Marlin As a Leader

With almost 30 years of sales leadership experience, Marlin Woods is a dynamic and engaging leader who is continuously raising the standards of leadership.

Since he was a young adult, Marlin had the drive to get started in a career that would put him in a leadership position. This led to him working as a professional in sales to build his experience and become groomed for leadership early on in his career, while also working toward becoming a minister.

In 2007, Marlin was ordained to the Pastorate and installed as Associate Pastor of the ministry called Millennial Reign located in Homewood, where he served until 2009. He met his wife Jessica Brooks in 2010, they married in 2011, and in 2012, he began an in-home fellowship called One Family in Christ with her.

As his professional career began to grow, he launched Benefits PLUS, a Vendor Management consulting firm that specializes in pairing best fit health and welfare benefits vendors to employers through a unique matching system, in March 2013. Furthering his leadership experience, Marlin began the Empower Me Summit, a speaker series and seminar for African Americans that serves to reset the path of African American Achievement in Pittsburgh.

Marlin also uses his leadership skills to mentor a multitude of professionals in the Pittsburgh area, ages 19 to 50 and believes it is his responsibility to provide insight and direction to African American professionals so that the quality of their lives is raised to higher plateaus.
American Heart Association
Youth Enrichment Services
Workplace Benefits Association
American Heart Association (1)
AHN Cancer Institute

Investing into Community
Leaders and Partners

It is the heart of Marlin Woods to reward the region’s community leaders for the tireless work they do in raising and securing a higher quality of life for their neighbors and communities. The Empower Me Summit in partnership with Highmark Health has donated money to identified leaders of standard and excellence in the African American communities of Greater Pittsburgh. “I want to recognize and celebrate the leaders people don’t usually herald as heros. These are the names you don’t typically hear nor see. It’s my responsibility to lift them up”, said Woods.

Woods says, people just want to be seen, heard, and remembered for the sacrifices they make. This is the response that Marlin Woods has in understanding the depths of advocacy for a people, a community, a region lead by selfless contributors. Woods will be partnering with more companies to award more unsung heros and leaders of the communities of Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future. His metric for identifying those leaders is, the ones doing the most work lifting the community, making the least amount of noise doing it.
Spoken in more than 20 industry conferences.
Spoken to audiences of more than 1,400 at a time.
Speaker for conference across 15+ cities in the U.S.
Public speaker for over 25+ years.
Whether you need an emcee for your next event, have a project you want to work with Marlin on, or want to feature him on your podcast episode, Marlin is a man of many talents who is ready to partner with you on your next endeavor.
Learn how to become a more public speaker with Marlin.
Partner with Marlin for your next event, organizational training, and more!
Attend the Empower Me Summit to collaborate with others in the community.
Become a more dynamic leader and speaker by working Marlin.
In addition to being a public speaking expert, Marlin is also an experienced business coach and mentor who has the skills to help you drive for success.

Learn from Marlin

Train with Marlin. Become a mentee in public speaking and discover your authentic message.

Read his book Courting the EMPLOY(H)er: A Business-To-Business Romance. Learn valuable sales skills and knowledge to create stronger relationships.

Attend the Empower Me Summit. Collaborate, educate, and inspire the expansion of community support with other African Americans.

GET IN TOUCHContact Marlin


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 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. Pittsburgh Fellows works to retain the brightest young minds in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.

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.”

Marlin also serves in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP). 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 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
  • Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets – Harvard Business School

Public Speaking Appearances

See How Marlin’s Training Has Helped Others

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 WoodsConnect Today
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