ministries in White Center for 12 years, during and following his time as a SPU undergraduate. In 2006, he completed his master’s degree in school counseling at Seattle Pacific.
When he’s not at work Owen enjoys spending time with his wife, Janiess, doing yard work, or taking a walk with their dog, Snickers.
Claire was born and raised in southern California in a diverse home. At a young age, she is thankful that her parents exposed her to a love of other cultures, from her mother’s large and boisterous Mexican family to their Japanese “sisters” (exchange students) who stayed in their home every summer. In addition, Claire is thankful for the blessing that opportunities in music (violin) provided, allowing her to travel and make friends with unique and talented individuals from around the world.
In 2006, Claire graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a major in Biblical Studies and a minor in Theology. She joined the Perkins Center in the Fall of 2011 excited to work with the amazing staff and contribute to the vision of the Perkins Center.
Currently, Claire serves in the children’s elementary ministry team at Eastlake Community Church and enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs, Teyla & Carson.