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Practice Management

Cristy McDowell

Cristy McDowell

In 2000, my husband, Dr. James McDowell, took over a small practice in San Rafael. We had 3 employees at the time. Our first son was on the way. I had a career as a Speech Language Pathologist working with kids (and adults years before), but I wasn't sure what my practice would look like after Davis was born.  However, what was clear was that I was proud of the practice we created, and I loved the community that we served. I wasn't really trained in business, yet I quickly found that a little bit of love and a lot of mentoring from amazing coaches, helped me grow into a practice manager and leader. I saw the vision of creating an office where patients are embraced as part of our family and feel comfortable to let go of the fear/anxiety that is so common in dentistry.  

A few years later, our second on, Brady was born. Working in the practice gave me the perfect balance of work/family life. Most of the time, I spent my days chasing little boys and watching them (quietly guiding them) to fulfill their dreams. I found my outlets in exercise - yoga, running, hiking, swimming, mtn biking, tennis, paddleboarding - really anything that took me outside! Travel has always been our family’s greatest passion, because there is nothing better than immersing yourself in a new environment and culture to give you a world perspective. I find stress relief by dancing in the kitchen to my favorite songs (and you can bet there is a great 70's playlist in there). My creative juices flow with graphic design, interior design, gardening, cooking and photography. 


I grew up in San Diego where I received my diploma in dental assisting in 2009. I entered the dental field with a passion for helping people, and was lucky enough to explore working in both front and back office, which helped to deepen my understanding of patient care and team support. I moved to Petaluma in 2014, which is when I first met and began working for the McDowells before we were known as Tamal Vista Family Dentistry! I moved back home to San Diego in 2018 and received further education in HR along with certifications in life coaching and yoga instruction. I rejoined TVFD remotely in 2021 as Insurance Coordinator, and over the years with my new skills, have now stepped into a unique hybrid Practice Manager role! I am onsite one week/month coupled with remote engagement the rest of the time while at home in San Diego. This unconventional role is possible thanks to the support of everyone at TVFD - the work that I do is a direct result of the dedication and collaboration of each and every team member who I have the honor of working with!

In my free time, I love to be outdoors, do yoga, volunteer, spend quality time with loved ones, read personal development books, and so much more.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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