meet our newcomers board!

Jeanne Johnson


Jeanne joined NCF in 2009 after moving from Chicago where she had a career in music performance, teaching and coaching. Her renewed love of art flourished here as she is a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum and recent past chair of the docent association. She is currently president of Newcomers and leads a bi-monthly interest group which studies great artists in-depth. Her other interests are travel and gardening. Jeanne and her husband have 3 married sons living in Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago and 4 grandsons.

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Birgitt Clever

Programs Co-VP

Birgitt is living with her family since 2018 in Princeton, a move which the family made from Long Island, NY. Birgitt joined the Newcomers 3 years ago and found a welcoming atmosphere to the Princeton community and enjoys the national, international and diverse background of its members. Birgitt loves spending time with her family, long walks with the family dog Sansa and considers herself as a wanna-be chef in the kitchen with always a new recipe on hand to try.

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Frances Prestianni

Programs Co-VP

The Great Decisions Interest Group brought Frances to Newcomers and Friends since she wanted to build her understanding of international affairs. Since joining in 2020, she has found other opportunities to expand her knowledge and to meet interesting people. Frances is a long time resident of central New Jersey and retired from State Government where she was involved with developing reports on health care quality. Before the pandemic, she enjoyed spending lots of time at the gym especially with tai chi and yoga.

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Janet Perkins

Membership VP

Janet served as the Executive Director of Princeton Girlchoir until her retirement. She enjoys spending time as a Nonprofit Community Volunteer. Janet sings alto in Princeton Pro Musica, a symphonic chorus. Janet joined Newcomers and Friends as it provided a way to make new friends after leaving the working world. She enjoys going to the theater and playing bridge with other members. She had fun this past winter cooking online with other Newcomer and Friends. When weather permits, Janet walks with the walking group and takes part in excursions to explore the area.

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Colette Plank

Social VP

Colette is a fitness instructor in Pennington. She enjoys Pickleball and getting together with friends.

She is originally from the UK and has been in the US for 15 years. She moved to the area from Cincinnati 7 years ago. Colette is married with 2 College girls, a recent empty nesters! The family also includes 2 cats and 2 dogs. Upon moving to NJ, Colette joined Newcomers and Friends as it was a great way to meet new people. NC&Fs has a lots of great groups with interesting events. She is really looking forward to being able to get together again in person with new friends.

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Gordana Sirota

Interest Groups VP

Gordana moved to the Princeton area from Queens, NY, and joined Newcomers to enjoy the company of its dynamic and diverse members. Sharing experiences and learning from one another is a delight to her. Learning languages and traveling the world as well as our local region are Gordana's great passions.

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Cathylee Healy

Marketing VP

Cathylee moved from New England to the area ten years ago. Meeting new friends was what prompted her to join Newcomers and Friends. Although she worked as an IT professional, she found time on weekends and nights to participate in golf outings and book club discussions. Having more time now, she loves to be out with the hiking group and joining friends for area concerts and other events. Learning pickleball has been really fun. Cathylee is excited by all the many interest groups that NC&Fs offers. There is something for everyone and new things to learn.

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Ginger Greenzang

Communications VP

Ginger moved to the Princeton Area in 1995 from Philadelphia. She has two college children and one high schooler and a much-loved Portuguese Water Dog, Cece, who is 11 years old. Ginger was introduced to the Newcomers and Friends through two friends who were members. They encouraged her to join them in the Teen Talk interest group. Since joining, Ginger has enjoyed participating in Teen Talk, the Hiking group, a walking group and Pickleball. She is looking forward to joining more groups in this year.

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Ann Strootman


Ann moved to New Jersey in 2005 from Pennsylvania when she took a job in Finance with Merrill Lynch. Ann joined Newcomers & Friends in 2016 when she decided to stop working; NC&Fs became a real godsend in helping Ann expand her network beyond work colleagues. She has stayed with the group because of her many warm friendships. Ann loves the outdoors and participates in most of the walking, hiking and touring Interest Groups. She is also a member of the YWCA Princeton Board and chair of its Finance Committee.

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Melissa Davis

Recording Secretary

Melissa joined Newcomers and Friends after living in the area for eleven years. She enjoys tennis, games and traveling in her free time. She’s a novice cook and gardener who enjoys the Home Cookin’ and Hands On In the Garden groups.

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Debbie Ridder

Past President/Parliamentarian

Debbie is a lifelong Jersey girl that joined once her nest was empty. She has a son living in the Yukon Territory and a daughter in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys volunteerism and loves raising puppies for the Seeing Eye. Debbie leads Home Cookin’ and co-chairs Movie Mavens for Newcomers and Friends.

Email Debbie