It’s hard to find someone whose career has been as wide-ranging and storied as Marva Allen’s. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, author, and teacher, Marva has served as a member of numerous distinguished organizations, including the IBM Great Lakes Region Board and the General Motors Diversity Board. She’s rung the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange, hosted events for Bill Clinton and Maya Angelou, and was president of multi-million dollar technology firm USI.
Hello! Who are you? Tell us about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing?
Hey, I’m Marva Allen. I have spent my life as a serial entrepreneur building several companies. I am Jamaican by birth though I have lived in several countries over my life so far. I am passionate about making every day count. I’m passionate about freedom of choice. I totally enjoy writing, playing the piano (though I’m really bad at it) and watching K-Drama.
I run four businesses:
- I am a business turnaround specialist/consultant
- CEO of a startup (wordeee.com)
- Partner in a traditional publishing company
- Run Hue-Man as a bookstore which was brick and mortar for 10 years, and now only does specialty events for big clients
Additionally, I write novels and am on faculty at Touro Graduate School of Business and undergrad schools teaching entrepreneurship.
How did you discover the Hudson Valley?
I’d had it with living in the city. I thought of moving back home to Michigan, but the time was not right as my business is centered in New York City. A friend suggested the best of both worlds could be on the Hudson so we decided to check out the Hudson Valley. Our requirements were no more than an hour or so away from the city on the Metro-North line. I ended up in Beacon and I love it.
Walk us through a typical day.
I run four businesses so my days are pretty full and in my spare time I write novels.
- 🌄 Up at 8
- 🙆♀️ Stretch
- 🍳 Breakfast
- 💼 Hit my office by 9am
- 🎹 Lunch at about 2, may play a couple songs on piano after lunch. Prepare dinner to pop in oven
- 💼 Back in office at 3pm
- 💻 Work until about 7pm
- 👟 While dinner is getting ready exercise for an hour
- 🍽 Eat dinner
- 🇰🇷 Relaxing with K-drama, reading, and/or learning Korean
Do you have a go-to coffee or beer order, and from where?
Where do you do your best creative work?
In my office. I open the window and listen to the water outside in the summer.
How has the Hudson Valley influenced or impacted your creative work?
Geography matters a lot to me. I know instantly if a place will add or detract from my life joy. I am extremely focused here because life is so easy — free of daily hassles, such as spending an hour in the post office and driving around to try and find parking, or two hour wait at restaurants. It’s a dream come true. The place is as efficient as I am and I love it. Consequently I have been free to mind meander.
What’s surprised you most about living and working in the Hudson Valley?
How just an hour away from the rat race is a civilized and progressive community.
Are you part of any local groups or communities you’d like to mention?
I sometimes drop in on Hudson Valley Women in Business, and occasionally teach for WEDSE. I’d like to get more involved but my businesses keep me solidly looted to routine. I also have a group of wonderful friends who meet up weekly, which is often enough for me.
Anything you want to plug or promote?
As I said a big passion of mine is writing. I am the author of four books and have spent many years in the publishing and technology business. As a confluence to those two skills, I started a online curated publishing company for serious and committed writers called Wordee.