Your Pittsburgh Choice for MayorMarlin Woods

Marlin Devon Woods, your 2021 mayoral candidate, is a Pittsburgh native, born at West Penn hospital in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh.

Raised in Pittsburgh’s East End, he saw both sides of the proverbial railroad tracks of socio-economic experience. This gave him a balanced outlook in his development, able to communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds and cultures from an early age.

He attended several Pittsburgh Public Schools growing up in East Liberty, Garfield, Highland Park, Shadyside, Oakland, and Squirrel Hill, which provided him with a sense of diversity and inclusiveness that would carry him to the positions of great influence he wields today.

As a family man, his most treasured and fulfilling achievement, that he adores his wife, Jessica and his beautiful children.

Marlin is happy to announce his candidacy for Pittsburgh mayor and he is proud to have the opportunity to serve the community that helped shape him into the man he is today.

Meet Marlin Woods
Workplace Benefits Association
AHN Cancer Institute
Youth Enrichment Services
American Heart Association (1)
American Heart Association

Meet Marlin WoodsMarlin Up Close

Marlin’s professional career has been robust, spending the majority of his professional life in sales from 1994 to current, becoming an experienced communicator, learning the methods of conversation, and gathering an understanding of people. This, coupled with pursuing a life in ministry as a Protestant Minister, beginning his pursuits at the young age of 20, to his ordination to the Pastorate at age 34, has educated Marlin in leadership and service.

New Beginnings with a Community Champion

Marlin will work to give the residents and small business owners of Pittsburgh their voice back.
“I’m running because leadership is the resounding opportunity in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. I’m running because people have been forgotten, more specifically, I don’t want people forgotten, individual people forgotten,” said Marlin.

Marlin said we celebrate many things about Pittsburgh: The Pirates, Pens, Steelers, Bridges, Steel, Most Livable City, the Arts, our Culture, the Companies who are located here, homegrown organizations and things that are unique to Pittsburgh, but we are not talking about our next-door neighbor and what really makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.

What really makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh are the residents, and its small business owners. Marlin believes it is time to highlight people, individuals, house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood. It is time to celebrate people. We are all too familiar with the problems that plague our communities our neighborhood, our block but no one is asking the questions, like “what does progress look like to you?”

Marlin wants to ask each individual resident what progress looks like to them. He wants to know what each person in the city needs to thrive. He will work to provide residents and small business owners with an environment of customizable solutions so that each household has access to platforms of quality and platforms of access, by which, he said, are launchpads to progress.

I am running so that “people can begin progress up and out, advancing up to a better quality of life, and out of dissatisfaction. That’s why I’m running, to inspire, to empower, to lift up, and to serve through helping you to define your standard and providing you with the resources to do that because Pittsburgh is about people. I’m running for each and every person’s desirable progress,” said Marlin. He is ready to work with each resident and small business owner to bring progress back to Pittsburgh.

“The individual residents and small business owners are what make Pittsburgh unique. One size fits all truly doesn’t fit all. The one size fits all ideologies do certainly not fit all because we are not addressing each. We have to stop trying to address all and start addressing each. The progress of each person is relevant to that person,” said Marlin.

Marlin also points out that he is running a gentlemen’s race. “My mother once said you don’t put someone else down to make you feel better about yourself. I’m not in this to tear down another candidate. This isn’t about them and it isn’t about me. This is about the residents of Pittsburgh and small businesses. Leadership isn’t about the leader, leadership is about the people that leader serves,” said Marlin.

His campaign is focused on the people of Pittsburgh, not his opponents. “My campaign is not about another candidate. I don’t have enemies in another person. Not another candidate or another person is my enemy. My enemy is homelessness. My enemy is poverty. My enemy is the social determinants of health, not another candidate. I’m letting my own light so shine because I trust it’s been given to me by divine influence,” said Marlin.

Meet Marlin Woods

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CV AND AWARDSMarlin Up Close

Marlin has extensive experience in sales, public speaking, and leadership. He leads his life with a passion for leadership and service to his family, clients, and the Pittsburgh community.
  • Community Efforts
  • Mentors
  • Awards & Honours
  • Licenses, Certifications, and Certificate Coursework

Marlin Woods is the Executive Chairman of BenefitsPLUS, where he provides overall leadership to enhance the firm’s effectiveness and performance. He also acts as an advisor to the team in developing strategy, builds the firm’s profile by establishing new corporate relationships, and fosters ethical and responsible decision-making while also overseeing and executing development plans.

