president trump justin trudeau press conference 1
Trump: US shares special bond with Canada
02:01 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Trump and Trudeau met for the first time Monday

Ivanka Trump helped lead a meeting focused on women in business

Washington CNN  — 

While the two vastly disagree on a range of issues – trade, immigration and climate change, to name a few – US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Monday on rare common ground, a conciliatory gesture forged in large part by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

Trudeau sat across the table from Trump in the Cabinet Room, surrounded by a dozen female CEOs and business leaders. The President pledged the launch of the United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs, intended to discuss, formulate and implement support for women in the workplace.

To Trudeau’s left at the conference table sat Ivanka Trump, who so far been the loudest voice for women’s issues in her father’s administration.

The President kicked off the meeting by reading from a statement about the initiative’s goals, which include growing women-owned businesses, retaining women in the business world, supporting women who work and who have families and helping female entrepreneurs have better access to capital in order to support growing businesses.

Trump thanked Trudeau for coming, and presented him with a photograph of Trump with Trudeau’s father, the late former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.

“I knew and respected (him) greatly,” said Trump of the elder Trudeau.

Ivanka Trump also spoke at the onset of the meeting, which was attended by CEOs from companies such as Trans Alta, Accenture North America and GE Canada.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing from each of you who serve as tremendous role models for me and so many other business leaders across both of our countries,” Ivanka Trump said.

One of her closest advisers, Dina Powell, who serves in the West Wing as a senior counselor for economic initiatives, was also at the table. Powell, an alum of the George W. Bush administration and the State Department, has been championing women’s issues for the administration, a big job after a campaign that left many women feeling disconnected from Trump messaging.

Trudeau is a natural partner for the women’s council initiative – as prime minister, he is so devoted to equality in the workplace he pledged to make 50% of his Cabinet female.

The timing for renewed focus on women in the workplace couldn’t be better, at least for the President’s daughter, who in May releases a new book, titled: “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.”

According to the author’s description on Amazon, Trump’s second book will showcase what she has learned from other important business women. The book’s net proceeds, including the advance, are slated to go to charity.

Devotees of Ivanka Trump’s social media profiles will also note that #WomenWhoWork frequently appears in posts about her busy lifestyle.

CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.