EPISODE 18 - The Role of Women in Building thriving societies

Marva Hanks

Marva Hanks has held many titles throughout her life and career, but her favorite way to refer to herself is servant-leader. Marva is living her dream today as a thought influencer, activating her audiences to greatness and helping others uncover the power they already possess. She comes by her eloquence naturally—she’s a third generation speaker—and thrives on her ability to have maximum impact on those she encounters. 

Marva’s story began in Holly, Michigan, where her time as a star on the Holly High Bronco basketball team and as a fundraiser for underprivileged local youth foreshadowed her future work. She met her husband, Merton Hanks, while attending the University of Iowa where she played on the ground-breaking women’s basketball team under coach Vivian Stringer. Marva and Merton began their lives together amid the extravagance and stress of the athletic world—she as a basketball player and Merton as a college football star. Their busy lives reached a fever pitch when Merton was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1991, the days of Jerry Rice and Joe Montana.

Marva, because of sports, has had the opportunity to have many experiences that she would not have had access to otherwise. It is through these experiences that she is able to understand and speak about “championship culture” with authority. Marva is an engaging and dynamic speaker because she can speak plainly about the challenges and triumphs of life with wisdom that can only be derived from experience. 

Among Marva’s pivotal moments in life was when her daughter was diagnosed with autism. Always ready to advocate and lead, she helped found the acclaimed awareness organization Facing Autism in 2003. Marva continued to add to her long list of causes to champion, including public education, support for single mothers, cystic fibrosis research, support for special needs children, and severe illness awareness. She has served on several boards and committees, including the Bloomfield Educational Foundation and Bible study fellowship.

Marva continues her lifelong goal to educate, empower, and effect through Marva Hanks Consulting, providing personalized consulting services to athletes and non-athletes alike. Marva’s commitment to bettering the lives of those around her continues on in her counseling, speaking, and consulting.