She’s A Woman On Fire! Meet Jill Dulitsky

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other!

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her. Please say hello to…

Jill Dulitsky

Vernon, Connecticut

WOF member: #00119

Member since:  May 2012


1. Please tell us about YOU, your family, your work, what you are “on fire” about.

I was born and raised in Connecticut.  I graduated from Lehigh University and spent 10 years as a financial analyst at an investment bank and then Microsoft.  (Yes, I was in meetings with Bill Gates!)  I am a recovering over-achiever.  I’ve lived in New York, London, Boston and Seattle.  My husband Rob is a stay-at-home Dad to our two kids, Brady, 9, and Carly, 8.

In 2002, I joined my brother, Jeff, in the family car business in Connecticut.  Today, we own and operate two Hyundai stores with over 100 employees and the business generates over $70 million in annual sales.

I call myself a “recovering over-achiever” because I always thought the word success meant financial success and status.  I always felt like I was “obligated” to achieve financial and professional success to please my family and then later, to support my family.

I am currently “on fire” about redefining what the word “success” means to me and separating work success from personal success.  I realize that I’ve always used my work life to get personal accolades.  That can muddy the waters about defining success for our businesses.

I have a number of prime earning years ahead of me.  A big a-ha moment is that I don’t have to do anything as big as changing my career to redefine success.  I realize that I can operate the business successfully AND live my life successfully, both by different definitions of success.

My business theme this year is “The Year of Operating Exceptionally,” and my personal theme is “The Year of Having Fun!”

One of my personal goals is to learn how to play tennis.  It’s something my husband has been asking me to do for years so we can play together.  I am currently signed up for a 17-week clinic.  I love it!  It’s been VERY challenging to put myself in a position of doing something that I’m really lousy at.

2. How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I am a personal client of the great Rob Berkley.  He and I talk on the phone once a week to tackle my business issues.  It’s through Rob that I met Debbie Phillips.  Women on Fire has changed my life.

3. Your favorite part of the day is when ____________.

The first one is when I’m in the house after everyone has left for the day.  I love to be in my house by myself because it’s so rare!  My other favorite part of the day (when everyone is home) is lying in my kids’ beds at night.  I know that it’s so fleeting.  I love them so much it can hurt at times.

4. The last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, a novel by Michael Chabon, and I couldn’t put it down.  I’m often reading for “a purpose” and this was a fun book to read — just for pure pleasure.  Another book I’d recommend is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  I shied away from it forever because I thought the title was obnoxious.  But, it’s life-changing.  It taught me the power of controlling my thoughts.

5. What is your proudest accomplishment in the past 12 months? 

It’s DEFINITELY recognizing the importance of female energy in my life.  Rob Berkley had been teaching it to me for a long time and initially I poo-pooed it.  But, I finally realized it was essential to my survival.  I was blessed to go to Paris with Women on Fire last year and it was transformational.

6. If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it?    

First, I would make sure I was home alone…no husband, no kids. Then, I would get up and poke around the house.  I would go to a class at the gym, come home and shower, meet my girlfriends for lunch, then come home and do nothing.  I might take a bath or watch episode after episode of Dr. Phil or Say Yes to the Dress, or some other highbrow television show;-)  Around dinnertime, I would start to look forward to seeing my family again.

7. Your favorite city in the world?

Boston! I lived there for a number of years and met my husband there.  It is parochial and cosmopolitan all at the same time.  It is comforting to me because it feels like home.

Name another Women on Fire member who has inspired you, and why? 

Just one?  LOL!  I’d have to say Ms. Becky Adams.  When I arrived in Paris for the Women on Fire trip, I was so hesitant.  The cab driver left me off at the wrong street; I was tired and very anxious about the women I was about to meet.  I was dragging my two bags down a cobblestone street, when Becky popped her head out of the hotel, and said, ‘You must be Jill.’  She gave me a big hug and welcomed me with open arms.  It was one of the first times that I had ever felt unconditional warmth from a new woman in my life —  no sizing up, no “who do you know,” no competitiveness at all.  It taught me that women can be supportive, if you just find the right ones.

