Slate of Candidates for the CMA Board of Directors Election

Online Voting Opens March 6 (must have voting rights and be logged in)

Three Board positions are up for election in 2024:

  • Member at Large
  • Magazine Member at Large
  • Newspaper Business Staff Member

Online voting will begin on March 6 and end on March 21. Learn more about the Board nomination process by visiting our frequently asked questions page.

MEMBER AT LARGE
Janelle Gergen, Diocese of Crookston (Incumbent)

Janelle Gergen is Chancellor/COO and Chief Communications Officer for Bishop Andrew Cozzens and the Diocese of Crookston in northwest Minnesota. She holds a B.F.A. from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and M.S. from Purdue University. She has been married 20 years and is the mother of four.

Gergen’s background includes 19 years of experience in non-profit leadership, with notable expertise in public relations, integrated marketing, crisis communication, strategic planning, policy writing, media relations, and editing.

Gergen has been a CMA member for 10 years and has served on the Board of Directors since 2021. Ambitious and solution-oriented, she has participated in several ad hoc committees, including complaint resolution, bylaw review, and strategic planning.

Gergen feels impassioned by CMA’s mission of community-building, advocacy, and resource-sharing among Catholic communicators, and remains humbled to serve her peers.

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

There is no shortage of opportunity for Catholic media to serve the Church’s mission. Catholic media – in all its forms – bridges communication (the art of informing) and evangelization (the art of inspiring). Delivering the message of Jesus Christ with a broken and polarized world is a critically important response to Pope Francis’ call to authentically live the joy of the Gospel. I always envision Catholic media playing an integral role in forming missionary disciples as it can point people to a true encounter with Christ; Catholic media can be a source to accompany others through witness testimony; Catholic media can build community within the diversity of the Church and beyond; and calls to action delivered by Catholic media have the potential to send disciples out on mission. Through a strategic planning process I will chair for the Catholic Media Association this year, I hope to contribute to this vision by helping to position the organization and members for encountering Christ, accompanying others, building community, and empowering people for mission. 

Gerald “Jerry” Wutkowski, Jr., Diocese of Metuchen

Gerald “Jerry” Wutkowski, Jr. is the Assistant Director of the Office of Communications and Public Relations for the Diocese of Metuchen, where he oversees the communication strategy for the diocese, its affiliates, and partners.  Jerry has shared the last decade within the Catholic Church, serving multiple dioceses across multiple disciplines, including roles in the Diocese of Peoria and the Diocese of Trenton. Focusing on a ministerial and relationship-based evangelization strategy, Jerry has been adamant that building relationships through traditional and new communication tools will allow Christ to be known and loved. 

In his recent work “Synodal Communion: The Movement of the Spirit within the Institutional Church and its sacramental practice in the Age of Francis,” Jerry received recognition from Sr. Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod highlighting that opening our hearts to vulnerability is the key to the spirituality of Synodality. 

Jerry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Holy Family University, Philadelphia, and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University Chicago and is a member of the Religion Communicators Council and the Kosciuszko Foundation.  

When Jerry is not strategizing over Church documents and press alerts from the Holy See, he spends his time capturing sacred moments with his Nikon and sharing a good cup of coffee with a friend he hasn’t yet met.

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

Amid recent changes in Catholic media and within the Synodal process of the Church, we find ourselves in a profound season of renewal. This calls us to rediscover and recommit to the mission entrusted to each of us when we chose to dedicate ourselves to Catholic media, journalism, and communication.

The inspiration for this renewal can be drawn from Luke's account of the Road to Emmaus. Envision a dusty path where two disciples, still mourning the recent events of Christ's passion, encounter a stranger who inquires, "What are you discussing as you walk along" (Luke 24:17)? Intrigued, the Emmaus Disciples welcome the stranger into their home, where they are enlightened about the fullness of Jesus Christ.

Central to this narrative is the miracle of recognizing Christ in the breaking of the bread, but equally significant is the powerful message embedded in the journey of a faithful believer. It all begins with the choice, "Stay with us" (Luke 24:29). In emphasizing this choice, the people of God are once again presented with the opportunity to choose Christ—a decision that no institution can make on their behalf.

As Catholic communicators, we embrace the spirit of Synodality by reporting and sharing stories of encounter. Our aim must be to transcend divisions and unite ourselves wholly in synodal conversion, journeying together as one Church. In the spirit of that journey, we must be willing to welcome all to the table and work towards creating opportunities for our sacred yes to take place. Let us mimic the words "Stay with us," offering mentorship not only to younger Catholic communicators but including the diverse voices of other liturgical rites and cultures that make our Church and Catholic family unique. By doing so, we unveil the sacred story being written before us.

