20 under 40: Lisel Petis, Gerber-Berend Design Build/3Rive
July 29, 2017
When Steamboat Springs native Lisel Petis raised her right hand on Valentine's Day to be sworn in as a Steamboat Springs City Council member, she made history in a couple of ways.
Young professionals hailed her as the first millennial to ever serve on the city council. And her appointment also gave the council its first female majority since the one that was seated nearly 30 years ago in 1987.
Recently announcing her intention to re-run for city council this fall, Petis, 34, somehow fits it all in: a part-time job as chief financial officer and legal counsel for Gerber-Berend Design Build; running a new consulting business called 3rive, helping small businesses with financial, operational and legal needs; and, of course, her multitude of volunteer efforts bettering the community she grew up in.
"I grew up here," says Petis, who previously served as senior deputy district attorney in the 14th Judicial District. "This is my home. I want to do what I can to make it the best it can be."
She's doing plenty. Leaving Steamboat after high school, Petis graduated from the University of Colorado before earning her law degree from the University of Denver. She moved back here three years ago with husband and fellow attorney Geoff Petis, and town has been getting better ever since.
She serves on the board of Grand Futures, helped initiate a local victim impact panel for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers as part of Leadership Steamboat, is a member of the Young Professionals Network and serves on the Judicial Performance Review Commission. She's also been involved with Integrated Community and Craig's Domestic Violence Task Force.
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"Lisel is a huge asset to our community, bringing not only her legal expertise, but her deep commitment to make Steamboat a place that treasures its history and attracts the next generation of active citizens," says former city councilwoman Paula Cooper Black.
But perhaps one of her biggest contributions in town is the formation, with her husband, of the Petis Law Community Impact Foundation, which so far, in two installments, has bestowed nearly $10,000 to local nonprofits, from the Chief Theater and Advocates for a Peaceful Community to the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Grand Futures.
This summer, they're also organizing their first-ever Day of Community Impact, helping nonprofits, which she likens to "a nonprofit scavenger hunt." People help out nonprofits and get awarded points for their efforts, which can be redeemed for such prizes as Denver Broncos tickets at the program's end.
"It should be a great, fun way to help out local nonprofits," she says.
If all this — joining city council and volunteering above and beyond for the community — hints of leadership, her peers are quick to agree.
"Lisel operates with integrity, putting the interests of the citizens in the community first in her mind in everything she does," says cohort and fellow YPN member Beth Melton.