Credit union leaders Gary Parker, Deborah Conder honored at Cornerstone’s IMPACT Conference

PLANO, TX (April 8, 2024)Cornerstone celebrates two visionary leaders, Gary D. Parker and Deborah Conder, as recipients of prestigious awards for their exceptional contributions, support of, and dedication to advancing the credit union movement.  

Parker and Conder were honored during Cornerstone’s IMPACT 2024: Annual Meeting Conference on April 4 in Kansas City, Mo., along with other organization and individual award winners.  

Parker was inducted into Cornerstone’s Hall of Fame, a lifetime achievement recognition created to honor those in the credit union movement who reflect a history of service to credit unions. Conder was recognized as Cornerstone’s Volunteer of the Year for her support and dedication as a credit union volunteer.

2024 Hall of Fame Inductee: Gary D. Parker 
With a career spanning four decades, Parker’s journey embodies the spirit of service and leadership. Beginning as a part-time teller at Bison Federal Credit Union while still a teen, Parker soon became the youngest credit union manager in Oklahoma at the age of 20. 

After 14 years at Bison FCU, he led First Family Federal Credit Union and in 1996, took the helm at what is now 1st University Credit Union in Texas. He remained at 1st University for three decades. Under Parker’s leadership, the credit union thrived.   

Parker’s influence earned him acclaim as a selfless servant, visionary, and mentor within the credit union community. He was elected to serve on the chapter level and regionally on the boards of the state credit union leagues. He co-founded Cornerstone’s Southwest Lending and Collections Conference and had such an impact that a young professional’s scholarship was created in his name so young leaders could attend the conference at a low cost. 

“Gary Parker is a beloved leader whose legacy will impact leaders for many years, thanks to his dedication to the credit union movement,” said Caroline Willard, president/CEO of Cornerstone League. “We at Cornerstone are honored to induct Gary into the 2024 Hall of Fame.” 

Nationally, he served on America’s Credit Unions (then Credit Union National Association) Small Credit Union Committee and on a National Credit Union Administration panel exploring corporate credit unions. His guidance led to impactful policy changes, strengthening corporate credit unions. His accomplishments over his career earned him recognition as Credit Union Management School’s Alumnus of the Year, nearly four decades after he graduated.   

Parker retired from 1st University in 2023. 

2024 Volunteer of the Year: Deborah Conder 

Deborah Conder, a veteran employee of NASA for 37 years and Board Chair of Wellby Financial, is a credit union advocate and champion, and her achievements represent innovation, resilience, and community stewardship in the industry.  

She has spearheaded technological advancements, rebranding efforts, and strategic partnerships, positioning Wellby Financial as a leader of excellence in the financial industry and the local community.  

“Deborah Conder’s contributions to the credit union movement are immeasurable,” said Willard. “She embodies the ‘people helping people’ philosophy and we’re proud to recognize her efforts and leadership.” 

Under Conder’s leadership, the credit union unveiled an updated strategic plan and a purpose statement which helped land the credit union on several “top places to work” lists, underscoring Conder’s positive influence.  

Conder’s commitment to financial literacy and philanthropy is evident through Wellby Financial’s support of more than $378,000 to local education initiatives and nonprofits, which helped support financial literacy efforts and fostered community spirit.    

She’s supported industry advancement through active participation in state, regional, and national conferences, committees, and associations. Inspired by her own work at NASA, she guided the credit union to establish a college internship program and funded an $85,000 endowment to the University of Houston Clear Lake, ensuring financial relief for unpaid interns. 

About Cornerstone League

Cornerstone League is among the nation’s largest regional credit union trade associations, serving approximately 600 credit unions in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Cornerstone exists to advance the success of credit unions in the region through legislative and grassroots advocacy; regulatory and compliance support; training, educational, and networking opportunities; essential communications related to news and information affecting the credit union industry; and other products and services that establish Cornerstone as the essential partner for credit unions. For more information, visit 

About the Hall of Fame 

Hall of Fame nominees are selected for their service within their own credit union and for achievements that have benefited many credit unions. Hall of Fame inductees have been key players in organizing and running credit unions and contributed to the movement on a local, regional, national, and/or international level.

About the Volunteer of the Year award 

Cornerstone League’s Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes accomplishments in time effort, support, and promotion by our unpaid credit union heroes, our volunteers.



Tanya Dittberner
Director, Communications and Media Relations
Cornerstone League

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