The name 'Trump' has been a household name for decades. But lately Donald is
sharing the spotlight with the younger generation of Trumps—his sons and his
Ivanka, who has a business degree from Wharton,
is charged with the domestic and global expansion of her dad's company's real
estate interests and she's the founder of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry and Ivanka
Trump Footwear. She has launched #WomenWhoWork, which celebrates the
multidimensional lives of modern women. After meeting her husband, who is
Jewish, Ivanka converted to Judaism, and the couple has a young daughter and
will speak at JUF’s Women’s Division’s Spring Event on May 12, recently
conducted an email interview with Oy!Chicago, where she talked
about her entrepreneurial pursuits, the balancing act of the modern woman, and
who she admires most.
Oy!Chicago: You do so much
professionally—in the Trump Organization, in real estate and hotel management,
in jewelry, in your lifestyle collection. What are you most passionate about in
the professional world?
Ivanka Trump: Real
estate has always been my passion. I grew up touring construction sites,
visiting our properties and hotels with my father and could not get enough… I
ingested everything I could get my hands on, observed my peers and supervisors,
and experienced as much as possible. I always felt l had something to prove
and, in some ways, I guess I did. Eventually I started making my own deals and
managing my own team and projects.
I'm an entrepreneur at
heart, and I saw a great opportunity to dress young, professional women in a
stylish yet attainable way and decided to enter the marketplace with
accessories... Our brand is targeted to millennials in the early stages of
their careers. [Our customer] is a woman who leads with smarts, but is able to
transition quickly between her various roles in professional and personal
What are the challenges that come with having such a famous
father, when you're trying to make your own way in the world?
I'm incredibly grateful
for my family and both of my parents. I think time has debunked some of the
criticisms that people might throw at me. There will always be those who will
say I wouldn't be in this position if not for my father and they very well may
be right, but I also know I work very hard and have a lot to be proud of. One
thing that I know for sure is that I could have chosen to do far less!
My brothers and I are so
incredibly fortunate to work alongside our father and it has been an amazing
experience, especially in these early stages of our careers. Family businesses
tend to be very binary; they are either a total disaster or incredibly
successful. Thankfully we represent the latter and that is due, in part, to how
well we work as a collective and separately, but regardless we are always working towards a
Who are your biggest role models?
My mother has always
been a great source of inspiration for me. She is incredibly smart, passionate
and wickedly funny. I'm also inspired by the young women today who are working
to build lives that they want to live. My father has also had an enormous
impact on me. I certainly learned a lot about deal making, building,
developing—generally he's taught me what it means to be a great leader and a
great parent. Both of my parents were the biggest influence on me and I'm so
fortunate to work alongside my father and continue to learn from him every
Studies continue to show that women still earn less money than
their male counterparts doing the same work. How can we encourage women to keep
"leaning in" and be confident and brave at work?
It's a proven fact that
having women in the boardroom is an asset and I think companies are beginning
to recognize the value of this more and more. It's amazing to see women holding
the high level positions once reserved for men.
Do you think a lot of these challenges will be gone by the time
your daughter enters the workforce?
I tend to think
stereotypes and assumptions are growing increasingly irrelevant—in fact,
shedding light on what it actually looks like to be a professional woman was
one of our goals in originally launching the #WomenWhoWork initiative on my website
How do you define modern women today?
Women today are working
hard at all aspects of their lives…[They] embody the realities of life and
works at everything [they] do: being a mother, nurturing her career, her
marriage, or relationships. They are smart, ambitious and passionate about
their careers—but not defined by them. These women, myself included, are
multidimensional. We are doing work we love, work that inspires us, and we're
also pursuing our personal passions and making them priorities. There really
aren't many accurate depictions of working women today in advertisements and
pop culture. Companies are still featuring these one-dimensional caricatures of
women, usually outfitted in boring pant suits, striding up 5th Avenue. It's comical.
I wanted to illustrate what women who work really look like and create a
platform from which to tell their stories.
As a successful young woman in business and as a mother of two,
what is your advice to other young women trying to pursue their dreams in
life—both personal and professional?
out opportunities you are truly passionate about, work extremely hard, and
never stop evolving and improving.
For more information on the Spring Event 2015, contact the Women's
Division Office at (312) 357-4821 or WomensDiv@juf.org.