As one campaign promise gets pushed to the back burner, President Donald Trump hosted a roundtable Monday at the White House to promote economic empowerment for women business owners, moving forward with his pledge to help America's small business sector.
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"We must ensure that our economy is a place where women can work and thrive. We will continue addressing the barriers faced by [women in the workforce]," Trump assured the group of female executives.
In attendance at the meeting was Trumbull Unmanned founder Dyan Gibbens, a former Air Force graduate and Department of Defense employee who now heads one of the nation’s leading drone service providers to the energy sector. Also at the table was Shirley Ann Perry, founder of environmental consulting company HydroTech, and Claudia Mirza, CEO of workforce solutions company Akorbi.
President Trump signed two executive orders last month championing the importance of women in business. The Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers and Innovators and Explorers Act calls on NASA to encourage women to pursue careers in science, engineering and math. The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act endorses a higher level of support for entrepreneurial programs started by women.
Also sitting in on Monday's meeting was Trump's daughter, Ivanka. The president thanked his daughter for her contributions to the business initiative.
A few of the executives in attendance have already met with Ivanka Trump, including Lisa Phillips, founder of events company CeleebrateUs, who retweeted Trump’s photo of the pair from a gathering last month.
Monday’s roundtable comes just one day after Ivanka, who has no official role within the White House but does have security clearance and an office in the West Wing, announced she has accepted an invitation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to attend a global summit focused on women’s empowerment and economic development in Berlin. The “W20” meeting will take place in late April.
The president acknowledged the role of the First Daughter, a successful business owner herself, as a motivating factor behind the administration’s push for women’s equality in the workforce.
Meanwhile, Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner is making headlines of his own after the White House confirmed he will head a new office tasked with using business solutions to fix stagnation within the government. According to The Washington Post, the White House Office of American Innovation will be comprised of business executives from both sides of the aisle and will report directly to the president. The group is expected to address some of the president’s other key campaign promises, such as opioid addiction and health care for veterans.