Cindy Kent

President & General Manager, Infection Prevention Division

With more than 25 years in the health-care industry, Kent leads a $1.6 billion division of 3M that’s laser-focused on protecting hospital patients from health-care-related infections. Among a scant minority of female engineers, Kent, a Northwestern University graduate of industrial engineering, was named 2018 Executive of the Year by Lead360 and one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise magazine. As president and general manager of 3M’s Infection Prevention division, Kent — an ordained minister, if you can believe it — oversees the development of the Minnesota-based company’s strategic operating plans as well as clinical, manufacturing and commercial functions. “Diversity means nothing,” Kent told MassDevice, a medical device business journal, in 2017. “I think a much more meaningful buzzword is inclusion. I want to have a table that, regardless of who’s sitting around it, that everybody feels courageous. That they would articulate concerns and that they would be heard. And I will say, as a woman, as a woman of color, that has not always been the case. So some of what you call my confidence has been a learned behavior when I wasn’t feeling heard, of just demanding to be heard.”