Case Study – Ivanka Trump




Ivanka Trump was born on October 30th, 1981. As the daughter of Donald Trump she began with more than a humble beginning. Nonetheless, she has proven to be more than worthy of her last name.  Her resume reads like a list of a young girl’s fantasy occupations: businesswoman, author, socialite, heiress, designer and fashion model. She is currently the Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions at The Trump Organization and has her own jewelry, shoe and bag lines. In addition, she is also a judge on her father’s television show The Apprentice.

 Ivanka spent two years at Georgetown University before transferring to the Wharton School of Business. Before joining the family business, Ivanka worked for Forest City Enterprises where she received the firsthand experience in development that lends itself to her current position at Trump.  Her venture in jewelry design and sales started with a strategic partnership with Dynamic Diamond Corp.  She now sells a stunning collection of luxurious, yet contemporary jewelry at her flagship NYC store and through various retailers. Ivanka has since branched out into shoes and bags which are carried at high-end department stores such as Nordstrom.

 Ivanka is also a published author. Her book The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life offers a wonderful account of her childhood, schooling and insight into what made her into the powerhouse she is today. I highly recommend reading it, as she gives both tips and shares fascinating insights about her life. She accounts much of her success to her family’s high expectations and the enduring message of hard work.  Ivanka recounts that when large social gatherings were hosted at her family’s home her mother would stay in her room for the first half hour and have Ivanka answer the door so that she would learn how to be comfortable hosting and striking up a conversation with anyone. Ivanka also speaks of how she is often the first in her office and the last to leave. She often works on Sundays in order to fully take advantage of the work day on Monday. This always blows people’s minds because they assume that she will be lazy and act entitled. The standard that she sets for herself inspires everyone around her to work harder and produce their best work.

 So what do we have to learn from this successful socialite, businesswoman and heiress?


 As the daughter of a very successful man, Ivanka fought with everything she had to earn her positions instead of inherit them.  She turned adversity into opportunity by working harder than anyone else on her team and blowing away people’s expectations. No one really wanted Ivanka to succeed. We all want the underdog to win, and she is far from a rags to riches story. But she isn’t afraid to do twice the amount of work necessary to earn respect. She was determined to have people take her and her intelligence seriously. In an age where most socialites fill their days with scandals and shopping sprees, Ivanka skillfully blends a life of internal acquisitions and mergers with design meetings and dinner with her growing family.

 The truth is that no matter what stereotypes people want to project onto you, no one can argue with quality and results. So many women are afraid to put themselves out there and try because of what others already think about them. Ivanka’s story teaches us that you can rise above assumptions that people have, and you can prove to anyone (including yourself) that you are deserving if you work hard enough.

 Everything that Ivanka puts her name behind is quality – and that is no mere coincidence. If you are going to build a personal brand around yourself it is imperative that what you produce is representative of what you stand for. Her aesthetic, style and quality is carried out in everything she manages from hotels to heels.

She also conducts herself with the utmost sophistication and class. Whether she is being photographed at a restaurant opening, or interviewed on television, Ivanka’s behavior is consistently impressive and inspiring.  If you think that your behavior does not affect your business you are greatly mistaken.

An entrepreneur must understand that even unintended interactions may lead to working relationships. Poor behavior in one situation may lead to missed opportunities in another.  You never know how valuable unexpected introductions can be until you’ve put yourself in a position to be well regarded. Set your sights on acting in such a way that others will want to work with you and introduce you to their contacts. Word is Ivanka follows up on most significant introductions with a handwritten note the next day

 Ivanka never rests on her laurels or treats others disrespectfully. It is widely known that she is just as enjoyable as a business partner as a dinner guest. Something that proves that you need not be offensive or abrasive to succeed in male dominated industries.

So what should you really take away from Ivanka’s story? Build a business and a personal reputation of quality. Focus on developing you and your businesses so that you are so good, no one can ignore you.

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  1. Mae says:

    What a great case study! These days it seems as though poise, morals, class, and respect to oneself and others has been forgotten. I appreciate Ivanka’s story and your reminding us that it’s important to be a quality person. Thank you!

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