Board of Advisors

Nikki Silvestri headshot

Nikki Silvestri, diversity, equity & inclusion coach

Nikki Silvestri is the founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a coaching and consulting firm serving social and environmental entrepreneurs. A nationally-recognized thought leader, Nikki’s received numerous accolades for her work and was named among The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.

Nikki Silvestri is the founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a coaching and consulting firm serving social and environmental entrepreneurs. A nationally-recognized thought leader, Nikki’s received numerous accolades for her work and was named among The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.

As our DEI coach, Nikki is guiding conversations about this work in the field of baby food and child nutrition and is advising Solid Starts as it becomes a thought leader in this space.

Nikki has a master’s degree in African American Studies from UCLA. She lives in Oakland with her husband and son.

Photo of Gill Rapley.

Gill Rapley, infant feeding expert

Gill offers more than 40 years’ experience in the field of infant feeding. As a health visitor and breastfeeding counsellor, Gill frequently encouraged parents to allow their baby to self-feed, and, in 2002, suggested purées and spoonfeeding were unnecessary for typically developing babies after the World Health Organization updated the recommended minimum age for solid foods to 6 months. Gill further explored this idea in her Masters (2002) and Ph.D. (2015) studies.

Gill co-authored several books for parents and contributed to numerous academic journals and texts. Her seminal book, Baby-led Weaning: Helping your baby to love good food, written with Tracey Murkett, has been translated into 20+ languages. Her work continues to inspire parents and professionals all over the world and is the catalyst for a wealth of further research, including a growing focus on adapting baby-led weaning for babies with special needs.

Gill is married with three grown children and a grandbaby. She lives in Kent, England.

Jill Rabin, pediatric speech pathologist

Jill Rabin is a pediatric speech pathologist and international board-certified lactation consultant specializing in feeding young babies. Her areas of interest include assisting mother-baby dyads with feeding challenges that include Down syndrome, feeding aversion, and ankyloglossia.  She is the creator of adapted baby-led weaning which follows the principles of traditional baby-led weaning but with adaptations for babies with feeding challenges. She follows a responsive feeding approach and believes that all babies should feed themselves.  She co-authored a book about adapted baby-led weaning with Gill Rapley which is scheduled to be published in 2022.