Meet Our Team

President and Chief Executive Officer - Erin Carlson Mast

Ms. Erin Carlson Mast has over 20 years of experience in cultural nonprofit excellence and leadership. She joined the Lincoln Presidential Foundation as its President & CEO in 2021. Since then, she has led an organizational rebranding and relaunch, establishment of new partnerships, including with the National Park Service, and award-winning programming.

Prior to serving as the Foundation’s leader, Mast was the CEO & Executive Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage, a National Monument in Washington, DC. As CEO, Mast built and led the organization through a phase of steady growth, groundbreaking scholarship and programming, unprecedented press and awards recognition, and its transition to an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Under her leadership as CEO & Executive Director, President Lincoln’s Cottage received over two dozen awards and recognition for excellence including a Presidential Medal for its international Students Opposing Slavery program, “50 Great Places to Work” in Washington DC, “Best Museum off the Mall” four years in a row, and a must-see destination by Time magazine. In 2017, Mast received the EXCEL Award for Chief Executive Leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. Prior to serving as the CEO & Executive Director, Mast had served the organization in other leadership roles, including Curator & Site Administrator. She was an original member of the capital project team leading to the National Monument’s grand opening in 2008.

Mast’s current service to the field includes Chair of the Making History Matter campaign for the U.S. 250th anniversary for the American Association for State and Local History, Commissioner on the Barrington Cultural Commission, and Executive Committee of the Lincoln Forum. Her past service includes board service at AASLH, faculty for the History Leadership Institute, the working group for the National Census of History Organizations, committee service for the American Alliance of Museums, and advisory council for National History Day. Mast is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and major educational and cultural institutions. She has authored brief biographies of Abraham and Mary Lincoln and articles for a variety of professional publications such as Alliance Labs, History News, Forum Journal, and The Public Historian. She has also contributed chapters and essays to books including Change is Required: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Museum, Mission Matters, Reimagining Historic House Museums, AASLH Guide to Making Public History, and Museums of Ideas: Commitment and Conflict.

In addition to her executive leadership, Mast has a depth and breadth of work experience in cultural non-profits and higher education including the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the National Trust for Historic Preservation headquarters offices, National Building Museum, Institutional History Division of the Smithsonian Institution, George Washington University, and Ohio University. She is an alumna of Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Program and the American Express Leadership Academy. She received her MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and BA in History from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College in Athens, Ohio.

Chief Operating Officer - Rene Brethorst
(217) 524-7517

Rene Brethorst, Chief Operating Officer for the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, has spent 20 years in not-for-profit management. For the past 13 years, Rene has worked to insure our foundation operates in a financially responsible manner at the highest professional standards. Before coming to our Foundation, Rene was an educator and served in a leadership role at the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois.

Senior Director of Development - Phyllis L. Evans
(217) 557-5610

Phyllis joined the Lincoln Presidential Foundation in early 2007. Before becoming the Senior Director of Development, Phyllis served as the Foundation's Director of Membership and editor of the Four Score magazine. Her experience includes drafting legislation for the Illinois House of Representatives and serving as editor of community newspapers for more than 20 years.

Controller - Samantha McGee
(217) 558-8852

Samantha has 12 years of financial management experience and a Master of Science degree in accountancy at the University of Illinois. During her nine-year term at the Estes, Bridgewater & Ogden accounting firm, she served as an auditor to many charitable organizations. She also served as CFO for a local corporation before joining our foundation in 2019.

Program Assistant - Carmyn Saxer

(217) 557-6250

Carmyn joined the Lincoln Presidential Foundation in 2024. She has a double major in public history and vocal performance. Before coming to our foundation, Carmyn was a long-term substitute teacher and a deputy clerk for the Morgan County Circuit Clerk Office in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Senior Director of Advancement - Angela Staron
(224) 383-8541

Angela joined the Lincoln Presidential Foundation in 2011 and has 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector raising corporate, foundation, and government grants for arts, social service, and higher education institutions including the Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Acorn Housing Corporation. She also worked for the Illinois Attorney General and taught English in Kyoto middle schools through a Japanese government program.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

The Lincoln Presidential Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in employment, recruitment, and advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, disability, participation in discrimination complaint-related activities, sexual orientation, genetics, or active military or veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.