Alumni Spotlight: Marlene Carney ’76

Alumni Spotlight: Marlene Carney ’76

Alumna shares decades of experience as a career coach in mentoring program

Alumna Marlene Carney sits for photo besides as  decorative fountain.
Alumna Marlene Carney is utilizing her decades of life experience to help two college graduates as a participant in the Alumni Mentoring Program.

With more than 30 years in the workforce, Marlene (Tingley) Carney ’76 feels she is equipped to help college students navigate the transition from school to career.

And in the Alumni Mentoring Program, two students are benefiting from her decades of life experience.

“I’ve learned a lot and have been out in the business world a while. I have life experience—as a parent, a grandparent, a wife,—and academic and work experience. And I think there’s something fulfilling in being able to share that with others,” said Carney.

Carney grew up in Southern California attending East Los Angeles schools, and upon attaining her bachelor’s degree in business education, quickly went to work in advertising.

In the 1980s, Carney moved to Turlock, where she ran the chamber of commerce for several years.

Helping small and large businesses and working professionals led to a position with the California Chamber of Commerce. Back in Southern California with her husband, Bill, she is now CalChamber’s Regional Director of External Affairs/Local Chamber Services. In this position, Carney aids local chambers of commerce and advances legislative outreach to support grassroots business advocacy.

To be an alumni mentor, call the Alumni Association at (323) 343-ALUM (2586) or email

Alumni Associations mentor program:

An ideal participant for the alumni mentoring program, Carney has been counseling two graduate students for the past year.

One mentee, Natalie Chiriboga, has a degree in English and a job in real estate, but wants to find a career in public relations, advertising and marketing.

“I had a lot of questions after graduation,” said Chiriboga, who signed up for the program when she joined the Alumni Association at a Grad Fair in 2010.

“It helps to have someone guide and motivate you.” Chiriboga explained that Carney helps find resources to assist her in pinpointing the right direction and introduces her to people who work in related fields.

“She’s a busy woman. But when we talk it’s for quite some time and she has a lot of information,” Chiriboga said. “She’s so knowledgeable and ready to help.”

Carney’s networking savvy is also a valuable asset for Kelly Kreuzberger, who owns Left Brain Rentals, a consulting firm that helps systemize the business side for creative company owners.

Kreuzberger graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business in 2011, but quickly found that the world wasn’t “waiting with open arms.” So she enrolled in the mentoring program for guidance.

“It was scary at first because I had to ask for help, but in society you’re made to feel like you’ve got to have it all figured out on your own,” Kreuzberger said.

Carney helps Kreuzberger push the company forward by introducing her to other professionals and teaching her communication skills to help cultivate an interest in local politics.

“She’s been extremely generous with her time and connections,” Kreuzberger said.

Being a mentor is mutually beneficial, as Carney points out, she also learns a great deal too.

“You learn what’s going on in different fields,” she said. “You learn how other people think and about today’s youth and their issues and concerns.”