When CES 2020 officially starts in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump will be helping kick things off. And that's not sitting well with some attendees and observers.

In an interview with the BBC this weekend, CES chief Gary Shapiro defended his organization's decision to ask presidential adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump to keynote the biggest consumer electronics event of the year. He said that Ivanka Trump has done "great work" and would be an asset to the event.

"There's a lot of focus on jobs of the future, and certainly the keynote that I'll be doing with Ivanka Trump will be focusing on ... how industry is working with government on this very important issue," he told the BBC.

But not everyone is so keen on Trump's keynoting the event. Indeed, Donald Trump is one of the least liked presidents ever in Silicon Valley, and has received a very small portion of donations from tech heavyweights. Each month, most of the donation dollars from Silicon Valley go to his 2020 rivals.

But politics may not be the only concern. In a recent blog post, Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said that Ivanka Trump shouldn't be the first pick for a female speaker at this year's show.

"The reason for my upset is rooted in the fact that there are many more women who are in tech and are entrepreneurs who could run circles around Trump on how technology will impact the future of work," Milanesi said.

Indeed, a discussion on "the future of work," which will be the topic of Ivanka Trump's speech, is an especially important one in technology. For years the industry has been criticized for failing to achieve fair representation of women and people of color at high levels in major organizations. A gender pay gap is also an important issue at tech companies.

In the entrepreneurial space, women are often underrepresented in technology, and venture capital firms have been called on to support female-led businesses.

In other words, the time is right for a discussion on the future of work in technology, and how that impacts everyone. But not everyone is so sure that Ivanka Trump is the right person for the job.

For her part, Trump hasn't said anything about the speech or what she might say. But as one of the biggest names at the podium tomorrow, there will be plenty of attention paid to her discussion -- and what it might mean for the future of work. 

Published on: Jan 6, 2020
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