Rose Center Staff

Jess Zimbabwe, Executive Director

Jess Zimbabwe, Executive Director

Jess Zimbabwe
Executive Director

Jess Zimbabwe was named founding executive director of the ULI Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in 2009. The Center’s flagship program is the Daniel Rose Fellowship for public leaders, which brings the mayors and senior leadership teams of four cities together for a year-long program of learning from land use experts, technical assistance, study tours, leadership development, and peer-to-peer exchange. The Rose Center also holds forums on public/private real estate development and workshops to educate public officials.

Previously, Zimbabwe was director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, working with more than 125 American mayors and cities to help local leaders advocate for better-built environments in their own communities. Before that, she was community design director at Urban Ecology, providing pro bono community planning and design assistance to low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area. Zimbabwe was a comparative domestic policy fellow at the German Marshall Fund and a fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California. She is on the board of directors of Next City. She is a licensed architect, a certified city planner, and a LEED-accredited professional.

Gideon Berger, Senior Director


Gideon Berger
Senior Director

Gideon Berger is an urban planner with eight years of combined experience in the public, non-profit and private sectors whose practice has focused on using transportation infrastructure to help communities achieve their broader goals. As director of the Daniel Rose Fellowship program at the ULI Rose Center, Berger is responsible for developing fellowship programming, recruiting faculty and guest experts, and supporting the fellows with their city’s land use challenge and their own professional development opportunities.

Located in Denver, Colorado, Berger has been a transportation consultant for Fehr & Peers, a city planner for the City of Denver—where he led complete streets and transitoriented development (TOD) planning initiatives—and a TOD planner for the Denver Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks program, and an adjunct planning professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning. Before becoming an urban planner, Berger spent a decade in public affairs communications.

Berger earned his Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Communication from American University. He has published articles on planning in the journal The Next American City, National Journal magazine, The Hill newspaper and Planetizen website, has been a guest expert on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and is a certified planner by the AICP. He currently serves on the boards of Walk Denver and the Denver Transit Alliance.


Alison Johnson, Program Manager

Alison Johnson Program Manager

Alison Johnson
Program Manager

Alison Johnson is program manager of the ULI Rose Center for Public Leadership, with responsibility for developing and implementing education and research programs such as forums and webinars. Targeted toward a predominantly public sector audience, this programming provides public officials with information, insights, peer-to-peer learning, and best practices to help their work of successfully building and sustaining their cities.

Johnson also is government compliance manager at ULI, contributing to ULI’s capacity, financial analysis, and program planning/reporting associated with grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by way of the Office of Sustainable Communities and Housing, and previously with the federal stimulus program Neighborhood Stabilization Program–Technical Assistance.

Johnson has more than ten years of experience working in a corporate financial environment, as well as corporate foundation and nonprofit intermediary exposure, applying her knowledge of financial management to the operations of mission-related grant making, public outreach, and management of volunteer campaigns.

Johnson earned a master of urban planning from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a B.A. in political and economic philosophy from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Caroline Dietrich, Logistics Manager

Caroline Dietrich Logistics Manager

Caroline Dietrich
Logistics Manager

Caroline Dietrich is the logistics manager for the Education and Advisory Group at the Urban Land Institute. She coordinates the logistics for all ULI Advisory Services panels and advisory service functions, all professional development workshops, and a variety of other events within the group. She also works closely with the ULI Rose Center, helping with logistics for retreats, forums, and fellowship events.

Before joining ULI, Dietrich worked for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as a gala assistant, overseeing the planning and production of the annual “Night of Hope” Gala and silent auction. She worked closely with the Gala committee and JDRF staff to help raise over $1.7 million for research. Dietrich also spent six years as an elementary school teacher in Fairfax, Virginia, teaching social studies and language arts to fifth and sixth graders.

Dietrich has a bachelor of science in education from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, and has completed the Event Management certificate program from George Washington University. She is currently working to become a CMP–Certified Meeting Professional. She is an active member of District of Columbia chapter of the International Special Events Society, planning special events for groups in the D.C. area.


About the Rose Center

Learn more about ULI’s work with public officials to support excellence in land use decision making.

For more information, email

Contact Us

1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20007

  • Jess Zimbabwe
    Work: 202-624-7038
    Cell: 415-200-8216
  • Gideon Berger
    Cell: 720-979-5442
  • Alison Johnson
    Work: 202-624-7015
    Cell: 917-957-6841
  • Caroline Dietrich
    Work: 202-624-7048
    Cell: 703-244-9876