United in the one baptism and confirmed by the workings of the Holy Spirit, we in Catholic Media must heighten our awareness of the realities faced during this time of renewal. We are called to embrace this transformative season with a renewed commitment to our mission.

MAGAZINE MEMBER AT LARGE
George Matysek, Catholic Review

George Matysek Jr. started at the Catholic Review in Baltimore in 1997 as a staff writer. He became senior correspondent in 2008, assistant managing editor in 2011 and Catholic Review web editor in 2015. 

George was named digital editor for both the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Catholic Review Media in 2017. At the same time, he became a regular host of the “Catholic Baltimore” radio show and podcast, now known as "Catholic Review Radio." 

George became managing editor of Catholic Review Media in 2022, responsible for overseeing news coverage of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. For the last several years, he has also contributed to The Josephite Harvest, a national quarterly magazine. 

George, who has reported from Guyana, Guatemala, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, has won more than 100 national and regional journalism awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, the Catholic Media Association, the Associated Church Press and National Right to Life. He has interviewed many prominent figures, including Martin Sheen, Brooks Robinson, Antonin Scalia, Charles Osgood, Matt Birk, Phil Klay, Kirk Bloodsworth and John Harbaugh. In 2020, he was a finalist for the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the CMA. 

George holds a bachelor's degree from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, where he is a contributor to the Jesuit university's alumni magazine. He also holds a master's degree from University of Maryland Baltimore County. 

George and his wife, Treasa, have been married 11 years and have six children.

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

The survivor of one of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s most horrific cases of child sexual abuse began our conversation with words I’ll never forget.
She had done many interviews with the media over nearly 30 years, she said, but no interview – none, she repeated – was more important to her than the one she was giving the Catholic Review.

The survivor explained that she wanted her fellow Catholics to understand the pain she endured. She wanted them to know the ways the institutional church let her down. She wanted to challenge people in the pews not to ignore survivors.

Put simply, she wanted her voice heard.

Some may have been surprised when the Catholic Review, the official news organization of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, published that survivor’s story and others last year. At the time, the archdiocese was facing a potential flood of lawsuits following the passage of a new state law removing any statute of limitations for civil suits involving child sexual abuse cases in Maryland. Later, just before the law went into effect, the archdiocese declared bankruptcy.

It would have been easy for the Catholic Review to focus only on the positive ways the archdiocese was handling the scourge of abuse – to report only on the archdiocese’s outreach to survivors or the impact of legal challenges on archdiocesan ministries.

While covering those important facets of the story was crucial, I believe that for us to have any credibility and for us to tell a more complete story, we had a sacred obligation to include the unvarnished and sometimes pointed perspectives of survivors.

When Christopher Gaul, one of the storied figures of the Catholic press and one of my mentors, retired in 2005 after a decade as an editor at the Catholic Review, he told me that readers of Catholic publications expect them to give them the truth about the faith and people of faith.

“Working for the Catholic press is about finding the truth and telling the truth in a way that respects the dignity of everyone involved,” he said.

In a time when commentary passes for news on major networks, when some political figures tell lies daily without blinking and when reporting is slanted to appeal to the left or right, it’s more important than ever for readers of Catholic news outlets to know their Catholic publications can be trusted.  

If the Catholic press is to survive and continue sharing important stories of faith that are going untold in the secular media, it must be unafraid of telling the truth. All news organizations have that responsibility. Catholic journalists, who claim Christ as the ultimate source of truth and life, have an extra burden to live out that mandate.

Jessica Rinaudo, The Catholic Telegraph

Jessica Rinaudo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Professional Writing from Centenary College of Louisiana, and has been a member of the Catholic Media Association for the past 16 years. She began her career in Catholic media as the editor of The Catholic Connection magazine for the Diocese of Shreveport in North Louisiana. During her 12-year tenure, she took their publication from a 12-page newsletter to a 32-page, full color, award-winning monthly magazine. Additionally, she launched the diocese’s social media accounts and founded social media classes for local parishes to help them bring the Good News online. In 2019, Jessica was hired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to evolve their 190-year-old Catholic newspaper into a magazine. Within two years of launching the newly re-envisioned magazine format, The Catholic Telegraph won diocesan magazine of the year. In addition to constantly striving to grow and improve The Catholic Telegraph, Jessica continues to consult with other dioceses who are considering changing over to a magazine format and loves utilizing print media to share the goodness, beauty, and truth of the Catholic faith.

