- President – Mitchell Pennell
- Chair of the Board – Bill Pritchard
- Treasurer – Matthew Harvat
- Secretary – Michelle Roman
- Amy Armstrong
- Julia Hawkins
- Martha Hill
- Lynai Jones
- Sarah King
- Tricia Round
- Adrien Werts
President – Mitchell Pennell
Mitch Pennell is a junk collector. Not the kind that hauls off unwanted refuse to the dump, but a junkie who collects and saves anything he can get his hands on to add to the inventory of reusable materials for his one-of-a-kind creations.
The alleys of Chicago, dumpsters, salvage yards, demolition sites, construction sites, basements, garages and attics are the target source for booty when it comes to collecting needed supplies. The menagerie of oddities finds new life as exquisite art and home furnishings created by Mitch and his creative team of artistic pioneers.
From lamp parts to salvaged moldings or discarded men’s silk ties – in Mitch’s hands the unwanted trash becomes irresistible treasure. The re-creations are sold through exclusive retail locations while the proceeds, combined with other contributions, fund the Creative Academy at Chicago Lost and Found, which is the primary purpose of the nonprofit organization.
Chicago Lost and Found is certainly an ambitious undertaking with grand ideas and big goals, but for Mitch, this is his calling and passion. While financial shortfall was a challenge in the beginning, it never deterred Mitch’s enthusiasm or commitment.
His entrepreneurial spirit is evident with a long-running record of business acumen and success. He refers to his 25-plus years in the creative profession as a “winding path” that ultimately led to the development of Chicago Lost & Found – his most impressive undertaking to date. For more than 12 years, Mitch owned home interior and décor stores, utilizing his extensive experience as a residential interior designer. His expertise also includes floral design and event planning, along with gift and product development for major brands.
Mitch had the honor of being on the 2001 Academy Awards floral design team and the 2001 Tournament of Roses Parade floral design team. Some avid reality TV fans might remember his as appearance in the 2005 CBS Television show, Wickedly Perfect.
Most recently he has been a featured guest on the Food Network Emmy-winning
“Paula’s Best Dishes” with celebrity chef, Paula Deen. The Christmas tree skirts fashioned from discarded men’s ties are featured in the 2010 Holiday/November issue of Paula’s magazine.
Through the course of events, Mitch believes he has found his purpose as a modern-day junk collector and he couldn’t be happier. He explains, “Where most see trash, I see beauty. When others see the obvious, I see the possibility.” His approach to creating may seem unorthodox to those who have not witnessed the evidence, however the results clearly express his creative passion.
If asked his recipe for happiness, Mitch is quick to answer. “Do what you love, be consistent, be persistent and be available to your purpose. Success will always partner with passion”.
Chair of the Board – Bill Pritchard
A Seattle native, Bill Pritchard serves on the staff of the American Bar Association, Office of the President. Additionally, Pritchard is the Senior Vice President of Community Affairs for online publication GoPride.com; with sites in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and its flagship site, ChicagoPride.com.
Treasurer – Matthew Harvat
What started as a birthday favor in 1998 for a friend has evolved into a career as one of the most recognizable and respected performers in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. Circuit MOM and his production company have taken dance floors, theatrical stages and charity events by storm with their own unique brand of sass, humor and pageantry.
Matthew Harvat is the man behind Circuit MOM. Exploring his need to develop an inner strength and make a difference in his own life, he embarked on a journey of performing for various local and national events that focus on raising awareness and much needed funds for the LGBT community. That desire has produced a new, fresh approach to music interpretation.
Based inChicago, music and comedy legend Amy Armstrong has graced stages coast-to-coast, both large and small, and in over 20 countries with her one-of-a-kind wit and musical prowess. Partnering with famed piano man, Freddy Allen they have had the pleasure of opening and sharing the spotlight with some familiar names including Kathy Griffin, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, Phyllis Diller, Bea Arthur, Jennifer Holiday and Judy Gold to name a few. They remain dedicated to their community involvement having presented numerous charity concerts over the years, raising over $15 million for LGTB charities worldwide.
Julia Hawkins hails from southeasternMichiganand has recently returned to the Midwest after living inAtlantafor the past three years. Julia holds a B.A. in theatre and is an accomplished cabaret artist and actor.
Chicagonative Martha Hill is a graduate ofColumbiaCollege. Her media background includes radio, print and television. Martha is married and is the proud mother of two young children and 3 dogs.
Lynai Jones grew up on the upper west side of NYC but callsChicagohome. The skills honed in her 18 years of corporate experience in sales, marketing and financial management are still at work today managing her home, children and philanthropic efforts. Married and a mother of four, Lynai is a member of the President’s Advisory Counsel of Vassar College.