Phyllis Parker

Phyllis ParkeA former gymnast and coach, Phyllis L. Parker understood the value of having a spotter nearby as a beacon of safety. “You can get confidence from someone offering that little extra help that can go a long way,” she said. Parker, the daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran and his Japanese wife, left the gym behind to attend Georgia State University—she was the first female in her family to receive a college degree.

Her journey was not without obstacles. Family matters and financial challenges forced her to take a full time job and switch her classroom schedule to night classes exclusively. She persevered, and her persistence and flexibility paid off when she completed her B.B.A. in computer information systems in 1991.

That persistence and flexibility uniquely prepared Parker for the real-world challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution. She made major career achievements in the volatile industries of risk management, finance and health care, rising to a senior product development executive. She was an entrepreneur who successfully started up and turned around businesses. Her expertise streamlined tasks that today are common, such as providing an instant insurance quote to a consumer.

“What I value the most is honesty, integrity and looking out for the best interests of other people.”

Today, she is helping remove financial obstacles for students similar to herself. The Phyllis L. Parker Scholarship will support a first-generation student in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business who has at least one parent from another country. Students like that “are at a whole different level with navigating college and the business world,” said Parker, whose husband, R. Keith Cox (B.B.A., 1993) attended night classes at GSU with her and was also a first-generation student. “I hope that this scholarship can be an essential tool for students to grow, learn and strive. Some just need a little help.”

By: Michelle Hiskey