The daughter of Joseph and Louise D'Ambrosio, Dorothy D'Ambrosio was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Syosset on Long Island. She recalls that she resolved to "make something of herself" after her mother died in an automobile accident when she was 10 years old.
As an entrepreneur from early on, Dorothy D'Ambrosio began working in real estate in 1978 while she was a student at Adelphi University. After beginning and building her career on Long Island, in 1989 she and partner Carll S. Burr III purchased Prudential Long Island Realty. After expanding that company, to one of the largest brokerages on Long Island. With a vision to connect real estate from Manhattan to Montauk, In 2003 she purchased Douglas Elliman, where she built and lead Manhattan’s largest brokerage firm, with her partner Howard Lorber. Since then, Douglas Elliman has become the largest and fastest-growing real estate firm in New York. Dottie Herman has served as the President of the brokerage firm and is its current Chief Operating Officer.
In June 2016 Forbes named Dottie Herman 'America's Richest Self-Made Woman In Real Estate' and she has twice been named among the 100 most influential women in New York business by Crain’s New York Business.
In August 2015, Dottie Herman earned an Innovator Award from Inman for her contributions as CEO of Douglas Ellliman. She was honored by Adelphi University as the 2007 Outstanding Executive on Long Island.
In 2017, Herman received the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award for her work in the Business field at the United Nations in New York City.
Dottie has one daughter who is an educator Christine.