Downtown New Jersey Announces New Board Members

Downtown New Jersey Announces Election of Officers and New Board Members

Courtenay Mercer
Executive Director, Downtown New Jersey

January 4, 2024

Jersey City, NJ – Downtown New Jersey announces the election of officers and five new members to its Board of Directors.

New Board Members

Joining the Board of Trustees are Noelia Colon, Roxanne Earley, Jason Gleason, Marta Person Villa, Janit Rustuccia. “All of our newest Board members embody the spirit of downtown revitalization and bring talent, expertise, and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them on our team as we continue to strengthen New Jersey’s downtowns,” said Courtenay Mercer, Executive Director of Downtown New Jersey.

She continued, “we’d also like to thank outgoing Board Members, Stephen Santola, Pamela Stefanek, and Jonathan Tyler for their dedication and hard work over the years.”

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Noelia Colon is the Deputy Director of the Office of Economic and Community Development for the City of Perth Amboy. Ms. Colon has over 10 years of experience in government communications and emergency response strategies, where she served as the City’s Public Information Officer before joining the business community. Currently, she is an office and program manager for business development, providing services to over 300 local businesses with programming, projects, and partnerships designed to enhance the central business district. Additionally, she manages the State of New Jersey’s tax benefit program, Urban Enterprise Zone, to help more than 1,000 businesses city-wide with small business success and local economic growth.

roxanne earley board memberRoxanne Earley is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Hoboken Business Alliance, where she works to energize and enhance Hoboken’s business environment through collaborative partnerships with government, business, and community. Roxanne uses innovation and creativity to bridge the political, technical, and deeply personal experiences that stakeholders bring to their relationship with cities with the belief that strengthening the connections between people helps to build the trust that is foundational to thriving communities. Her work has included a range of industries including education, non-profit management, local government, urban planning and policy, advocacy and community activism, environmental justice, sustainability, placemaking, and economic development. She believes that place management organizations strengthen the role that local communities play in shaping their urban environment and are a key player in stewarding urban areas through challenges both great and small.  

An award winning speaker, author, and facilitator, Roxanne has been featured by the International Downtown Association, the American Planning Association, and across digital and print media. Roxanne has taught at the New York Institute of Technology school of Architecture and Design, the CUNY Charles & Stella Guttman Community College of Urban Studies, and Saint John’s University. Roxanne is an alumna of Saint John’s University, The Women’s Impact Alliance, and the Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.

jason gleason board membersJason Gleason after serving on the Board of Directors of the Montclair Center BID from January 2016 to July 2019, including a short stint as the board’s President, Jason took over as Executive Director, where he serves the organization currently. In his tenure as Executive Director, he has been responsible for the organization being awarded over $1M in grants, overseen a major downtown strategic planning initiative, implemented new programs such as the ArtConnects mural program, Fresh Air Montclair, the award-winning Pop Goes the Plaza, and transformed the BID’s events programming by partnering to bring the Montclair Jazz festival and Montclair Pride Festival downtown. Jason has built a reputation as an inclusive, no-nonsense, transformative leader whose strengths are building solid foundations through partnerships and collaborative work and fostering more robust connections with BID stakeholders.

villamartaMarta Person Villa re-joined CBRE’s Florham Park office in 2022 as Senior Vice President within the firm’s Tri-State Retail Services Group. Ms. Villa possesses over 25 years in the commercial real estate industry and has accumulated extensive knowledge and experience in landlord representation, occupier site selection and investment property acquisition and disposition. Villa enjoys leasing all property types and enhancing their value by properly merchandising the tenant mix. As a tenant rep, Villa has a track record of selecting sites for restaurants, soft and hard goods, medical, daycare, gas/convenience, coffee, auto, wireless and financial tenants. She has represented tenants including Trek Bikes, The Container Store, Carvana, Wawa, Wingstop, Burgerim and many more.

Villa leads a strong agency business with clients such as Transformco, SJP Properties, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, and Asset Restructuring as well as many other non-institutional owners.

rusticcioJanet Rustuccia has been practicing architecture for over 24 years and joined Gensler in 2007 with experience in design through construction. Her role as an architect and design manager has given her the opportunity to work on ground up mixed-use, office buildings and corporate campus expansions, education, religious, government, & residential building types. With a deep interest in projects that impact and serve the community, she has lent her skills to community service projects in New Jersey, Chicago, Beijing, and Pune (India) that provided people with collaborative architectural vision planning and balanced design.

Janet currently serves in a regional project management role for Gensler where she partners with multiple discipline leaders in the firm to set developmental goals for managers, hone their coaching and mentoring skills, and lead activities to further their emotional intelligence capabilities. She also guides them on how to build strong teams and train others on how to be a resilient leader.

DNJ Board Officers

In addition to welcoming new members to the Board, Downtown New Jersey elected a new class of officers, that will serve in leadership roles for the next two years.

  • President – Vanessa Quijano, NJ Community Capital
  • Vice President – Natalie Pineiro, Ink Creative Strategies
  • Vice President – Thomas Strowe, Scotch Plains Township
  • Vice President – Robert Zuckerman, Red Bank RiverCenter
  • Treasurer – Meg Brill, Downtown West Orange Alliance

Downtown New Jersey is a non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, developers, government agencies, and local and regional entities that are passionate about downtowns. Downtowns reflect our communities’ unique identities, provide a focal point, a convenient local place of commerce, and offer a sense of place where people can gather and truly be a community. Downtown New Jersey provides advocacy, education, and technical assistance resources dedicated to ensuring the vitality of our downtowns. 

For more information about Downtown New Jersey, visit

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