Alumni Spotlight: Romanita Hairston, MBA ’05

Romanita HairstonRomanita Hairston, MBA ‘05 has a passion for learning that she intends to be lifelong. Romanita has a heart for serving vulnerable populations and impacting the common good. She is driven to work toward engaging in meaningful opportunities to enrich the lives of those around her, inviting others to partner in impacting the lives of people living in the Pacific Northwest, the nation, and around the globe. In July, Romanita will officially start her new role as CEO of the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust where she will be able to nurture both her passion and Jack Murdock’s dream of supporting leaders, organizations, and causes that enrich the quality of life and strengthen key sectors in sustainable and creative ways, specifically in the Pacific Northwest region.

Romanita came to Eastern to complete her MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership. Eastern was a wonderful experience for her, emphasizing a connection to the global landscape and learning opportunities. “I love learning, and I love being in that environment,” Romanita shares , “I could be a student forever.”

Romanita was able to complete her degree at a pivotal time in her career, finishing just as she stepped into a more senior role within her company at the time. Her MBA was a cementing of knowledge that she gained in her previous role, coalesced with insights she gained from the MBA program. This allowed Romanita to move forward in her career as a philanthropic powerhouse.

When asked about her favorite memory during her time at Eastern, Romanita reflected on strength of the MBA program overall; she enjoyed the rigor and depth over the four years. The most heartwarming moments were the experiences she had during commencement. First,  connecting with her family, especially her brother, who had also completed his MBA that same year. Second, she was so grateful to be an Eastern graduate as she surveyed the many diverse programs and students attending or graduating from Eastern. When considering her peers, Romanita remembers thinking, “This institution is really working to be representative of the society around it.”

We asked Romanita if there was anything she’d like to share with her fellow alums, and Romanita chose to share about her passion for education: “Education should never be an end unto itself; the benefit of all education should be to the society in which we gain it. Through every avenue of life, let that education be a fountain that pours out into the life of others. We live in a world today where lifelong learning is extremely important. The end of a degree is just the opening of a door to the ways in which we keep learning and growing in a practical world and figure out how to invest in ourselves and our learning."