Melissa Wynne

Evanston Alderman, 3rd Ward

Melissa Wynne currently serves as the alderman of Evanston's 3rd Ward, but her first job was on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii when she was a teenager.

When Alderman Wynne got her first job, her father was a navy officer stationed at Pearl Harbor. Wynne worked as a store clerk at the Navy Exchange, the store located on every navy base that provides discounted American goods to military families.

"[The Navy Exchange] was a lot like Target, but with no food," says Wynne.

The first week of her new job, Wynne was instructed to stand in front of the store wearing "Aloha-wear," Hawaiian-themed clothing, passing out flyers. Wynne says because of that experience she now always accepts flyers from people handing them out.

About a week into her job, Wynne scored well on a math assessment and was assigned to work the "lay-away desk." This allowed military families to purchase larger items and pay for them in a series of installments.

"It was so boring," says Wynne with a chuckle, "but it was important to be really precise. Each dollar was so precious to the sailors and their families."

While Wynne found her first job underwhelming, she readily admits that she gained valuable experience at the Navy Exchange.

"I'm really patient with people who are training," she says, "because I know what that's like. [My first job] convinced me I didn't like retail and motivated me to go back to college."

"Everybody learns something from their first job," says Alderman Wynne. "So do it well."