Within days of starting this job, I started becoming very familiar with the name Laurie Baker. I saw Baker, then vice president of property services for Camden Property Trust, listed as a speaker at industry events. I read her comments in the stories I edited. I even traded a few e-mails with her. (Obviously, I'm not the only one: At the NMHC technology conference in Houston last fall, Camden CEO Ric Campo mentioned Baker from the stage during a panel discussion and alluded to her BlackBerrying ways.)

I didn't meet Baker at that conference, but Campo's comments did make me curious. Who was this person that everyone mentioned in presentations and conversations alike?

I got the chance to discover that this July, when Baker and I finally crossed paths at an industry conference shortly after she was recommended for our inaugural "people to watch" list. Designed to focus on the young leaders who are the future of the multifamily industry, this cover story highlights the up-and-coming entrepreneurs and junior executives who are making a name for themselves in the industry for their smarts, dedication, and fresh approaches to old problems.

As soon as I met Baker, now a regional vice president for Camden, I knew she needed to be on the list. With her charisma and energy, I instantly saw how she had become a go-to person for everyone from my writers to Camden executives.

Alison Rice
Katherine Lambert Alison Rice
Alison Rice Katherine Lambert You can learn more about Baker and the rest of the multifamily "Fab Five" in this issue, which was a fun package for us. As you all know, nearly every cover story that we publish features a multifamily executive who's made it to the corner office. This piece, in contrast, looks at people who are still creating their careers as they climb up the corporate ladder, rung by rung.

Is the list subjective? Of course. But here's what we looked for as we evaluated the candidates, who needed to be 40 years of age or younger as of Sept. 1, 2005: innovation, a significant impact on their respective companies, and a mix of disciplines, geography, and gender.

Interestingly enough, though, four of our up-and-comers are from Texas, and four of the five are women. (A bit of background: Many of the men recommended for this list turned out to be older than 40 years of age.)

We're pleased with the results and hope you will be too. Margot Carmichael Lester, a regular Multifamily Executive contributor, reported and wrote these short profiles, which touch on both the personal and the professional. Whichever story you like best, I know you'll agree that these are five people absolutely worth watching.

Last Call

If you haven't registered for the Multifamily Executive Conference, it's time to stop procrastinating! This year's event, which will be held Oct. 17-19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, features a keynote by Tim Sanders of Yahoo! as well as sessions on handling investor expectations, managing your portfolio, and making cost-effective renovation decisions. To register, please visit www.mfeconference.com. Pre-registration ends Friday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. EST. See you in Vegas!