A short story about Marvee

Marvee was created in 2015 within months of founder, Heidi Culbertson, experiencing the profound impact of voice assistant technology and Amazon Alexa to help an aging mother. Since then, Heidi has become a recognized leader in voice-first strategy and conversation design with a specialty in creating voice experiences to engage older adults. As a company, Marvee has expanded its initial mission to also include evangelizing the need for all designers, developers and leaders to create for the 50+ cohort and learn the conversational design nuance necessary to do so.

Heidi has been honored as a top leader and influencer in Voice, and named one of 60+ global Amazon Alexa Champions. Heidi is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author, Voice UX mentor, and the founder and CEO of Marvee. Heidi also provides coaching and mentoring services under her personal consulting company.  A graduate of Miami University (OH), Heidi has served in multiple executive leadership roles in a career immersed in emerging technology, leading at the forefront of wireless, mobile, and IoT technologies.

Heidi can often be found speaking on the impact and benefits of Voice Assistant technology and contextual conversation design.


The name of our company, and the original Ask Marvee Skill, was born from conversations on how to help our aging parents, how voice technology can make a difference, and a desire to combat social isolation and improve quality of life. You may notice we tag our notifications and messages with “Powered with love by Marvee”. This is for a very specific reason. The inspiration for our solution is a real person, the founder’s mom. Her name was Marvee.

Marvee raised six children, was an active tennis player into her late 80’s and overall was blessed with good health. However, at the age of 90, Marvee began to lose her vision due to macular degeneration and suddenly had to deal with the loss of her visual independence and the increased isolation and dependence that followed. It’s was a journey of adjustment for Marvee, and for her children growing into the ever-changing role of family caregivers, local and remote.


Marvee’s children, always on the hunt for gadgets to help, discovered the newly-launched Amazon Echo back in December 2014.  “The Echo and Alexa were an immediate hit with mom. She didn’t need to see the device, feel for a button or even touch it! Mom was soon asking for her favorite songs, listening to her books, it was fantastic!”

Over time Marvee began to ask for certain things that were unique to her and her limitations. Thus an idea was born. “Let’s build voice apps for mom that are specific to her, and easy for us to manage. We’ll name it after her and call it Marvee!”.  And the journey began. Let’s meet our loved ones wherever they are and make life better.


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