Marlin serves as a Commissioner for the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission. As a Commissioner, one of seven appointed by the County Executive, he works to assure that all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or place of birth, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status, age or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical disability are afforded equal opportunities for employment, housing and use of public accommodation facilities within the county.

Marlin serves as the Executive Leadership Development Chair for the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association Pittsburgh raises $4.5 million annually to impact the Greater Pittsburgh Community’s health. The AHA invests in hands-only CPR, lifesaving research, expanding community health programs focused on blood pressure management, increasing physical activity, and access to healthy food.

Serving as Board President for the Workplace Benefits Association Advisory Board (Conference Planning Committee), Marlin works to educate other benefits professionals on topics such as Direct primary care – its design and its rapid emergence as an alternative healthcare strategy, legislative updates and their ramifications, helping employees become better consumers of their benefits programs, and the potential impact of Medicare-For-All, among other topics.

Marlin also serves as a Mentor through the Pittsburgh Fellows Young Professional Leadership Development, a nine-month leadership program to form future leaders. Marlin’s work as a mentor includes providing an influential mentorship to create accountability, build moral character, and foster servant attitudes. He also helps prepare the Fellows to think strategically and theologically while integrating their faith into their work.

Marlin has a seat on the Community Advisory Board with the Pennsylvania State University Department of Health Policy, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “The Impact of Pittsburgh’s Innovative Mobility Vouchers and Mobility Counseling Program on Racial and Economic Equity.”

This project investigates the effects of HACP’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program on improving low-income, racial/ethnic minority access and the transition to opportunity-rich neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, focusing primarily on the role that landlords play in ensuring the success of these programs.

Marlin serves on the Board of Directors of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) a non-profit organization.  YES has a mission of providing socially and economically at-risk youth the opportunity to achieve success through participation in mentorship, education, and enrichment programs; and a vision of seeking to empower communities to become their own best resource.  YES believes that everyone matters – and that there are no throwaway kids.

Marlin has had many amazing mentors throughout his life that have helped to shape him into the leader he is today and continue to make an impact on his life.

  • Bishop Loran Mann, Senior Pastor of Pentecostal Temple Church of God
    in Christ
  • Jeffrey Gray, Vice President, PNC Wealth Management
  • Roman Matusz CLF, Managing Principal, Mass Mutual Pittsburgh
  • Ian George, Brokerage Director, Mass Mutual Pittsburgh
  • Nelson Griswold, Managing Director NextGen Benefits
  • Allan Wampler, Owner, Synergy Real Estate Corporation

Marlin has received a variety of awards that speak to his dedication, leadership, and ability to inspire the community.

  • February 2020: Rhonda D. Wright “Good Neighbor” Award by A Second Chance Inc. in recognition of my commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication to making the communities of Pittsburgh a better place.
  • August 2020: Pittsburgh Circle of Courage Award by Bynum Marketing & Communications, Inc. in recognition of outstanding leadership and inspiration in the community.
  • December 2020: New Pittsburgh Courier “Men of Excellence” Award by the New Pittsburgh Courier in recognition of excellent service and leadership in the community.
  • Life, Accident, & Health Insurance License (National Producer
  • Ordained Protestant Minister
  • Certified Professional Coach – The Fowler International Academy
  • Coursework, Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets – Harvard Business School Online

Public Speaking Appearances


Empowered Clients
Great Reviews

Marlin has helped many people find their authentic message and become better communicators in their professional and personal lives through his own extensive experience.

Marlin Woods is a phenomenal personal development coach. His style and support has helped me tremendously. The positive changes I am experiencing with public speaking and business consistency are without question, due to our private sessions.

Tina Daniels

Over the last 2 years, the mentorship that I have received from Marlin has been invaluable. I initially came to him seeking mentorship centered around board leadership. I have excelled in my board role thanks to Marlin and have been sought by other organizations to serve on their board of directors and executive leadership teams. In the last year, our mentor/mentee relationship has shifted its focus to my professional goals. Since then, I have transitioned into a new role with a new company and negotiated the salary that I deserved after utilizing the tools provided by Marlin during our monthly meetings. It is refreshing to be able to receive advice and tools on how to navigate my career. Marlin has challenged me to become a better leader by setting small goals and has presented opportunities that would not have typically been accessible to me. I say all this to say that the quality of the mentorship I have received to date from Marlin has been superlative.

Monique Smith

From the time I met Mr. Woods, it was clear that our relationship would be unique. While we came together for professional mentorship, our relationship has developed into far more. I have certainly grown professionally but also spiritually, mentally, and physically. Mr. Woods has shown a deep concern for my entire well-being and life. His ability to listen, process, and provide thoughtful guidance is remarkable and a true blessing. In the beginning, I gained a mentor. Years later, I am thankful to God that I can say I have also gained a friend, advocate, and brother in Christ. Thank you, Mr. Woods, for coming alongside me.

