top of page


Elisa Dumesnil

Job Title:

Associate Director of Health and Wellness




Phone: (510) 577-9100



Started at O'Dowd:



- M.S. Family, School and Community Counseling from California State University, East Bay
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- B.A. in Public Relations (Minor in Political Science) from Gonzaga University.

Originally from:

San Jose, California -- but have lived in Oakland for 25+ years

Why I Teach:

Most powerful teaching technique:

My go-to and potent therapeutic techniques : - unconditional positive regard;
- offering recognition, reflection & observation; - modeling acceptance, active listening and healthy boundaries; - offering hope and humor. What makes these approaches most powerful is knowing when to use them.

Why are the subjects you teach important?:

Favorite quotes:

"Barn's burnt down -- now I can see the moon."
- Mizuta Masahide, 17th-century Japanese poet

"Find out who you are. And do it on purpose."
- Dolly Parton, 20th-century American songwriter (and national treasure)

"Until further notice, celebrate everything."
- My wise mom, Roz Dumesnil
(who didn't coin this anonymous phrase -- but by saying it (and living it) so frequently during her last, unexpected months of hospice care in 2021, she taught family a master class about living (and dying) with presence, gratitude and grace.)

Favorite trivia:

Two of our four children are proud Bishop O'Dowd graduates: Chloe, Class of 2020 and Mia, Class of 2023.

Recommended visual media:

Spirited Away, Lady Bird, Do The Right Thing, Roma, Won't You Be My Neighbor, any-and-everything by Christopher Guest, Schindler's List, Inside Out, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Crip Camp, Nine to Five, RBG, Little Miss Sunshine, The Sound of Music, Arrested Development, John Lewis: Good Trouble

Recommended reads:

Americanah (and anything written by) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl; Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott; The Sympathizer (and everything by) Viet Thanh Nguyen. A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver. Normal People, Sally Rooney. The Places That Scare You, Pema Chodron. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Hobbies or outside interests:

Live music/live theater; extreme birthday cake baking & decorating; Kruk & Kuip (Go Giants!); learning (always taking a course in something); Broadway musicals (any of 'em, all of 'em); connecting with faith, friends, larger community and nature; hiking; travel; college hoops (Go Zags!); raising kids (+ one big, fluffy Old English Sheepdog); Gathering with and cherishing our large, local and beloved Bay Area extended family.

bottom of page