A.J. Enchill ‘12 Returns to Campus for Convocation Speech

A.J. Enchill ‘12 Returns to Campus for Convocation Speech

The Governor’s Academy welcomed 2022 Non Sibi Sed Aliis Award winner and current Alumni Trustee A.J. Enchill ‘12 as our Convocation speaker on February 1. Enchill is the founder and president of the Berkshire Black Economic Council (BBEC) and is participating in the Boston Fed’s Leaders for Equitable Local Economies, working to support BIPOC businesses in The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. 

Enchill is a native of Pittsfield, and the eldest of four brothers. During his time at Govs, Enchill was a dorm proctor and lacrosse captain and went on to play lacrosse at Tufts University, where he earned a B.A. in American Studies and won two NCAA Division 3 National Championships. Since 2017, he has performed constituent services and community outreach as the District Aide for State Senator Adam G. Hinds and currently serves on the board of Berkshire Community Action Council and Community Health Programs. He also serves on the C4 Arts Initiative and the Berkshire County Branch of The NAACP as the Economic Development and Justice Chair. 

The goals of BBEC include: increasing the number of Berkshire Black businesses that are certified as minority-owned businesses; locating, recruiting, and retaining other Black entrepreneurs and businesses; helping Black-owned businesses gain access to business coaching, professional development, grants, and capital; and promoting economic justice by advocating public policy and increasing supplier diversity.

Enchill spoke to the Govs community, beginning by discussing his Ghanaian heritage and his upbringing in the Berkshires. Showing photos of his time at Govs with his friends, Enchill stressed the importance of supporting your friends in their passions and cheering on their potential. He encouraged students to “be the person who embodies non sibi sed aliis (not for self but for others).”

He also encouraged students to think about what they regard as the most important issue in the world right now that they are most passionate about. He then challenged students to use time each day to work toward fixing that issue, noting that if they do this, they will leave the world a better place. “That’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing,” said Enchill, referring to his work with BBEC. 

He explained an initiative by BBEC to revitalize downtown Pittsfield, which lost 12 businesses during the height of the pandemic. About five new BIPOC businesses, including restaurants, a creative agency, and a hair supply store, will now occupy former empty storefronts.

He took students through the journey of how he started his business and the steps made to get it to where it is today. Describing his vision for the future of BBEC, he showed students an architectural rendering of the next phase of BBEC: an incubator facility—a 60,000-square-foot space/mini-mall for businesses that will drive consumers to them. 

At the end of Convocation, he showed a picture of the fall 2011 Governor’s football team. Enchill said, “At Govs, I learned the process of winning. Losing teams have a lot of ‘me guys.’” He went on to share that in his four years at Govs the football team went from 0-8 to 2-6 to 4-4 to 9-0. The team became a winning team because of how the team members treated each other. 

Following his Convocation speech, Enchill spent the afternoon meeting with two blocks of students for workshops as a chance to work more closely with students.