Bryson Edmonds

This coaching experience helps shine a light on some personal growth areas and transform them into some of your strongest features. These sessions aren’t about walking away and becoming the next top keynote speaker, although it’s possible. Instead it helps in building confidence. You learn the best ways to own a room, command an audience and be heard. Doesn’t matter if your audience is around the dinner table or in an arena, you’ll have the skills.

Danielle Parson

Marlin has an anointing on his life that allows him to breathe confidence in everyone that hears his voice with purpose. (take a pause and let that sink in)
The seeds of confidence, growth, and prosperity were in me, but just like anything that has life, it needed some essentials to grow and thrive and Marlin’s mentorship has provided the nourishment that I needed to reach higher levels. He has natural mental mechanics, that feed his leadership skills and allow him to see things in you that you do not always see in yourself. Those same mechanics allow him to provide sound direction, inspiration, and empowerment that flows over to not only his mentees but everyone those mentees are also in contact with. Everyone, directly and indirectly, is affected by his leadership! This is a man filled with compassion, purpose, and a love for people that HE coupled with the responsibility of impact. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he chose purpose over perfection and is walking in that purpose every day. I look forward to my monthly calls with him because during every call, I know it’s a guaranteed experience that I will be able to inhale confidence and exhale all doubt. I am thankful for our friendship and his mentorship in and over my life.

Kenya Mathews

Before teaming up with Marlin and taking in every word, I thought I knew what public speaking was, what I found out is…what it is not. Public speaking is more than just standing in front of a group and delivering a speech. It is about engagement, involvement and a true desire to convey a message and information.

I have always had a bit of a phobia about speaking in the presence of a formal group, however, after taking Marlin’s workshop, I have really learned how to overcome my fear, specifically, to be genuine in my message. I am so very grateful to Marlin for giving me the vision to look at how public speaking is a tool of influence and not just the mechanics of knowing how to.

Sandal Russell

Marlin has impacted me deeply. His walk-in life is characterized by faith and courage. When I met him 5+ years ago I was an active student athlete, engaged to be married soon, and feeling all the pressure to be stellar in class, on the field, in the community and at home. I was looking for guidance, a role model to immolate.

Before my junior year of college, I interned with a life insurance firm, and I was on my way to see a potential client, when I met Marlin. I acted rather boldly and asked if we could sit down for lunch. That was 5+ years ago and we still sit for lunch on a regular basis.

At the first meeting I came expecting him to whip out his secret formula to thriving in every area, Marlin instead laid out a philosophy far greater, the philosophy he lives by. “I only do what I see the father doing.” He then referenced John 5:19 “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,” as his guidepost for life.

I’m thankful to have a front row seat to watch Marlin walk gracefully between faith, family and business life. His influence on me extends far beyond the practical advice; more than anything I learn the most from Marlin simply by observing him live out his values so clearly.

Dennis Albert Briggs, Investment Banking Analyst PNC Capital Markets

Being under the tutelage of Marlin Woods has been nothing short of amazing. He has been a wonderful mentor and a phenomenal coach. The strategies and lessons that he has provided have not only inspired and motivated me, but they have allowed my platform to expand in a short amount of time and has also allowed my professional relationships to improve and increase.

He has given me the confidence, the clarity, and the tools needed to be successful on my journey, and for that I am not only honored, but forever grateful.

Qiana Buckner

What more can I say but my life has been altered in a positive direction as a result of the help and leadership of Marlin. Many times we may not understand the need for not only a mentor, but an individual that can see what you do not see in yourself. When I started meeting with Marlin I was paralyzed with fear and unsure in many areas. As time progressed, areas in my life were addressed and not only have I had a paradigm shift in my personal life, my business is elevating to another level. Marlin is not only a mentor but someone I consider a friend. His heart to see myself and my family thrive is a blessing. I am truly grateful to have a mentor that saw who I was created to be even when I was uncertain at times.

Shiquita Williams

Marlin WoodsConnect Today
Contact me by phone or simply send me an email anytime you want. I am open to all suggestions from my clients and the community.
As Seen atWhere to Find Me?
Every Monday - Fireside Chat Zoom Meeting
Every Saturday - Schenley Oval Walk with Marlin Starting Aug. 21
Aug 11 - Pittsburgh City Council Community Meeting
Aug - 13 - Black Educators Garden Soiree and Excellence Awards
Aug 14 - Yinzzer 4.12 Run
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