Presented by the Orlando Regional Chamber, a core component of the Orlando Economic Partnership
Join YP:NEXT, the Orlando Regional Chamber’s young professionals program, for an energetic event featuring Orlando’s brightest and most ambitious young leaders, who represent our community’s unique assets and industries. Learn why they chose to live or start their careers in Orlando and why they love to live, work and play here.
The discussion will feature fresh and entertaining questions that prompt our panelists to share their distinct perspectives on Orlando’s culture as well as how living here, whether on purpose or by accident, has impacted their careers and personal development.
In-person (limited capacity)
8 – 8:30 a.m. Coffee, Pastries and Networking
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Program
Virtual (Zoom login provided in the confirmation email, following registration)
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Program
K A & Associates
Kamar Aiken was born in Miami, FL where he grew up playing various sports including football at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, FL. Aiken went on to earn an athletic scholarship to University of Central Florida in 2007 where he played wide receiver for the Knights for 4 consecutive seasons. Aiken graduated from UCF with a degree in criminal justice before declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft.
In 2011, Aiken was signed as an NFL undrafted free agent to the Buffalo Bills. He went on to play 8 seasons in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and Philadelphia Eagles. While playing for the Patriots in 2012 Aiken established the Kamar Aiken Foundation. Through his foundation he held free football camps, clinics, turkey drives, Christmas toy drives, and various events to serve foster children as well as the local communities he played in.
After retiring from the NFL in 2019, Aiken began working towards his next major goal of owning and managing his own businesses. After developing K A and Associates, LLC Aiken will become the only franchise owner of a Miami Bar and Grill in Orlando in Summer of 2021.
Aiken and his family still actively serve multiple communities across the country through his non-profit the Kamar Aiken Foundation. In 2020 during the midst of the pandemic, Aiken and his family proudly served the Orlando community through a grocery voucher giveaway partnered with UP Orlando, as well as hosting their own drive-thru Thanksgiving Turkey Drive.
In his spare time Aiken enjoys spending time with his wife and children, living an active lifestyle, and spending time near the water.
Vice President , Commercial Banking
Melanie DiVirgilio serves as vice president and commercial banker for the Metro Orlando market for BB&T and SunTrust now Truist. Melanie consults with middle market businesses assisting with raising capital, streamlining cash flow, drafting business succession plans, and managing risk.
Melanie began her financial career in 2010 when she was selected for BB&T’s Leadership Development Program, a top-rated corporate training program.
Melanie is actively engaged in the Orlando community and was awarded by the Orlando Business Journal as one of the Women to Watch for 2019. Melanie serves on the following boards and committees: Steering Committee for Women United, Heart of Florida United Way; All Women Empowered (AWE) Committee for the Orlando Regional Chamber, Community Leadership Council for the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families part of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children; and Board Member of ATHENA Orlando Women’s Leadership, Inc. and VP of Recruiting for ATHENA NextGen.
Melanie is a native Floridian and proud University of Florida Alumna where she graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science in Finance. In addition to her undergraduate degree, Melanie is a graduate of Stonier Graduate School of Banking at The Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia, PA.
CTO and Co-founder
Stax by Fattmerchant
Jacques is CTO and co-founder of Stax by Fattmerchant, an Inc 500 company and author of “Time Hacks”. He also co-founded Orlando Devs, the largest developer meetup in Orlando, and The Assistance Fund, the second largest charity in the city according to Guidestar. He has a passion for building products, bringing them to market, and scaling them.
Jacques has co-founded several successful startups that have gone on to create hundreds of jobs each across the Greater Orlando region and beyond. As Chief Technology Officer and co-founder at Stax, his team has built an integrated payments platform that processes $10B in payments annually while scaling the business from 1 to 200 employees through organic growth and M&A. His companies have been recognized at Central Florida events such as Rollins Pitch Competition, GrowFL, Starter Studio Demo Day, Orlando Tech Demo Day, and YPO Fastpitch as well as nationally by Forbes, US News, Inc, Entrepreneur, and Money.
As a community advocate, Jacques speaks at events hosted by Orlando Devs, UCF, Rollins, Orlando Economic Partnership, Downtown Orlando Partnership, Orlando Chamber of Commerce, BarCamp, Starter Studio Tech Accelerator, and various meetups. He invests directly into local startups as an angel investor and is also an advisor for multiple startups and technology boards in the Orlando area.
Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor
Grafton Wealth Managment
Sarah Grafton is a financial advisor, motivational speaker, author, and community activist. Named to Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40 at age 29 she has over 21 thousand social media followers.
In 2007, she launched her career at Grafton Wealth Management in Winter Park, Florida. She and her family team have a heart for community and serving those in need.
Her dedication to the community includes giving her time talent and treasure to many local and national non-profits including; Make-A-Wish, St. Jude, Rollins College Hamilton Holt School, Albin Polasek Art & Sculpture Garden, United Way, Mennello Museum of Arts, Base Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, Winter Park History Museum, Winter Park Day Nursery.
In 2016 President Barak Obama recognized Sarah with a United States Presidential Service Award only to receive the same award the following year from President Donald Trump. The Central Florida community has also recognized Sarah in many ways for her hours to the community. Most recently I-4 Business Magazine named her their very first woman receipt of their ‘Leader of the Year’ in the field of Business Services.
Sarah has made it a point to use her platform to help and empower others. She continues to try to empower other women daily through the Fellowship of Women Leaders organization she founded on September 18, 2020, the day that Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. This year, Sarah was nominated Woman of the Year by Orlando Magazine.
Orlando Regional Chamber