Meet Opportunity: Cindy Kent

Cindy Kent, president and general manager of 3M's Infection Prevention Division.

Cindy Kent is someone who seeks to use all of her gifts and talents.

Kent is president and general manager of 3M's Infection Prevention Division and has been in the Twin Cities community for more than a decade. She hopes people will realize how multi-dimensional and powerful we are as human beings and encourages being open to the possibility of both doing and being more, saying only when you try, can you achieve.

Kent believes our power starts with one source. She desires to be a blessing to friends, family and the kingdom of God. She wants to bring light and hope in the world by showing up as a more authentic leader and by encouraging others to do the same. She wants everyone to have the confidence to pursue higher education with the support of role models, mentors and other resources. Every day Kent wakes up hoping to be her own personal best self – mind, body and spirit. She wants to use her life experiences and resources to positively transform the lives of others, and she wants to leave every place and situation that she’s in better than she found them. Kent strives to be a magnet for positive, productive people who are changing the world.

Kent understands “we” are all of “us” despite the objectification that happens because of differences. She’s seen the power of finding common ground, and wants to be part of the solution and not simply pointing out problems without offering a corresponding solution. If she doesn’t have a recommendation she won’t bring up an issue. She believes in karma, and is intentional about words and their potential impact – positively or negatively – on others.

Kent was one of 20 selected from several hundred applicants to participate in the 17 class of the Henry Crown Fellowship of the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

An ordained minister, Kent talks freely about her faith, focus and purpose.

“I’ve always spoken openly about my faith and had never thought of it as being as courageous as others give me credit for being,” said Kent. “I’ve also always been a very passionate advocate in corporate diversity initiatives throughout my career – especially being in healthcare and the med/tech industries. I make every effort to ensure that candidate slates are diverse, a reflection of my own values. I hope that in having these crucial conversations, in these environments, I can help usher in a new level of consciousness in the corporate ranks.”

Kent is in heavy demand as a female corporate mentor of color. She is always gracious, but must balance her passion for mentoring with the fact that she is president and general manager of the largest healthcare business at 3M. For Kent, the community can help her by having more corporate leaders take a direct and active role in community building and mentoring would-be business owners.

We have 17 Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in Minnesota that attract top talent to our community, that’s a tremendous opportunity to support our community. We have an obligation to lift while we climb. Kent encourages other corporate leaders to both mentor and sponsor future talent both in and beyond their organizations. She often uses time on her commute to and from work for mentoring calls.

Kent’s measure of success is net impact. She is grateful for every moment, especially this one.

Meredith Moore Crosby is an entrepreneur and writer working and living in the Twin Cities. Connect online @MeredithMCrosby or

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