Black & Powerful: Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Chicago Treasurer

Conyears-Ervin says her mother raised her to 'never be limited by my zip code'
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin said she cannot think of a better position for herself as she manages city finances and works to create opportunities for residents to improve their financial literacy.

"I'm a numbers girl," Conyears-Ervin said.

Conyears-Ervin talked with ABC 7 Reporter Samantha Chatman about her plans as city treasurer, her upbringing and why she is dedicated to exposing young people to the financial services industry in episode eight of the ABC 7 streaming series "Black & Powerful."

A Chicago native, Conyears-Ervin was born in the city's Englewood neighborhood and raised on the West Side by a single mother. Conyears-Ervin said she is fiercely independent because she watched how her mother worked tirelessly to raise her three daughters.

"My mother always instilled in me to never be limited by my zip code," Conyears-Ervin said. "I don't know how, as a working mother, that I could be the city treasurer if I was not trained by my mother as I was. That independence, that tenacity, I feel that I'm able to overcome so much."

Before being elected as city treasurer in 2019, Conyears-Ervin worked in the private sector and also served as Illinois State Representative for the 10th District. As Treasurer, Conyears-Ervin said she works to protect taxpayer dollars, support small businesses and educate young people on financial resources and the financial services industry.

She said representation matters, "When I tell them (students) what you see in the streets that looks like big money being exchanged, you haven't seen anything. See the financial service industry and the money that is being transferred, millions of dollars in transactions at a time. That can be you."

Conyears-Ervin is still proud to call herself a West Side resident, living in the Garfield Park neighborhood with her husband and young daughter. She said every day she sees the needs of her community, and that is what motivates her to efforts to make a difference.

Watch more episodes of Black & Powerful here.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.