Lynn Pike decided early on to become a banker. She had been spending summers with her grandparents for several years when the seminal moment happened.

They owned a small convenience store, which they tended themselves from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pike would hang out with them there.

Each night they would bring ice cream home and enjoy it at the kitchen table while counting the money from the register. "I'd make up the deposit slip," Pike says. "My grandfather would take me with him in the morning when the bank opened to go make the deposit."

The branch manager — "I think his name was Mr. Smith" — usually chatted with her grandfather, who had used his retirement funds to start the business. Pike, preoccupied with a lollipop, would listen quietly.

She was about 12 years old when her grandparents applied for a loan to expand, and she recalls her grandmother talking animatedly about what they could do with the extra space. "This was a very big deal for them," Pike says.

Then one morning the manager came over to shake her grandfather's hand, and Pike realized what she wanted to do when she grew up. "I'll never forget the day. Early one summer, we'd gone to the bank, and Mr. Smith told my grandfather he had been approved for the loan," she says. "I knew at that moment. They really helped my family's dreams come true, and I said, 'They're in the dream-making business. I like this.' And I liked counting money, too, I must say."

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