Age: 43. Why is she rising? Since joining Avado in 1985, Waldrep played a significant role in the development of more than 240 Applebee's Restaurants. After Avado sold off Applebee's, Waldrep continued her development efforts for Avado's other brands, including Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen, Mc-Cormick, & Schmick's, Hops Restaurant Bar & Brewery and Canyon Cafe. Was the 1999 winner of the Woman's Foodservice Forum's Emerging Leader Award. Background: Prior to joining Avado, Waldrep was a long-range planner with the Greenville Zoning-Planning Commission in Greenville, S.C. Schooling: Bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in city and regional planning from Clemson University. Mentor: "My father, who never once said I couldn't do something because I was a girl; my husband, Hank, who is truly my right hand; and Tom Dupree (chairman/c.e.o. of Avado), who gave me the opportunity to work for a company that embraces diversity and provides a stage for all types of people to succeed." What the future holds: "To continue turning restaurant concepts into successful national brands and increase my involvement in organizations such as the Women's Foodservice Forum."