130606 ULI Workplace of the Future (5746a)
130425 ULI YLG Get Involved (4893a)
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Meet Our Staff

Executive Director
Michael Leccese

Senior Associate
Sarah Franklin

Community Outreach Manager
Cindy Christensen

Project Employee
Laurie Tabachnick

Meet Our Staff

Michael Leccese, Executive Director
Michael Leccese

Executive Director

In July 2005 Michael Leccese became the first executive director of ULI Colorado, a field office of the 30,000-member Urban Land Institute. ULI is a nonprofit educational organization with a mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Working with 15 committees and 200 ULI Colorado volunteers, Leccese has forged alliances with nonprofits and public agencies concerned with land use, workforce housing, transit-oriented development, and sustainable development. In 2006 he helped create the 17-organization Colorado Tomorrow Alliance, a coalition to build consensus on directions for growth in metro Denver.

During his tenure ULI Colorado hosted the 2006 and 2012 ULI Fall Meetings in Denver and has grown to one of the largest (800 plus members) among 51 ULI District Councils. ULI Colorado produces nearly 30 educational programs a year including breakfast seminars, luncheon speakers, panel discussions, advisory services, mentoring programs, and project tours. In addition to policy and programs, Michael is responsible for sponsorship to support ULI Colorado and frequently speaks and writes on key issues facing the region.

Previously Michael worked as a communications consultant, newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and book author. Primarily covering architecture, urban design and real estate, he wrote or edited numerous books and planning reports and published articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Urban Land magazine and elsewhere. He served stints as editor of Historic Preservation News for the National Trust for Historic Preservation (1980-87) and Landscape Architecture magazine (1988-1995) for the American Society of Landscape Architects.

He was co-editor of Charter of the New Urbanism (McGraw-Hill, 1999) as well as such reports as the Denver Parks and Recreation Game Plan (2003) and Denver Union Station Master Plan (2004). In 1999 and 2000 he worked on a team with OZ Architecture and DHM to produce the Built Environment Image Guide for the U.S. Forest Service.

The New York City native is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with degrees in English literature and journalism. He is an enthusiastic supporter of transit and a veteran bike commuter.


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Senior Associate 

Sarah began working with the Urban Land Institute of Colorado in April of 2013, helping to carry out its mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

As the ULI Colorado Associate, Sarah ensures active communication and engagement between Colorado’s District Council and it’s members and programs.

Sarah has worked within the non-profit field since 2009, addressing the issues of affordable housing and sustainable construction, through residential design and build for lower income families.  She has worked with various organizations across the United States to build healthy environments for communities in need.

Over the years, Sarah has worked with organizations such as Community Rebuilds in Moab UT, Rebuilding Together New Orleans in New Orleans LA, and Rebuilding Together Metro Denver in Denver CO. With these various organizations she studied natural building techniques, created plan sets for the renovation of historic shotgun homes, and coordinated volunteer and outreach efforts. Recently, she also worked with Green Spaces Colorado, a sustainably minded co-working space, as their Community Coordinator.

In 2009, Sarah received her bachelor’s of Environmental Design, with an emphasis in Architecture, from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Sarah enjoys Colorado’s great outdoors and finds daily inspiration through Denver’s creative culture.


Cindy S. Christensen
Community Outreach Manager

As ULI Colorado’s Community Outreach Manager, Cindy manages and assists the activities of the Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDI), Colorado Grassroots Outreach (CoGo) and the Colorado Tomorrow Alliance (CTA).

Cindy also is owner of Christensen Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in community outreach, strategic planning, public involvement and facilitation, particularly in relation to transportation, development and economic development project

Previously Cindy worked for more than 10 years in economic development and transportation at the Downtown Denver, Partnership, Inc., a nonprofit business organization with more than 500 members. She directed the Partnership’s business and retail recruitment activities, along with research, and transportation advocacy.

After joining the Partnership in 1995, Cindy and created Colorado’s first Transportation Management Association (TMA).

Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a minor in journalism, from the University of Northern Iowa, and a master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.


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Laurie Tabachnick
Project Employee

Laurie is the newest addition to ULI Colorado. As the Project Employee, Laurie assists with daily administrative work, external communications, and the planning of the many educational events and programs that ULI supports.

Laurie is currently working on her master’s degree in urban and regional planning at CU Denver, with a focus and interest in the intersection of public health and urban design. Her background in the arts has contributed to her extensive work over the past 4 years with organizations dedicated to addressing public needs through design and aesthetics. One of the most notable projects she worked on was a public mural project in Tallahassee, Florida in conjunction with the FSU Department of Art Education and the Opening Nights Festival.

A native Tennessean, Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in art history with a minor in business from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a master’s degree in arts administration from Florida State University.