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

Like all media outlets, Catholic media must continue to evolve to meet the demands of modern times. So often I hear that print media is dying, but one look at beautiful, thriving, secular publications, like Magnolia Magazine, prove otherwise. Instead of staring fearfully into the unknown, I think it’s important to adapt and meet people where they are. To stay relevant, Catholic media has to be approachable and interesting, and Catholic media creators need to better understand both their current and potential audiences. 

We should ask ourselves why someone would want to consume something we are creating and sharing. Is it something a Catholic mom who is just trying to make it to Mass on the weekend with her posse of crying children can relate to?  What about a senior in assisted living who is struggling with their mental health? What about a college student who feels disengaged from the church they were raised in? Do they feel like the Catholic faith is for them?  Is the Catholic content we are producing something they can pick up and read, and want to spend time with in their daily lives? Is it challenging, approachable, and visually compelling?

My vision of Catholic media is one in which we are not only faithfully and accurately sharing the goodness, beauty, and truth of the Catholic faith, but one where we are doing so in a way that draws people in to want to engage with it. Maybe it’s through a beautiful, approachable magazine cover, or perhaps it’s through an engaging podcast about every day challenges to faith. Regardless, we can’t be afraid to be bold, joyful, and real.

NEWSPAPER BUSINESS STAFF MEMBER
Marnie McAllister, The Record

Marnie McAllister has worked in the Catholic press for 22-plus years. She leads a staff of seven as the editor of The Record. The Archdiocese of Louisville’s weekly newspaper has a circulation of 57,000 in central Kentucky. She manages the news and advertising departments, as well as the website and print and digital production. 

With the support of her team and archdiocesan leadership, McAllister has navigated the challenges facing newspapers today, including the shrinking presence of quality presses, the growing burden of postage costs, dramatic shifts in the advertising landscape as well as the opportunities presented by digital media. 

Under her leadership, The Record staff has won dozens of journalism awards from the Catholic Media Association and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). 

She currently serves as secretary of the board of the SPJ—Louisville Pro Chapter and on its awards and communications committees. She is an active member of her parish, St. Frances of Rome Church, and is a wife and mother of three boys. 

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

Catholic media must engage new generations of Catholics while continuing to serve our traditional audience. This presents an ever-changing balancing act between print and digital resources and revenue to effectively reach Catholics wherever they are. While there’s no road map for this, we can learn from one another. The Catholic Media Association provides an avenue to share our successes — what was effective for you; how did you respond to this challenge? We need to lean on one another if we want to see diocesan news media thriving in the future.

What remains the same is our mission to inspire, educate and inform our readers by providing quality, well-researched content – and we can’t compromise this to gain clicks. Pope Francis asked Catholic communicators on Jan. 29 to be worthy guests of the people who welcome them into their homes. This resonated with me; I often think of the people who’ve called or written to provide their feedback when I’m writing or editing stories. Communication is so personal, and communication about our faith is even more so. We must keep our brothers and sisters in mind with every decision, whether it’s an editorial decision, design decision or a business decision. And most of all, we need to be accessible to them all.

Kevin Eagan, Catholic News Herald

Kevin Eagan is the Advertising Manager of the Catholic News Herald in Charlotte, NC. He has held this post since 2011. Prior to this he was an Advertising Rep and Sales Manager for the former Lake Shore Visitor in the Diocese of Erie for 13 years. Kevin has won numerous awards for his work from the Catholic Media Association. In 2014 he was part of the host committee for the CMA Conference in Charlotte. Kevin is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the North Carolina Press Association. He is married to his wife Christine, and they have a daughter Sarah who is a graduate student at Oxford University.

Describe your vision for the future of Catholic media:

"Past performance is no guarantee of future results." Anyone who has invested money has heard this quote many times and I think that the same can be said for Catholic media. It's good to acknowledge what has worked in the past but we have to be careful to not completely rely on it. We must understand that people are consuming information in many different ways and at a much faster pace than ever before. We must adapt to these changes in media and find the best ways to reach people where they are. For some that means print publications, others will rely on our websites and still more people social media. Making sure that our messages reach people through all of these formats is a challenge but by working together and utilizing the resources of the Catholic Media Association I believe we can be successful.


Online Voting Opens March 6 (must have voting rights and be logged in)