Meet Romanita Hairston, 2023 Graduate Commencement Speaker

Romanita Hairston

I am pleased to announce Romanita Hairston has agreed to speak at our Graduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, June 9, in Tiffany Loop.

As Chief Executive Officer, Romanita oversees all program activities of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a private, nonprofit foundation serving the Pacific Northwest since 1975. An accomplished team builder, convener, and leader, Romanita draws on more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit, for profit, philanthropic, and board service sectors to help steward the mission of the foundation.

A graduate of the University of Washington, Hairston began her career in the nonprofit sector at World Vision, the largest child-focused private charity in the world. Over 20 years, Hairston gained a deep understanding of nonprofit service, management, and leadership as she held a variety of roles, including a decade as vice president of US programs.

In 2016 she entered the philanthropic sector, joining the Murdock Trust as a program director. During her tenure, Hairston walked alongside dozens of nonprofit leaders as they pursued capacity building grants with the charitable trust. In addition, Hairston collaborated with Murdock Trust staff, partners, and community organizations to develop enrichment programs and convenings designed to serve the diverse needs of the Pacific Northwest.

Hairston would move to the for-profit sector and join Microsoft in 2018, where she focused on the future of work and learning. In her role, she led a global skilling effort focused on improving employability in higher education through technical skilling and workforce partnerships. As the leader of the technical content portfolio team, Hairston worked to build capacity across Microsoft’s solution areas for its global customer, partner, and future generation audiences.
Hairston earned an MBA in global development and nonprofit management from Eastern University in Philadelphia and is the founder of MORE320, a nonprofit consulting company supporting organizations as they seek to effect social change. An active volunteer, Hairston currently serves as the board president for Global Women and is on the Leadership Council for Breaking Ground. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle. She has served on the board of India Partners, the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Urban Alliance, Urban Impact, Impact Latin America, Kids In Need Foundation, and Renaissance Leadership Group as well as volunteered with the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and the Rhythms of Grace Women’s Retreat.