How do I wrap up seven years of shared time, work, celebration and success in just 500 words? That's my task this week as I submit my final column as German Village Society executive director.

I think I can do it in two words: thank you.

When I took this job in October 2011 after 15 years in TV newsrooms and three at Columbus' Wellington School as marketing manager, I had stars in my eyes and energy to burn.

But I also had a lot to learn. German Village board leaders, staff members, volunteers, committee and event chairmen and members took me under their collective wing and mentored me with such insight and love.

Here's what I've had a chance to learn from you:

First and foremost

What is historic preservation and how does it work for neighborhood already 37 years on the National Register by the time I got here?

You can't learn from better than Jody Graichen, Sarah Marsom and Nancy Kotting, as well as several iterations of our top-notch commissioners.


German Villagers, you really know how to throw a party, and thank God because I did not know how when I got here.

But 35 major annual events later (and dozens and dozens of smaller ones), you've more than helped me figure it out.

You've helped me make each of our events record-breakers for income, attendance and innovation.

I can't wait to see what's up your collective sleeve next -- especially as Haus und Garten turns 60 in 2019.


For someone who had never worked directly with a board before, what a board I have had the privilege of serving.

People join our board because they've already rolled up their sleeves. They taught me and led me, even while allowing me to try things and make changes.


Nope, I'd never done a strategic plan either, but I can't even imagine the last four years here without ours.

It has transformed our work and ordered our ability to deliver on the projects for which you most want our leadership.


In spite of still not getting our Third Street project funded, we have had countless other wins along the way.

We've spent nearly $2 million in Urban Infrastructure Renewal Funds since I got here and deepened the relationship with police.

Investments such as sandstone curbs and brick sidewalks along Livingston are still to come.


When I got here, I thought they were just for marrying (and to be the butt of really dumb jokes), but we have used our share of attorneys in seven years -- starting with settlement of our legal battle over property taxes with Columbus City Schools, to our positive outcome with Columbia Gas before the Public Utilities Commission, to our most-recent guidance about how to use the Duncan Standards to testify on variance requests before the German Village Commission -- and we've put some very good attorneys to very good use.


From the staff to the volunteers to the chairmen of our committees and events, people who are creative, energetic and passionate about this neighborhood are the entire reason to get out of bed every morning.

That's you.

You are endlessly generous with this organization and with me personally, and since I am not leaving Columbus, I will still rely on the amazing people here to be my support, my distraction and my cheering section.

You really are the very best this city -- any city -- has to offer and it has been my extreme joy to be part of your world.

I know you will open your hearts and share your talents with my successor, Delilah Lopez, and she will also be the richer as a result.

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column .