Mental Health Social Worker

Mary has long believed that people manage life’s challenges in different ways, and has made it her profession to help people navigate transitions in a positive, healing manner. After receiving her master’s degree, Mary spent a number of years as a social worker serving young, vulnerable populations in South Africa, coordinating services for those with HIV/AIDS. Now back in the United States, Mary works in the greater Spokane area as a licensed independent clinical social worker, with a special focus on assisting people who have experienced trauma.  She joins Growing Independent Eaters to offer mental health support to families making important transitions with their children and healing from stressful medical journeys. Her personal interests focus on foreign affairs as they relate to child welfare, and she deeply enjoys every chance she has to travel. 


Karen Dilfer, MS, OTRL
Feeding Specialist

Karen Dilfer is an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and food enthusiast.  She has a strong pediatric background and loves to help children with motor, sensory, and mealtime challenges.  A Chicago native, Karen enjoys discovering new restaurants and cooking with friends and family. Karen has a bachelor of science degree from Calvin College and a masters of science degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She has also completed post-graduate fellowship in pediatric feeding and is NDT trained.


Feeding Specialist

Katie graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with both her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. Over the last 6 years, she has worked as an SLP in acute rehab and skilled nursing settings all over the states of South Dakota and Minnesota, where she primarily sees adult patients with cognitive and swallowing disorders. Shortly after the birth of her son, Katie chose GIE to help her wean Emil from his tube. Having been previously unaware of the needs of this population, the experience changed her (as it does us all) and she felt the need to use her SLP training and personal knowledge to assist other parents in their weaning journeys.



Lisa earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Washington State University, and completed her dietetic internship at Fairview Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN. Over the ensuing 15 years, Lisa has worked as a nutrition support dietician in the home infusion (tube feeding and weaning) field, consulting for various feeding teams in the Spokane area. Her expertise and passion lie in providing community-based nutrition services to infants and children specifically, and she serves many active leadership roles within the nationally recognized Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group. In her home life, she enjoys running and spending time with her husband and three boys. 


Feeding Specialist & Co-Owner

Becky graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Speech and Hearing Sciences, followed by a master’s degree in Communication Disorders. She began working as a speech language pathologist at Kootenai Medical Center, and quickly found her passion for helping pediatric patients and their families. In 2007, she moved her services to the Center for Pediatric Therapy in Spokane, Washington. She has worked with hundreds of clients, and specializes in feeding-tube management and weaning. Becky also works as a clinical supervisor at WSU, where she oversees students and new speech and language therapists. Her professional interests include feeding and swallowing for children with sensory, respiratory, and GI concerns; weaning from feeding tubes; and issues of early relationships and attachment in children’s feeding and language development. Becky has a dynamic circle of friends that she nurtures in the Spokane area, where she lives with her two children. 


Program Coordinator

Elisabeth earned both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Northwest University in Washington, and has spent the last 9 years as a College Professor and professional writer. But as it does for all of us, motherhood steered her life in an unexpectedly glorious direction, and she entered the world of pediatric feeding as just that: a mom. Working with her youngest daughter to overcome the challenges that dysphagia brings, Elisabeth fell in love with so many families who fearlessly navigate a wide array of complex feeding dynamics. She loves talking “mom” with anyone who will listen, and she is continuing her teaching career as a part-time English Instructor for Bellevue College and Northwest University. In her (albeit limited) spare time, you’ll find her at the park with her kiddos, settled down with a good book, or continuing her adventure as a writer who explores women’s issues as they pertain to motherhood and academia.


Parent Coach

Caitlyn O’Brien graduated with a certificate in Pharmacy Technology from Cambridge College in 2007 and an Associates of Arts from the University of South Dakota in 2015. Her child was weaned from a g-tube in 2016 and she hopes to use that experience to help other families in their tube weaning journeys. 


Parent Coach & Co-Founder

Olga became involved in Washington State’s patient-safety community after her son’s medically complex journey in 2008, and obtained her law degree and license in 2013 in order to assist clients in navigating medical conflicts. After weaning her son from his tube in 2010, she participated in a major redesign of feeding-tube care and management at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and continues to advocate for improved medical care for children. For the past seven years, Olga has supported hundreds of families on their tube-weaning journeys, offering links to resources, new ways of looking at feeding, and a compassionate ear. She uses her professional training as an attorney and research editor, as well as personal insights, to help parents work from their own inner strength to make empowered, educated decisions for their children. Olga has a fondness for checking out more library books than she can read, and for rambling conversations with her husband and children.


Feeding Specialist

Kathryn graduated from Gonzaga University with bachelor degrees in Psychology and Biology and recently achieved a Post-Baccalaureate and Master’s of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Eastern Washington University. After completing her undergraduate degrees, Kathryn worked at the University of Washington Autism Center on an NIH research grant investigating behavioral intervention impact on toddlers with autism. During graduate school, she completed a variety of clinical rotations serving children with communication, feeding, and swallowing disorders. Kathryn aspires to become a specialist in pediatric dysphagia with specific interests in feeding tube weaning, behavior, language development, infant-caregiver attachment, and interdisciplinary collaboration to support children and families. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys exploring the outdoors with her golden retriever Cooper, skiing, traveling, and spending time with close friends and family. 

Executive Leadership

CEO & Co-Owner

For over a decade, Sarah has served in several capacities, earning dozens of awards for her expertise within the telecommunications industry. In roles spanning sales, program management, operations, information technology, and new service development, Sarah has proven time and again that her passion lies in making needed services available for people who may not always have the obvious means to access them. To grow her capacity for fulfilling this passion, Sarah completed her bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and served as a consultant on a number of philanthropic projects directly aimed at improving the lives of low income and foster children. Sarah currently serves as our CEO, while also serving on the board of a Georgia-based nonprofit that is involved in bringing the community together to support programs like food drives, Youth for America, Habitat for Humanity, and a number of other organizations.  Currently, Sarah lives in Atlanta, and enjoys a wide variety of traveling adventures and the arts. 


Operations Manager

Kylie completed her bachelor’s degree in English, spending a semester studying at the University of Oxford. She uses her power of organization to keep GIE running smoothly, so that our specialists can focus solely on the families they work with. Kylie loves being a part of an organization that is changing people’s lives and making a positive difference. She enjoys cycling, knitting, and curling up with a book and a cup of coffee.