Northern Power Woman, Aby Ndiaye urges leaders to ensure future generations are considered as part of the Levelling Up agenda at The Convention of the North

Aby Ndiaye, 23, business with finance student at LJMU addressed 300 business leaders at The Convention of the North with one clear message: young people must be involved in conversations and decision making in order to accelerate growth in the North and bring about change.  

The Convention of the North brought together the very best Northern civic, business and community leaders with delegates including Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Rt Hon Michael Gove, Sir Roger Marsh OBE, Metro Mayors – Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham, Jamie Driscoll and Tracy Brabin. The event focused on the post-covid recovery of the North alongside the Levelling Up agenda and highlighted the part that the regions will play as we build forward better.  

Opening the convention alongside Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson, Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham and CEO of Knowledge Quarter and SciTech, Colin Sinclair, Aby Ndiaye spoke to the audience on behalf of her generation / peers asking them to consider what the impact of their decisions would have on young people. 

“I want to ask that when you are having those conversations today, planning those agendas and making those decisions – you think of me and my peers … ultimately your decisions will impact and shape our future – and one day we will be the ones leading and making those key decisions” 

A week prior to the convention Aby contacted Simone Roche MBE, founder of Northern Power Futures and the PoWEr Collective CIC to thank her for the opportunity to attend not one but two PoWEr Up Mentoring sessions offered to LJMU business school students. She wrote “Thank you very much for the opportunity you gave me (twice) by attending your network session, it may not be big deal for you but it really did help me overcome a bit of my fear of networking with new people and I really appreciated”. 

After exchanging a few messages back and forth Simone asked Aby if she would like to speak at The Convention of the North in order to have her voice heard. Despite never having spoken publicly before as well as ‘scouse’ being her second language she was the standout of the day. Steve Rotherham had a tough act to follow but noted how important it was to listen and learn from young people like Aby. 

As Aby said “I know that my generation will come out of this with more resilience than a CV could ever show for”. Aby has so far received work opportunities from 5 organisations. 

Aby took part in the live PoWEr Up Networking session at lunchtime where she and 30 of her fellow LJMU students had the opportunity to each chat to different mentors from the likes of Barclays, BNY Mellon, EY, Royal Navy,, Co-op Food, KPMG, Ripple Effect, Catapult, United Utilities and the LEP

All of us should give back in a way that challenges, doesn’t demotivate but raises aspirations in a ‘yes you can – yes you will’ not a maybe or maybe not sense.

Sir Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of NP11

The thing I love about the PoWEr UP Collective is that you don’t just talk about things – you are doers – you bring things to life and you make real opportunities happen and that’s brilliant to see.

Andy Burnham, Metro Mayor of Greater Manchester

I urge businesses owners and leaders to provide mentoring, provide support and open the door so that person can go and make something of their lives

Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region

The energy in the room was palpable with five students being offered work experience on the spot and many more having fantastic conversations on LinkedIn that will no doubt lead to more opportunities. It is no wonder that in the last 12 months these sessions have created £500,000 in social value and sparked 12,000 conversations. The session highlighted just how rich this talent pipeline is as well as highlighting that business leaders from across the North want to support the next generation. 

It really does all start with a conversation so get in touch if your organisation would like to join other forward-thinking organisations investing in emerging talent and become a partner of the PoWEr Up Collective. 



PoWEr Up Collective 

The PoWEr Up Collective is made up of forward-thinking organisations who financially invest in a 12-month programme of activity supporting emerging talent enabling PoWEr Up Mentoring & Networking sessions to be accessible to all. If your organisation is committed to providing opportunities for the next generations whilst showcasing your brand and your people, click here to find out more. 

Northern Power Women 

Northern Power Women is a collaborative campaign to accelerate gender diversity and social mobility from the North of England. We want to; transform the culture of organisations; increase opportunities for women; showcase role models; highlight best practice among organisations that are helping to drive and lead economic growth. We engage women and men from all industries and business areas as ‘agents of change’ and connect, collaborate and celebrate their achievements as campaign champions and advocates to drive gender balance from the north of England.