Meet Our Staff
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.
Sarah began working with the Urban Land Institute of Colorado in 2013, helping to carry out its mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating better places.
As the ULI Colorado’s Manager of content and programs, Sarah ensures that ULI Colorado and it’s members are at the forefront of key issues and conversation among Colorado’s land use community. She works closely with members to engage them in educational programming including: monthly panel sessions and mentoring programs. She also oversees ULI Colorado’s Product Councils including concentrations in Multi-family housing, Community Development, and Resort Entertainment Tourism and Leisure.
Sarah has worked within the non-profit field since 2009, addressing the issues of affordable housing, sustainable construction, and creating healthy communities in areas of lower income. Prior to joining ULI, Sarah worked with organizations including Community Rebuilds and Rebuilding Together in Moab Utah, New Orleans LA, and Denver Colorado.
Sarah received her bachelor’s of Environmental Design, with an emphasis in Architecture, from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she’s not wearing her ULI hat, you can find Sarah mountain biking, climbing, and hiking the front range with her dog Bear.
Marianne joined ULI Colorado in April 2017. She oversees programs, policy issues, and communications strategies for membership involvement, policy work, advisory panels, and sponsorship. She works closely with ULI members, engaging in and contributing to policy discussions on development, finance, urban design, housing, sustainability, and transportation issues throughout Colorado and as part of the global ULI conversation.
Since 2008, Marianne has worked with organizations dedicated to sustainable development. These include ULI Columbus, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Greater Ohio Policy Center, and the GreenCityBlueLake Institute. She has also worked across sectors for a corporate sustainability consulting firm, a think tank dedicated to smart growth and sustainable development, local and state governments, a start-up accelerator, and various non-profits.
Marianne is a graduate of Dartmouth College, with Masters degrees in City and Regional Planning and in Public Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University. She has also completed a social impact business certificate program from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and the writing workshop at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Marianne serves on the boards of the Sears-Swetland Foundation, the Center for Environmental Health, the Ohio Environmental Council, and the Dartmouth Association of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in the office, Marianne is most likely on a trail somewhere, climbing, or in a café writing.
Charles Allison-Godfrey joined the ULI Colorado team in January 2016, helping to further its mission of providing education and leadership in responsible land use to an incredibly diverse group of stakeholders.
As an Associate for ULI Colorado, Charles will help facilitate effective communication among Colorado’s District Council and its members and programs.
Charles comes to us with significant international experience, having worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor in South Korea and as a Program Coordinator in Nicaragua. While working for the New Haven/Leon Sister City Project in Leon, Nicaragua, he worked to discourage deforestation and ensure responsible land use by developing a clean stove initiative in the rural community of Goyena. Charles is excited to work with ULI members to help them meet their needs.
After spending his childhood in New England, Charles graduated from Colorado College in 2013 with a degree in political science and a minor in race and ethnic studies. He enjoys Colorado’s great outdoors in a variety of ways, and is excited about his return to the state and the possibilities it holds.
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.