A.J. Enchill '12 is this year's winner of the Govs Alumni Council’s Non Sibi Sed Aliis Award. Born to immigrants from Ghana, Enchill is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 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. 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.
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.
In June 2022, Enchill was awarded The Governor’s Academy Alumni Council’s Non Sibi Sed Aliis Award during Reunion Weekend. He generously took time from his busy schedule to share more about his life and work.
The Academy’s Non Sibi Sed Aliis Award is bestowed upon an alumnus/a who has brought pride to the Academy by embodying the spirit of the school motto of service to others. It was a wonderful moment when you received the award at the Annual Meeting of the Alumni Council. How did it feel to receive the award.
Surprisingly, I didn't feel all that nervous. To keep it real, I felt at home when I accepted the award. While I sat in my seat, I did my best to take in the words written about the work I and others have been up to in the Berkshires. As it was while I was a student, Govs would, once again, fuel my motivation to keep going with my work. Plus, Rob DeLena has an awesome voice, so that made it easy, too. Coupling that with the fact that my wife, Grace Barlow Enchill ‘10, wrote my nomination for the award is a moment that will live with me for a lifetime.
Tell us more about your work with the BBEC.
Our objective at BBEC is to help Black businesses in the Berkshires achieve entrepreneurial self-sufficiency and grow in number by helping them expand and thrive so that others will relocate here. The past few years have consisted of working late into the night to get our non-profit off the ground, so I felt proud to have BBEC recognized outside of Berkshire County at the Govs Alumni Council Awards ceremony. Such recognition beyond the borders of the Berkshires has broadened my sense for our organization's authenticity. I am confident that with the Alumni Council’s support, BBEC will continue to gain recognition, which is very exciting.
Among your many endeavors and responsibilities, you and your wife, Grace ‘10, are new parents! How do you manage to keep it all going?
I have wonderful support in the Berkshires. My community supports me, they rejuvenate me, they inspire me, and without knowing it they continuously remind me that I am blessed.
I like my routine. I wake up and head straight to the gym to train. I find training to be therapeutic, I transfer into the weights the things that are out of my control and clog my head space, and in doing so, my body is rewarded with the benefits of exercise. It's a win-win. I start each day with a one-point lead against my only opponent, myself.
I compartmentalize my day, and I cross through my lists. It's usually the Berkshire Eagle with breakfast, then projects that I am working on, followed by meetings, then email follow-ups, and I end with scheduling and lighter tasks, and then back to work around 8 p.m. after we have dinner. Not saying that's the way to do it, but it's what I did.
The work will always be there, and I think that I am finally coming to terms with that. For me, sometimes, the challenge is taking myself out of the zone. Our son's deep belly laughs quickly do the trick for an evening reset. I am refocusing now on enjoying "being where my feet are." When my feet are no longer at my desk, I can leave my work there, too, so I can enjoy family time. I wake up, and then I do it again, Monday through Friday.
What's next for you?
BBEC will pursue a capital project to develop an incubator to make commercial overhead affordable for Black businesses and entrepreneurs in downtown Pittsfield. For those interested in learning more and supporting our efforts at BBEC, I’m always available to share more; and can be reached via email.
Dr. Peter H. Quimby '85, P'14 (left) after the Alumni Council Awards ceremony with A.J. Enchill '12 (right)