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How Elvay came about

By December 25, 2023February 9th, 2024No Comments

How Elvay Came About

Marc Fest

Elvay was born from my everyday work teaching leaders to communicate powerfully during fundraising, idea pitches, or when drawing in new partners or customers. It’s what I like to call Elevator Speech Training.

Over time, I distilled my framework to three core elements: make a claim, back it up with evidence, and wrap up with a strong closing line. Its simplicity made it seem ideal for pairing with AI to teach more people efficiently, since I’m limited to around 400 live one-on-one training sessions yearly.

Elvay is essentially a GPT large language model programmed with a detailed prompt that encapsulates my training method. Plus, she’s designed to be friendly, patient, and encouraging. More and more of my regular clients now first meet with Elvay to prepare for their session with me.

It took about 9 months to develop Elvay. I did it all myself. Nowadays, AI platforms like ChatGPT allow even amateur programmers like me to kickstart projects on their own—projects that typically require millions in funding and teams from giants like Google, Apple, and Meta.

For example, my coding abilities are modest at best—I piece things together, and it’s not pretty. Here’s an example where I used ChatGPT to help build a simple audio recording feature for Elvay; it gives you a pretty good impression of my coding incompetence:

With AI assistance like this, I was able to create Elvay without any external funding.

It’s quite inspiring what one can achieve nowadays with just the basics of programming and AI. It’s a bit of positivity in this troubled world.

For more insights on Elvay’s creation, feel free to reach out.


Marc Fest helps his clients excel in fundraising, partnership building, idea pitching, and other goals. Marc is the founder of, a communications consultancy,, a messaging toolkit, and Elvay, an eager-beaver chatbot on a mission to help you reach your goals. He is a former vice president of communications for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the New World Symphony. Previously, he created Quickbrowse, a web-based subscription service that enabled users to browse multiple web pages more quickly by combining them vertically into a single web page. He created Elvay despite his mediocre coding skills and without any external funding thanks to code-writing assistance from ChatGPT. Marc stood atop the Berlin Wall on the night it fell in 1989. When not coaching clients, he enjoys posting occasional short stories at He is the author of several books, including “Elevator Speech Training,” “The Message House Method,” and “Farm Stories.” As a side project, he’s trying to save the world with