Thursday, October 10, 2019 - Updated: 2:22 pm
Bishop David Zubik is appointing two accomplished professionals to his senior staff to oversee community relations and finances.
Former KDKA-TV anchor Jennifer Antkowiak will join the staff Nov. 1 as executive director for community relations, a new position in the diocese. David Misch, a longtime banking executive, will become chief financial officer on Jan. 1, following the retirement of current CFO Bruno Bonacchi.
“Both Jennifer and David are immensely qualified for these positions, and I am grateful that they have stepped forward to serve God and the church in these capacities,” Bishop Zubik said.
Antkowiak’s position is funded by a new endowment, created by several donors who wanted to strengthen the public presence of the church through communication of the core mission of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. She will oversee existing communications operations, with a focus on strategy and personal engagement with parishioners and the public.
“My single focus is to enhance diocesan communications with a goal of welcoming more people to Mass, so that they can experience the power and peace that comes with receiving the holy Eucharist,” Antkowiak said. “I’m eager to work with a creative, caring, committed team to continue to help people learn Jesus, love Jesus and live Jesus. I’m also looking forward to visiting churches throughout our diocese and sharing stories of faith in action.”
Antkowiak is best known for her 23 years as an award-winning TV news reporter, anchor and host, primarily at KDKA-TV/CBS Pittsburgh. She is also a mother of five who says she “stepped out in faith” in 2016 to transition to a life outside of news as her children grew so she could create more time for family.
Since that time, Antkowiak has worked as a wellness advocate and educator, with a passion for helping people take better care of themselves. She also teaches business and communications courses at Saint Vincent College. A committed Catholic who is active in her parish, she serves on advisory committees for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, including the Church Healing Commission.
“Jennifer has become a valued contributor to our diocesan life,” Bishop Zubik said. “She is a woman of great faith who has shown a strong desire to build up the church. While most people know her as news anchor, her greatest gift is as an evangelizer.”
In financial operations, Misch will work alongside Bonacchi before assuming full responsibility in January.
“David is a professional who has established a strong reputation as a man of integrity in his work in the business world. Even more importantly, he has proved himself to be a strong man of faith with a deep love for the church,” the bishop said.
A New Jersey native, Misch attended Penn State and came to Pittsburgh in 1982 to work in banking. His career with Mellon Bank culminated as executive director of wealth management for BNY Mellon after running banks in Los Angeles and Miami for BNYM. He returned to Los Angeles to be the CEO of The Private Bank of California and then of Community Bank in Pasadena.
In California, he was active in church life both as a parishioner and an adviser, serving the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on the board of directors of the Catholic Community Foundation, the Catholic Education Foundation and as chairman of OLGASA, an organization that supported inner-city Catholic schools. He and his wife, Geraldine, are knight and lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal lay order that supports the needs of the church in the Holy Land. They are also members of Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders.
After more than 35 years in banking, Misch retired to Pittsburgh.
Although he hadn’t intended to take another full-time position, he accepted Bishop Zubik’s request to oversee diocesan finances because “I’ve always felt called to do something for the church. Although I’ve been actively involved in my parish and the Knights of Columbus, and I’ve tried to be a good Catholic leader and reflect that as a banker, I felt that I wasn’t doing all I could to advance the mission of Christ here on earth,” he said. “I’ve been very happily retired. It’s just God calling me to do this.”