Ivanka Trump: Working for Dad

Ivanka Trump, a vice president in dad Donald’s Trump Organization, talks about the benefits of working in a family business and tells real estate pros to keep the faith in today’s market.

June 1, 2008

How do you handle the constant media spotlight that comes with being Donald Trump’s daughter?

TRUMP: I’ve never known anything else. In recent years I’ve been out there more, but I’ve always known my parents to be a target of the media, so it seems normal to me.

Why did you decide to join the family business?

TRUMP:  It was sort of obvious for me to work within the family company. We are working on some of the most significant, the sexiest jobs around the world now. And my father is the best at what he does in an industry I always wanted to enter.

What are the challenges and benefits of working for a family member?

TRUMP:  I take advantage of the fact that he’s a terrific mentor; he has a tremendous amount of experience. He’s also been tremendously supportive. He’s always there when we need him. All of my father’s adult children are in the family company.

What advice would you give real estate people working for family companies?

TRUMP: Never take for granted the fact that it’s a family company, which means there are different personalities involved. And never take for granted that things are going well. There are great opportunities within a family company, but there can be some big pitfalls if you’re not careful and sensitive to the fact that you have to openly communicate. The best we can do is to try to be open and honest.

What’s a typical workday like for you?
TRUMP: I’m always flying somewhere. The beauty of what I do is that I don’t have a typical day. We’re working on over 70 projects all around the world. There’s no typical project and there’s no typical day. Chicago (where Trump International Hotel & Tower is being built) is one of my favorite projects. Chicago is a city that really values architecture.

What about work-life balance?

TRUMP: How do you balance your job and your private life? I’ll get back to you when I figure that one out. I’m 25; I don’t need much sleep. I recognize that I am young and things go by quickly in life. When I worked for another developer, I had a more normal life and I took free time for granted. Now, I have very little free time, so I really don’t take it for granted.

What advice do you have for real estate pros in today’s tough market?

TRUMP: Success makes you happy, but when things are tough you have to be positive. I think this sort of market happens and a lot of people who don’t have the stomach to really hustle will leave the industry because of it. But if you love what you do, this is just a cycle.

What advice would you give specifically to real estate pros selling units in condominium projects, such as those you’re involved with?

TRUMP: The market is definitely not what it used to be. The important thing for brokers is to actually identify projects that will get built and devote your time to those. A lot of projects on drawing boards won’t get financing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great deals for people. I think a lot of the dentists turned developers will be weeded out and that’s not a bad thing. I would be focusing on those projects that are actually going to get built.

John N. Frank is former managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine.