Women Who Rock: Ivanka Trump On Being Successful

Ivanka Trump racked up plenty of valuable experience in the business world long before she launched her own footwear line for spring ’11.

Here, the entrepreneur — EVP of acquisitions and development at the Trump Organization and founder of the Ivanka Trump Collection — sounds of on finding a niche in the shoe market, offers advice for young execs and talks about her biggest mentor, her mother.

Finding a niche:

“The fashion and footwear business is not lacking for talented designers—in fact, the luxury and casual categories are fairly saturated. What was lacking was a brand that addressed the needs of the modern professional woman, and this is where I found my opportunity. When I started my brand, I made a strategic decision not to compete with the luxury designers. I identified a hole in the market, and I’ve been laser-focused ever since on creating a collection of well-designed, high-quality products at an attainable price point, that appeal to women who work.”

Advice for someone just starting out:

When you’re young, you lack experience, but you also come to the table with a fresh perspective. You’re a voice of the next generation and you will approach old problems with new eyes. Think about how you present yourself. Don’t talk about things you don’t know or understand. Ask questions. Take the initiative to form educated opinions about important topics so that you have an insightful position to share when the time is right.”

Biggest female mentor:

My mother has always been a mentor, and great source of inspiration to me. She instilled in my brothers and I the value of hard work, attention to detail and a commitment to excellence.”

How to encourage women to rise through the ranks:

By supporting one another and creating work environments that encourage women to thrive. Women today are incredibly multidimensional. There’s not a work life and a home life, that we’re trying to balance, rather, we each get one life and it’s up to us to tailor it to fit our individual goals and priorities. Work isn’t nine to five anymore. We’re fortunate to live in the digital age, which enables us to be constantly connected. For me, this means that I can check in with my daughter on the phone while I’m at the office and I can respond to emails from home because I left work on time to have dinner with my family. It is important that more companies create environments that attract—and retain—this next generation of working women.”

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