Marlin Woods

Marlin Woods, as the Executive Chairman of BenefitsPLUS, is an accomplished leader and public spear/emcee, fostering lasting business-to-busines relationships with employers of various sizes.

Marlin is also the author of the revolutionary book, “Courting the Employ(H)er / A Business-To-Business Romance,” and occupies a board seat as a member of the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association and is Chair of Executive Leadership and the Workplace Benefits Association.

In 2012, Marlin, along with his wife Jessica Brooks, established an in-home church fellowship called One Family In Christ. Marlin launched Benefits PLUS in March of 2013 and has joined several boards both local and national to serve his community.

In November 2017, Marlin began the Empower Me Summit, a speaker series and seminar for African American to reset the trajectory of African American Achievement in Pittsburgh.

Marlin received the 2019 Rhonda D. Wright Good Neighbor Award, by A Second Chance Inc. for outstanding achievement in the community and in 2020 he received the Circle of Courage Award for outstanding leadership in the community.

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June 1992

Peabody High School Class of 1992

Attended Peabody High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the neighborhood of East Liberty. 


Started Professional Career

In 1993, Marlin started his professional sales career as a commission-based sales representative for Sharper Image in Downtown, Pittsburgh, and lead the Pittsburgh Branch in sales.


Begins Public Speaking Career

Marlin began public speaking at the age of 21 as a young minister at Potter’s House Ministries of Pittsburgh.


Gospel Excellence AM1150

Became disc jockey for Christian radio, WGBN AM 1150


July 2007


Marlin was ordained to the Pastorate July 29, 2007.


May 2010

Meets Jessica Brooks

Marlin meets future Wife, Jessica Brooks, marries in May of 2011, and is blessed with four children current ages 14 (Jesse), 8 (Jace), 7 (Zi), and 3 (Marlin Jr).



Becomes Entrepreneur

Created a preferred Vendor Management consulting firm, identifying and leveraging “best fit” health and welfare benefits vendors through a unique vetting/pairing model crafted to provide a custom RFP service for our clients – the employer.


January 2014

Begins National Public Speaking Career

Marlin began his national public speaking career and has spoken in more than 20 industry conferences with audiences of thousands in attendance in cities including Boca Raton, Florida; LasVegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; New York, New York; Newark, New Jersey; New Orleans, Louisiana; Dallas, Texas; Saint Louis, Missouri; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Orlando, Florida; and Pittsburgh, PA.

October 2014

Advisory Board President

Marlin joins the Workplace Benefits Association as an Advisory Board member in October 2014, and becomes President in March of 2020.


May 2015

Releases Amazon Best-Seller

Marlin releases his Amazon best-selling book, “Courting the Employ(H)er”.



Joined Pittsburgh Fellows as a Mentor

Pittsburgh Fellows Young Professional Leadership Development, a nine-month leadership program to form future leaders.


January 2017

Board of Governors at the Rivers Club

Marlin takes a seat on the Board of Governors at the Rivers Club in January 2017.

April 2017

Becomes Small Business Champion in Pittsburgh

Marlin becomes the Master of Ceremonies alongside Emmy winning Darieth Chisolm hosting the Pittsburgh Business Choice awards at the Annual Pittsburgh Business Show. 

June 2017

Begins the journey to run for Mayor of Pittsburgh

Marlin begins the journey of learning more about running for office as a candidate for the office of Mayor for the city of Pittsburgh 

July 2017

Joins the American Heart Association

Joins the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association Board of Directors in July 2017, and is as appointed as the Chair of Executive Leadership in January 2019.

November 2017

Creates Empower Me Summit

Created a by-annual Empower Me Summit to reset the trajectory of African American achievement in Pittsburgh through a mentorship conference and speaker series, collecting the top achieving African Americans of Pittsburgh twice a year to share insights of progress and capability for the inspiration of the broader African American community.


September 2019

Commission as Vice-Chair

Marlin is appointed to the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in September 2019 and is voted Vice-Chair, by the commission in January 2021.


February 2020

Wins Multiple Community Awards

Including Rhonda D. Wright “Good Neighbor” Award (February 2020) By A Second Chance Inc. in recognition of a commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication to making the communities of Pittsburgh a better place.

Pittsburgh Circle of Courage Award (August 2020) By Bynum Marketing & Communications, Inc. in recognition of outstanding leadership and inspiration in the community.

New Pittsburgh Courier “Men of Excellence” Award (December 2020) By the New Pittsburgh Courier in recognition of excellent service and leadership in the community.

April 2020

Advisory Board Member

Marlin was appointed to Voluntary Benefits Association – Advisory Board Vice President, April 2020.

July 2020

Advisory Board Member

Marlin was appointed to Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute – Advisory Board Member, July 2020.

August 2020

Advisory Board Member

Marlin joins Imani Christian Academy Board of Directors, August 2020. He is the current chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee.

October 2020

Professional Coach from Fowler Academy

Marlin becomes a Certified Professional Coach from Fowler International Academy.
Marlin earns a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Markets from Harvard Business School Online.


February 2021

Youth Enrichment Services

Marlin joins Youth Enrichment Services with a seat on the Board of Directors February 2021.

February 2021

Appointed to Community Advisory Board for New Housing Study at Penn State University

Penn State University Community Advisory Board. Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Impact of Pittsburgh’s Innovative Mobility Vouchers and Mobility Counseling Program on Racial and Economic Equity.

June 2021

Announces Candidacy for Mayor of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA- Community leader, small business owner, and born and raised Pittsburgh resident, Marlin D. Woods will formally announce his candidacy for Mayor on Thursday, June 10th, 2021 at 6:00pm, at the Highland Park Reservoir in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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