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Meet January’s BN360 Spotlight Professional – Kent Olden

BN360 Spotlight Professional Kent Olden

Kent Olden strives to be his best self every day. He constantly pushes the previous day’s best to be even better the next day. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Kent in person—or “meeting” him through the BN360 Instagram—you will easily be motivated by his passion.

As the BN360 program manager, I had the chance to ask Kent—this month’s BN360 Spotlight Professional—what drives him.

Q1: What motivates you? At work? In the community?

I would have to say one of the main motivators for me, both in the community and at work, is the satisfaction of a job well done. I certainly don’t do it for recognition. Honestly, I usually would much rather not be recognized. But there are things that need to be done, and if my talents can be shared to get it done, so be it.

Bringing people together who can work collaboratively to get a job done also inspires me. It isn’t just about working together, it is about bringing people together who share common passions and drives. That is the difference-maker and where you can really see and experience the results of your effort.

It’s one thing to recognize that you are good at something and then to pursue it. That was the case for me with pharmacy. But if your passion isn’t there, you will not be as successful. You have to enjoy the work you do. That really makes the difference. When you do that, you will see the impact of your work and so will others.

Q2: What does “success” look like to you?

People get too caught up in how much money they make, what their job title is, in being recognized for their accomplishments. This is usually not what success looks like to them, it’s what they think success looks like to other people.

Success to me is doing what I know needs to be done, especially if it is something that is hard, and in the end seeing the impact—whether that be on yourself, your organization, your community, etc. Some people might say that being recognized as a BN360 Spotlight Professional is a measure of my success, but the ironic thing is that I don’t like to be in the Spotlight (pun intended). I don’t need anyone else to know what I have done and what I do every day… I know and that is enough for me.

Q3: How do you establish yourself as a young professional? At work? In the Community?

I let my work speak for me. If you work hard and are passionate about what you do and genuinely enjoy doing it, others take notice. You end up getting to where you need to be.

Q4: If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself 5-10 years ago?

Don’t be afraid of yourself or of success. You know yourself and what you are capable of. Don’t hide it or shy away from it because you are afraid of the potential of failing. As long as you know you have done your best, you should be happy with it. Don’t miss out on opportunities because you think you aren’t good enough. If you know you’re good, just be the best version of yourself that you can be. Because if not, you are going to miss out.

Q5: How do you help others be their best self?

I was a quiet, reserved, shy kid who was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and afraid of being noticed or recognized. My first semester of break from college, Janique Curry took me to a networking event and she made me part of her campaign. This was a defining moment for me. She believed in me and saw my potential. I aspire to do for other young professionals the same thing Janique did for me. You have to pay it forward. The other thing is timing… being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. Sometimes these things won’t line up because the timing is off. But when they do, things start to happen.

Q6: What is the secret to your success?

Coffee. We have a running joke in the office that no one can talk to me until I am at least halfway through my morning cup. It’s a “cup of liquid sunshine.” Also, my sense of style. I have been told that people get excited to see what I will be wearing… truthfully, I let my distain for ironing be the motivator for my style!

I like coffee. What’s your go-to?

I do like to make coffee at home, but there is a Buffalo hidden gem next to the Urban League offices: Overwinter Coffee. Their iced chai latte is a go-to, especially in the summer. I always have a great experience there—you get coffee and conversation!

BN360 is presented by Alliance Advisory Group. The 2019 Spotlight Professionals series sponsor is Alpine Films.

By Rachael Herrmann

Written by BN360


BN360 is the region’s premier young professionals program. Through a variety of programs and events, BN360 focuses on the tenets of: connect, develop, and empower—creating an inclusive and collaborative network of resources that can empower talented individuals to achieve their goals for professional growth and success. BN360 is a program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

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