In high school, Brian Cummings set his sights on attending culinary arts school. He got his first job in a restaurant, with the goal of having a career behind a chef's knife, crafting recipes. He never imagined his career would lead him to becoming vice president of branch operations at the $68 million Oswego County Federal Credit Union in Oswego, N.Y.

"Most people would be surprised that I didn't intend to go into business," the most recent Trailblazer 40 Below honoree said.

His path to a career in finance took a bit of luck and a lot of good timing. After graduating from college, Cummings was unsure about his career path. Then, during a trip home from college, he ran into his mother's neighbor, who offered to help him get a job at HSBC Bank, and he jumped at the opportunity.

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