Noelle LaCharite freely admits that she’s a “little different than your average bear.” This might be a bit of an understatement considering her successful 20-plus year career in the IT engineering field, coupled with a strong desire to use her admirable skillsets to enhance the Unity movement and spread the message of positive, practical Christianity.
LaCharite, an Alexa evangelist and solutions architect at Amazon in Seattle, is the person behind the new and innovative Unity launch into voice-enabled technology using Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo—Amazon’s top-selling home speaker.
“Working with Alexa and these skills is kind of the icing on the cake for me,” said LaCharite. “I picked the Alexa team because I thought it would be a cool project. From the onset, I felt Alexa needed some applications that were more mindful, intuitive, and spiritually based. At that time, there were none. That’s where Unity came in.”
LaCharite and her family are steeped in the Unity movement. Her father, Irving Robinson, is a former Silent Unity Prayer Associate. As a youth, LaCharite was a regional representative for the International Youth of Unity (IYOU). Later, she became active in Next Generation Unity (NGU) for young adults. She now attends Unity Center for Positive Living in Everett, Washington, with her husband and three young children.
LaCharite is also studying to become a Unity minister through the Unity Urban Ministerial School in Detroit, which specifically ordains ministers to teach in large, urban areas.
“I was born and raised in Unity, and I’ve always attended a Unity center,” she said. “My first memories of being at a Unity church were when I was 6 years old. Unity has shaped my whole life. I’ve always used positive prayer and set intentions for the things I’ve wanted. At home, we use Unity principles in our daily lives to help us have better communications, relationships, and experiences with our children.”
Perhaps the only time LaCharite was not as active in Unity was when she was a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Daytona Beach, Florida. After earning a degree in aviation and business administration, she went on to work for some of the largest corporations worldwide, including IBM, Red Hat, and VMware. However, her passion for bringing the Unity movement into the urban core and spreading the Unity message remained in her heart.
This passion led LaCharite to personally create the two new Daily Word® and Silent Unity® “skills” now active on Alexa. The Daily Word skill is “Inspiration From Daily Word,” and allows users to listen to a sampling of past Daily Word messages by saying a phrase such as, “Alexa, start my Daily Inspiration.”
The Silent Unity skill—“Positive Prayer From Silent Unity”—provides various prayer topics as well as a general prayer from Silent Unity. Users can access this by saying something like, “Alexa, open Positive Prayer.”
Since joining the Amazon team two years ago, LaCharite has designed 12 skills for Alexa, including two previously spiritually-based applications—“Daily Affirmation” and “1-Minute Mindfulness.” Yet the desire to merge Unity with the new technology still remained a priority. This led her to reach out to former Unity World Headquarters CEO Charlotte Shelton, members of the Communications team, and Silent Unity to develop the skills.
“When we set out, we were just going to build Daily Word skills, but we quickly realized Silent Unity would be a good fit as well—particularly because they already had the uPray mobile app,” said LaCharite. “It’s nice that Unity was so interested in this innovative platform. From the onset, the staff was very enthusiastic and patient as I developed the skills in my spare time. The biggest thing that has impressed me is the willingness to do something no one else has done, especially a spiritual organization that is not an IT company. Everyone jumped in with both feet.”
LaCharite has plans to evolve the Daily Word and Silent Unity skills moving forward. In the meantime, she has immersed herself in the excitement of bringing the first voice-enabled Unity skills to the forefront.
“This is content that people are hungry for, and it’s an opportunity to serve a need and provide prayer support to people,” she said. “I’m just a developer who follows the tagline of ‘building skills to change the world and shift the consciousness of the planet.’”
“My hope is twofold. One is people who already love Unity will interact with the voice-enabled technology that is now available. The other is a much larger impact. There are many people on the planet who don’t know Unity, or who haven’t heard of positive prayer, or the impact of the practical Christianity we teach. This is an opportunity to change the way people think and give people hope that will affect their lives in a positive way,” LaCharite added.
“My hope, ultimately, is that this will change the world.”