8. If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be? 

To pursue lifelong learning.  If you ever feel inferior in anything, knowledge can help overcome that.  I think that’s been my competitive advantage in life.  I am not the smartest or the most skilled, but I am determined.  And, I’m an avid reader.  I think I must say to my kids 100 times a day, “I don’t know, but let’s look it up.”

9. What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you? 

My spirituality is really important to me.  I am Jewish and my Judaism is important to me.  I’ve always kept it close to the vest because I was teased as a child for being Jewish.  It always felt a bit “unsafe” to discuss and still today, I find some people are shocked (and not in a good way) when I tell them I’m Jewish — almost like there is something wrong with it.  Our kids are being raised Jewish.  Our synagogue is amazing.  It was the first synagogue in Connecticut to marry same sex couples.  The Rabbi teaches the message of kindness and tikkun olam (giving back).  It is my safe place.  I love going there on Sunday mornings for the kids’ services.  At the end of the service, we all join arms and sing a song of peace.  It lifts me up for the week.   

10. Name three women who have influenced your life, and what you’ve learned from each. 

My grandmother for sure!  She is 93 years old.  She taught me what it meant to be loved unconditionally.   Whatever she is thinking comes right out her mouth.  She was a rock for me when my parents got divorced.  I always think she was born in the wrong generation.  She is brilliant but her only option in life was to be a wife and a mom.  I think she would have ruled the world if she had the opportunity.

#2 is my mom.  She taught me how to be independent.  I look back in awe at how she raised us, worked full time and provided guidance and wisdom.  She did it all with very little support herself.  I can’t think of another woman in my early life.  I just didn’t find other women that supportive.

So, #3 has to be Debbie Phillips.  She has taught me how to be supported and to be supportive.  These are life-changing lessons.

11.  Who cheers you on? 

My husband, Rob, is my biggest cheerleader.  We’ve been through a lot together.  Our son, Brady, had Guillain-Barre syndrome when he was three years old and almost didn’t make it.  The business has been very challenging.  And, we’ve had a lot of heavy family issues.  Through it all, he is like a tree in the woods.  He may sway a bit, but he’s always there to lean on without falling over.

12. What is your favorite “pig-out” food? 

Chocolate chip cookies!  But, being from the metropolitan New York area, I’m very picky!  It has to be a firm cookie, without too many chocolate chips but with a soft center.  My chocolate chip cookie analysis is like an episode of Seinfeld.  Believe me, I know the right one when I taste it!

13. When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to your mind? 

Lucky.  I know it’s only supposed to be one word, but I have to explain.   I spent a week in Haiti this year through a not-for-profit organization that I’m involved in.  I’ve always realized how lucky I am but this really enforced it.  I was born into an upper middle class family in the United States.  It was always a given that I would go to college.  There are women all over the world that would do anything to be born into the situation that I was.  I think that comes with responsibility to lead the best life that I can, in service of me and in service of others.  I’m just starting to uncover what that means by redefining success for me.


More about Jill Dulitsky…

Jill’s joy is bringing out the best in people.  She loves to help her 100 employees define and reach their dreams.  She writes a weekly motivational letter to her employees and posts it at favorite way to relax and tune out is going on vacation.  No matter how hectic life gets, Jill and her family spend a week each year at The Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs, VT (like the resort in the movie Dirty Dancing!) She loves sharing this annual tradition with her family.

You are welcome to say hello to Jill Dulitsky at
Compiled by Women on Fire Senior Writer Becky Adams

Coming up in the next She’s A Woman on Fire! …

Who in our community felt excluded from being able to buy sophisticated, contemporary, well-fitting clothes in a plus-size? And 14 months later, while working a full-time job, launched a brand-new clothing line “for the majority of women” who wear sizes 12-24?  We’ll share the life and dreams of this inspiring Woman on Fire member in our next edition of She’s A Woman on Fire!

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