Lisanne McNew is director of internships and placements for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

At 30, she is also co-owner of McNew & Associates, a government contract consulting firm she started with her husband.

She has become a pillar not only among her young professional peers but in the city’s established business community as well.

So, it seems fitting that she now serves to bridge the two communities by helping UCCS students find internships in their fields of study.

She took some time this week to talk to the Business Journal about her job and ambitions.

What is the College of Business Career and Placement Center? When was it created and how is the program performing?

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The College of Business Career and Placement Office was created in the fall of 2008. Our mission is to design careers by bridging the gap between business students and the business community through internship and placement opportunities. We provide business students and alumni with career planning and academic guidance in support of their career goals by offering the needed resources to be successful. This includes internships, part-time, and full-time placement. The office organizes and conducts career activities to include: career advising, resumes reviews, mock interviews, meets & greets with employers, career fairs, interviews, career workshops, etc. To date, we have placed over 830 students in positions with government, non-profit, and for-profit organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.

Tell us about your business McNew & Associates. When was it founded, and what prompted you to start it?

McNew & Associates, Inc. (MAI) was founded in July of 2007 to help government contractors navigate their way through government contract acquisition lifecycle management. We specialize in everything from Government Cost Accounting and Bookkeeping to DCAA Audit Support. This includes: Proposal Pricing Support, Business System Analysis & Implementation, Budget Support and Contract Administration, Negotiation Assistance, and Government Contract Compliance. Basically, we help keep contractors out of trouble! My husband, Mike McNew, is a former Senior Auditor for the Department of Defense with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). We have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so we decided to act on a lifelong dream. Mike is the brains behind it all along with our employees. We currently have 10 staff working for MAI. We look forward to continuing our growth here in Colorado Springs as well as nationwide.

You recently ran for spot on the District 11 school board. What was the experience like? What lessons did you glean from it?

The experience was scary, humbling, but overall priceless. I can’t even describe the feeling when I decided to put myself out there in front of the “world” and run for public office. I decided that the future of my children was too important to just sit by and let someone else impact their lives. It was scary as hell because I had no idea what to expect. I was running against amazing individuals who had experience beyond my years, plus, what if no one voted for me?! It was humbling because at the end of the day my friends, family, and colleagues gathered around me to support me. The business community came together and stood behind me through it all. It was truly humbling to drive around town and see my name on signs in people’s businesses and yards. Then, it all culminated the day that I was able to fill in the bubble next to my name on the ballot. Not many people have that opportunity. I learned that we all have to step out of our comfort zones to do things we feel are important. I have much more respect for all our elected officials who in some way or another have to sacrifice their time, family, and name for what they believe in. Even though I did not win, I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. If I had to do it again, I would do it in a second!

Why should young professionals choose Colorado Springs?

I am a native of Colorado Springs, so I love many aspects of our city. Having said that, I believe the greatest thing about CS is the fact that the city is growing and young professionals can be an integral part of it. We can really make a difference here and that is not the case in larger cities. We, as young professionals, can be connected if we choose, and in many different ways. I am involved in committees/boards that deal with business issues, legislation, health care, education, individuals with disabilities, etc. Of course, Colorado Springs is beautiful and a tremendous place for outdoor sports and recreation. Raising a family here is not bad either. My husband and I have two young boys and I am proud to have my kids grow up here. It is safe, fun, and parents have a choice on how and where to educate their children. As a business owner, I feel I have support. There is always more we can do to support small business, but we are making great strides. We are only a couple hours from basically everything anyone could ever want, and we have over 300 days of sunshine a year. I have said this before, young professionals are very involved in Colorado Springs, and the momentum is growing. We are starting and growing businesses, running for and holding public office, and truly making a difference for and in our community. Overall, why would young professionals not want to come here?