Gary Plank (WYCUP) and Development Educator World Council Scholarship


This annual scholarship is named in honor of the retired Arizona League President Gary Plank, who once served as the Chair of the World Council of Credit Unions.

The World Council of Credit Unions will hold its annual conference in Glasgow from July 17-20, 2022 and the Gary Plank Scholarship will help young credit union professionals and Development Educators attend.  The deadline for this year’s Scholarship were April 22, 2022.

This year the program will provide three, $5000 scholarships for young professionals and directors and one Development Educator scholarship (no age requirement) to attend the World Credit Union Conference offered by the World Council of Credit Unions. 

Meet the 2022 Gary Plank Scholars


Alexandra Parker
Pyramid Federal Credit Union

As Ally’s CEO, Ray Lancaster says, “she is part of the generation that will need to cultivate and develop for future leadership roles in the credit union movement.” She has always wanted to help change people’s lives for the better, but says it took her some time to figure out how to do that. The product of the foster system, Ally saw that kids were not being prepared for the real world and often left to fend for themselves. She started working at 16, and soon fell victim to identity theft, unequipped to recover. By the age of 19, she began working in banking that helped her realize her skill set that would help her help share with other at-risk youths to prepare them for life on their own. In addition to helping many members in her role as a loan processor, her passion for teens and young adult members, shines through. Ally takes an active role, encouraging the younger generation to start banking now, open savings accounts, and get ready for an IRA so that they can have a good future and be prepared financially for life’s inevitable crazy turns. She’s to help inform the younger generation of how important financial stability is and how important it is to start at a young age, which will help communities remain stable for generations to come.

Kianna Smith
Reliant Federal Credit Union

Kianna’s recommendation notes her excellent communication skills and how she seeks opportunities to help meet members in their current situation and assist them. She is also an active member of her local school board. Additionally, Kianna participated in a Young Professionals Hike the Hill in 2019. That experience helped fan the flame of her passion for credit unions. She embodies the “people helping people” spirit as she often helps members who find themselves in positions that have the potential to be detrimental to them. Her position as a Member Solutions Specialist allows her to find and implement solutions and play a role in the credit union’s policies and procedures team, ensuring there are solutions in place to help members.

Patrick Zebal
Arizona Central Credit Union

Patrick’s extensive international childhood background aligns beautifully with his professional financial background. His recommendation noted his passion to help members, along with a knowledge of international situations, including those who do not have adequate access to financial services. As a well-traveled and educated youth, Patrick developed his keen knowledge of the tangible connection between having lots of different financial options and having zero or one option. This led to his desire to help solve this issue, which eventually led him to credit unions. To me, those that we would consider less fortunate, also seemed tied to having less financial access. As early as reaching the High School level, I started becoming interested in solving this lack of financial inclusion that so many seemed to face. Less than one year into the industry, he became an advocate for the credit union movement because the financial model is a beneficial pillar in each community served. Healthy competition, free markets, and banking options are critical to maintaining optimal financial inclusion. After witnessing what happens in communities where these aspects do not exist, Patrick believes credit unions are playing a pivotal role in the financial success of the whole world.

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