Meet Jill Billhorn, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales at CDW. As a sales leader in the IT industry, Jill is responsible for all aspects of the sales force across the small business and corporate landscape in the United States, including training and development, sales force strategy and revenue generation.
Jill was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. She and her husband have three grown children. Outside of work, you may find her practicing hot yoga, cheering on her favorite sports teams or visiting her children in DC, Chicago and Denver.
Her first job was working at a local park, where she sold ice cream and snow cones over the summer. From there, she followed the family tradition of attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English.
After graduating from college, Jill started her first job as a salesperson with Xerox, where she first discovered that she wanted to become a manager. Four years later, she took a new position with Konica to make her managerial dreams come true.
Initially, she took a pay cut and dealt with a long commute with the hope of gaining more responsibility down the line. And sure enough, she accomplished her goals! Jill became a “nervous, young” manager for the first time at 26 — marking the humble beginnings of her career in management.
“It was in kind of a chance way that I started with CDW,” shared Jill. When CDW’s former CEO, Tom Richards, worked at Quest, he was looking for someone to run the Central region. Jill and Tom connected through a recruiter and discussed the opportunity, but Jill ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for her.
When Tom came back to Chicago to work for CDW, she reached out to congratulate him on his new role. Around 10 months later, in August 2010, he asked her to run CDW’s small business group. “I had no experience in small business,” said Jill. “It was somebody taking a chance on me, and it turned out to be my absolute most favorite job ever.”
Jill ran the small business group for five years before moving to the corporate group and managing the East region for corporate sales. After spending three years there, she served as Vice President of Strategic Sales Solutions, where she was responsible for developing and enabling the go-to marketing strategy for solutions and services across corporate and public businesses.
Jill assumed her current role as Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales in January 2019. The reason why she chose to become a manager during her early career is the same reason she still loves it today: “I have a huge fascination about people and a huge curiosity about where they come from, why they do the things they do and why they succeed.”
Jill feels a sense of pride in various aspects of CDW. Above all else, she enjoys working with sellers and helping them move into management and leadership positions. “It’s really satisfying to see the choices people have made and opportunities they've taken advantage of,” said Jill. “To think I had any kind of influence in seller development is what I’m most proud of.”
She’s also passionate about championing diversity in the workplace. “To be working for a company where our CEO is one of 41 women in the Fortune 500, that’s a pretty big testament to us not only talking the talk but walking the walk,” shared Jill, who actively participates in the Women’s Opportunity Network Business Resource Group (BRG) and currently co-chairs the Black Excellence Unlimited BRG.
Looking forward to the future, she’s excited to see what’s in store for CDW, including automation and CDW’s new CRM platform. “We’re realizing that this hybrid world requires system infrastructure to survive,” said Jill. “We’re finally becoming an example of that for our customers.”
– CDW Team