Ivanka Trump Is Building Her Own Legacy
News The esteemed businesswoman shares her golden rule of negotiating and reminds women that you won’t get what you don’t ask for.
Mediaplanet: How do you hope your #WomenWhoWork initiative will positively impact the professional lives of women?
Ivanka Trump: I hope to start a conversation about what it means to be a modern woman who works. Women today are working hard at all aspects of their lives. 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 pantsuits, striding up Fifth 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.
MP: Which women inspire you?
IT: 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. The women we featured in our first #WomenWhoWork video are great examples of this.
MP: As a successful female entrepreneur, how do you combat typical stereotypes and assumptions?
IT: In general, I think people used to underestimate me. For example, I don’t think people were as prepared when they met with me as they would have been if they were meeting with my father. I didn't take it personally, rather, I'd use it to my advantage. 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.
MP: Why do you think women are still paid less than their equally qualified male counterparts, and what can be done to correct that?
"Know exactly what you hope to achieve prior to speaking with your boss. Knowing what you want in advance is the golden rule of negotiating, and the one most people fail to heed."
IT: As a woman who works in a predominantly male industry, real estate development, I understand the inherent value of having a robust team of talented men and women at the table. It’s vital for a company’s success and ultimately fosters an environment of creativity and collaboration infused with many different points of view.
MP: How do you define success?
IT: Happiness. Success means accomplishing my personal and professional goals and feeling fulfilled by my choices at work and at home. I advise those who are seeking their own paths to success to seek out opportunities they are truly passionate about, work extremely hard and never stop evolving and improving.
MP: What practical tips do you have for women seeking a promotion?
IT: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Know exactly what you hope to achieve prior to speaking with your boss. Knowing what you want in advance is the golden rule of negotiating, and the one most people fail to heed. Without a plan, you allow the other side to define your goals, instead of the other way around. Also, come prepared. The more you know, the stronger your position. It’s tough to argue with someone who can back up her assertions with facts and a smart, articulate argument.
MP: Beyond the #WomenWhoWork initiative, what are your currently working on?
IT: #WomenWhoWork is really the cornerstone of my fashion brand, which is targeted at millennials in the early stages of their careers. These women are looking for clothing and accessories that will address their multifaceted lifestyle and transition effortlessly between their various roles in professional and personal capacities.
In addition to my brand, I’m still laser-focused on my responsibilities as Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization. We have a number of incredible projects currently under development and we are actively seeking new deals around the world. Recently, I’ve been extremely involved in the $200 million redevelopment of the historic old post office building, soon to be Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue, just steps away from the White House. It is a huge undertaking. We are working very hard to create one of the finest hotels anywhere in the world.
In addition to these projects we are also in the process of developing hotels in Vancouver, Rio and Baku, with many others forthcoming. Our residential projects continue to be viewed as the standard by which all other luxury projects are measured against and we have exciting new properties under construction in locations such as Dubai, Punta del Este, India and the Philippines.
MP: As a mother of a daughter and a son, what advice do you have for raising equally ambitious boys and girls?
IT: I am fortunate that both of my parents instilled in me the value of passion, hard work and a commitment to excellence. It’s something I’m working to teach both my son and daughter, even from a very early age. I hope that the fulfillment I get from my work will set an example for both of my children and inspire them to find what it is that they’re passionate about as they get older. It takes a certain amount of grit and perseverance to succeed and I intend to teach my children the value of both. Ultimately, I want them to be happy.