Marlene served in the field of volunteer management for 35 years including 30 years as a trainer and consultant and seven years as Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Boulder, Colorado, where she still lives. Prior to her career in volunteerism, Marlene worked in Personnel Administration in industry for six years.
In 1976 Marlene wrote her first book, The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs, applying classic management principles to volunteer administration. It was only the second book on this subject in the United States. Other books by Marlene include Survival Skills for Managers (1981), How to Mobilize Church Volunteers (1983), and You Can Make a Difference (1990). Marlene was also general editor of the six-volume Volunteer Leadership in the Church set in 2003. During the 1970s, she was also editor-in-chief of Volunteer Administration, the forerunner of today’s The Journal of Volunteer Administration.
Marlene passed away in 2019. Her teachings and speeches live on in the book Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson (2008).