The spirit of “Non Sibi” has stayed with Biz Ghormley ’00 long after she graduated from Andover, guiding her current work as the Deputy Director of External Affairs and Development of Inwood House, a nonprofit organization that helps teens from New York City escape the cycle of poverty.
Ghormley returned to campus to urge current Andover students to truly recommit to the meaning of Non Sibi and make an impact on the lives of the less privileged as this year’s Non-Sibi Speaker for All-School Meeting (ASM) this Wednesday.
“You are some of the smartest and [most] well-positioned people in the world, and you can make change with your creativity, your compassion, your intelligence and most importantly your support for one another and your determination. I hope you allow yourself: ask questions, speak up, listen and let the sun shine on you,” said Ghormley to the student body.
“Andover has had a huge influence on my work. It opened my eyes to my worldview and challenged me to consider what had created it, gave me access to worlds I would otherwise have not known existed and brought wonderful people into my life. Andover showed me my own capacity, determination, perseverance and dedication to excellence,” she continued.
Recounting her involvement in Inwood House leading marketing and fundraising initiatives to help teens, Ghormley emphasized the power of storytelling in bringing meaningful change to people’s lives. “Listening, translating and curating stories for different audiences has allowed me to help people be freed — literally — from jail. [It has] helped us build partnerships with companies and donors, helped us elevate the expertise of people who have been shunned and help build a more just world,” wrote Ghormley in an email to The Phillipian.
“Storytelling for me is not about creating stories, but bringing them forward and presenting them in ways that new audiences can be influenced by the truth of people’s lives,” she continued.
Ghormley also discussed this idea of worth during ASM, highlighting the importance of expressing compassion and respect to all people. “Our work [at Inwood House] has shown us something I think you all know to be true: teenagers deserve respect. Shaming teenagers will likely lead to defiance and pain, but respecting teenagers, on the flipside, will help them succeed. People of all ages are worthy of respect and compassion, wrong answers or different experiences alike,” said Ghormley.
“I like to work… based on the simplest idea that we all matter,” she continued.
In addition to her contribution to the development of Inwood House, Ghormley also worked with Digital Democracy in Haiti and worked bilingually to investigate criminal cases with the Bronx Defenders.