31 Chief Executive Officer - IQAir North America Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
At 31, Glory Dolphin is one of the youngest CEOs in America. She began her entrepreneurial training at 11 while working at her grandmother’s hosiery factory. Her responsibilities grew to managing the company and its small staff. The experience led her to major in business administration at the University of Southern California with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
The idea for the air filtration products company she now heads, IQAir, was developed as a project for her senior year in college. She wrote a business and marketing plan and conducted market research. At the same time, Frank Hammes, her future husband, was working on an air filtration project for Mercedes-Benz and was also interested in manufacturing an air filtration product. Dolphin and Hammes formed a partnership, and in 1998 introduced the first IQAir cleaning machine in Switzerland. The product was introduced in the United States in 1999. Since then, IQAir has established three distribution centers throughout the United States and its products can be found in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Under Dolphin’s leadership, IQAir North America has partnered with the American Lung Association as its exclusive educational partner from the air cleaner industry. Its products have received Consumer Digest’s Best Buy rating, Reviewboard magazine’s Editors Choice Award and numerous other first-rate product reviews. The company’s main product, HealthPro Plus, is the top-rated air purifier in the world.
Dolphin credits her grandmother with giving her opportunities to “shine,” her mother for teaching her personal responsibility and Tommie Smith for teaching her how to leverage her strengths. A former world-class athlete in track and field, Dolphin manages her daily challenges in the manner she trained. “Athletics take a true commitment. It’s the same as running a company: You get up each morning and commit yourself to doing your very best. Excellence is an art won by training and habituation,” she says.
While Dolphin enjoys every aspect of her job, her goal is to hold political office, where she can pass laws for the betterment of the country.