February 4, 2021 – What makes a not-for-profit organization great? Its mission, of course, as well as dedicated staff, volunteers, board members and its stakeholders. But according to executive recruiters, what may be most important is exceptional leadership – especially in such a politically-supercharged climate supported by a challenging economic environment.
To that end, Chicago-based search firm Kittleman & Associates recently assisted in the placement of Erin Carlson Mast as president and CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield, IL. Ms. Mast has a track record in leading capital projects, research and exhibits, public programming, and partnerships focusing on the history and legacies of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. She brings a depth of experience in increasing and sustaining a high level of philanthropy and partnerships and in campaign management. As CEO and executive director of President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C., Ms. Mast spearheaded the process under which the National Monument transitioned from being part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to an independent organization.
As part of that effort, she launched a campaign to increase major donor giving and secure nearly $2 million in multi-year pledges for the Cottage. During her tenure, she led strategic planning and oversaw capital projects, the creation of new programs, an improved visitor experience, and increased resources and partnerships. The results included groundbreaking studies and programming, sustainable growth, and $5 million in critical preservation work.
“Lincoln is the most consequential president, and this museum and library holds one of the most consequential collections, and it’s our responsibility to protect it and make it available to the people,” Ms. Mast told the Illinois Times. “Good history goes with having a healthy democracy.”
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation supports the exhibits and educational and cultural programming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The foundation fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to President Lincoln, his family and era, and promotes a greater appreciation of history through exhibits, conferences, publications, online services and other activities designed to promote historical literacy.
“Since having a career that focused on President Lincoln, this new role that I was appointed to made perfect sense,” Ms. Mast said. “I plan on using my knowledgeable background to lead the Presidential Library Foundation to the best of my ability.”
Kittleman & Associates, established in 1963, is one of the nation’s oldest executive recruitment firms exclusively serving non-profit organizations. Search services include recruitment counsel, organizational assessment, development of position specifications, prospect research, source identification, candidate development, background assessment and verification, reference checking, offer preparation and transition assistance.
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The firm has led searches for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, Space Center Houston, Paws With a Cause, Indiana Historical Society and Community Foundation for Muskegon County.
“We work closely with our client organizations to bring candidates with varying points of views and life experiences to the search process,” the firm said. “We hire staff that reflects the broad diversity of our community and that of our client organizations. We retain a diverse group of product and service vendors and we strive to select vendors who are committed to promoting a diverse workplace.”
Cory King, president and CEO, leads Kittleman’s search practice as well as the overall management of the firm. He focuses on CEO searches across the non-profit sector, with a particular emphasis in social services, grantmaking foundations, cultural institutions and conservation organizations. Mr. King has been in the non-profit sector since 1998 and brings executive-level experience in higher education, healthcare and social services.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media