The Short North Business Association was left without a leader when vibrant, highly visible director John Angelo stepped down from his post Dec. 31. The group that helms the hottest district in town didn't take long to find someone new to take the reins - development guru and longtime Central Ohio resident Christina Menges.

The Short North Business Association was left without a leader when vibrant, highly visible director John Angelo stepped down from his post Dec. 31. The group that helms the hottest district in town didn't take long to find someone new to take the reins - development guru and longtime Central Ohio resident Christina Menges.

The Short North's charming new ambassador shared more about a peculiar path to her dream job.

I was a scholarship swimmer at the University of Cincinnati. I ended up screwing around on a diving board one day before practice, did a back flip, landed on it and broke four ribs. I was there to study drama at the conservatory. I thought, "If I'm not going to be swimming, what the hell am I doing in Cincinnati?" No offense to Cincinnati, but I wanted to be an actor.

I dropped out and moved to New York. I did the whole school-of-life thing there for about six years. I really ran my tail off - auditioning, doing radio voiceovers, modeling. I sang a little bit with a jazz band. I did anything I could do to bring the ramen noodles to the table.

I came back to Columbus to go to school. I started at Columbus College of Art and Design. I transferred to Ohio State to study politics. I was hired, within weeks of graduating, to be the communications director for the House Democrats. I've been back in Columbus for about 15 years.

Three things I can't live without are my husband, Ashley, my son, Caleb, and my two dogs, Trout and Lula. I understand that might be four, but Trout and Lula only have one brain between them.

My husband and I have a place in Merion Village and a country house in Radnor. I'm a totally citified girl. When my husband suggested that we move to Delaware County and buy a farmhouse, I said, "Have we met?" But it's wonderful. The house is almost 150 years old. It's right on the Scioto River. It's country bliss.

On a perfect Saturday night, I've got my husband, a shaker full of ice, cold vodka and a blanket under the stars. Best show in the world.

On a perfect Sunday afternoon, I've got the Sunday paper, a thermos full of coffee and jazz on the stereo. I'm a Miles Davis and John Coltrane kind of girl.

One of our favorite things to do is to pack up a bottle of wine or champagne in my husband's convertible and just go. No direction. No destination in mind. We've come across some of the most amazing places in Ohio. You'd never, ever know they were there.

Working with the SNBA is my dream job. I've always been involved in the Short North. This is something that I've been working toward my whole career.

A quality that I bring to this job is that I've had to struggle as an artist throughout my young life. It's really easy for someone to say, "I have great passion. The arts is my whole life." It's not so easy to live. I understand what it means to have a district that is dedicated to the thriving arts community.

I'm not foolish enough to think that I am a replacement for John Angelo. I'm not interested in that. John did amazing things for this district. I would like to pretty much ride the momentum that he created and allow that groundswell to continue, while planning for the future.

The best advice I've ever gotten is always assume positive intent. People really like to give advice. I try to take it. This piece of advice has helped me in so many ways to filter through my own assumptions and get to a much better place.

One thing people might not know about me is that I've broken nearly every bone in my body - including my head. A car hit it. I was on a bicycle without a helmet. I lost my memory for a day or two. I got it back. You should know that.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.