Jess Zimbabwe

Jess Zimbabwe




Jess Zimbabwe is the Principal of Plot Strategies. She has also serves as the founding Director of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership—a partnership the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). For ten years, the Center’s flagship program was the Daniel Rose Fellowship, which brought the mayors and senior leadership teams of 4 cities together for a year-long program of learning from land use experts, technical assistance, study tours, leadership development, and peer-to-peer exchange. Jess was also a member of the senior management teams at both ULI and NLC.

Before that, Jess was the Director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. During her time at the Mayors’ Institute, she also served as Vice President for Programs at the American Architectural Foundation. Prior to that, Jess served as the Community Design Director at Urban Ecology, providing pro bono community planning and design assistance to low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jess is a member of the urban planning faculty at Georgetown University. She earned a Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Architecture from Columbia University. Jess was an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a Fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California. She serves on the boards of Next City, the National Main Street Center, and Colloqate, and she holds a mayoral appointment to the Washington, DC Green Building Advisory Council. She is a licensed architect and a LEED-Accredited professional. 



Plot Strategies, Seattle, WA, US, Principal

Jan 2019 - current

National League of Cities, Washington, DC, US, Director, Rose Center

Jun 2015 - Feb 2019

Urban Land Institute, Washington, DC, US, Executive Director, Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership

Feb 2009 - Jun 2015

American Architectural Foundation, Seattle, Vice President of Programs

Aug 2007 - Feb 2009

Mayors' Institute on City Design, Washington, DC, US, Director

Aug 2006 - Feb 2009

Urban Ecology, San Francisco, CA, US, Community Design Director

Aug 2003 - Jul 2006


University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, US, MArch, Architrecture

Aug 1999 - May 2003

Columbia University, New York, NY, US, Bachelors, Columbia College

Sep 1996 - May 1999

Areas of Specialization