Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Marlene Robinson moved to the United States in her early twenties. She began her work life as a potter (ceramist). After ten years she shifted into work with primarily non-governmental organizations that ranged from a focus on arts, science and technology (Da Vinci Days, a festival of Arts, Science and Technology in Corvallis, Oregon, in the U.S.), to community grantmaking (Whatcom Community Foundation in Bellingham, Washington).
During that time Marlene also volunteered as a Master Gardener with the national Co-operative Extension program, providing science-based information on horticulture and environmentally sound gardening practices. She also volunteered as a field crew member in riparian restoration with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. In 2003, Marlene co-founded the Pipeline Safety Trust, a national organization that promotes fuel transportation safety.
Marlene has lived on Bonaire since 2005. She became a board member of Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire in 2006, where, in addition to the normal board responsibilites of policy-making and oversight, her focus is on organizational development and fund development.