Arlene is a social worker and was, from 1984 to 2000, the Executive Director of Family Services of the North Shore. During that time and since leaving that position, she has been active as a volunteer in many civic organizations including the Vancouver Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Board, and Temple Sholom Synagogue. She also served as a member of the BC Institute of Chartered Accountants Practice Review and Licensing Committee, the British Columbia Reference Drug Policy Review Consultation Panel, and the panel of experts on governance in the British Columbia Community Living Sector.
Arlene was elected to the board of directors of the Vancouver Opera Association in 2001 and served as Chair of the board from 2004 to 2006. After coming to her term limit of nine years on the VOA board, she served as Chair of the Vancouver Opera Foundation from 2010 to 2012.
Arlene was also chair of the Steering Committee of the 2007 Canadian Arts Summit, a yearly gathering of Canada’s 50 largest arts organizations and was a member of the advisory committee of Opera.ca in connection with the Canadian Opera Creation Fund.