Mission and Leadership

The Royal Neighbors Foundation is a philanthropic not for profit corporation. We were established by Royal Neighbors of America in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) public charity to provide financial education and support causes that empower women and their families. 

Hopes, dreams, and goals are a part of life’s journey. How we achieve them is different for each of us. However, some of those hopes, dreams, and goals may need financial resources to make them a reality, and understanding our financial situation is key to our success.

Our Mission:

Building Women’s Futures Through Financial Education


Statistics show that women face unique challenges that impact their financial futures.

We help women successfully overcome these issues by sharing relevant information and practical tips to manage finances more effectively and with confidence.


Although it may be difficult to quantify your true worth as a spouse, parent, friend, or employee, you can gauge your financial worth. And that’s important when making financial decisions that affect your future of you as well as your loved ones futures. 

We know you have what it takes to plan your financial roadmap. We just want to go along for the ride and help you “recalculate” every so often.

Our Know Your Worth® programs serve as your guide on your journey.

Are You Ready To Know Your Worth®

About Royal Neighbors of America
Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s largest women-led life insurers, empowers women to meet the needs of their families with annuities and life insurance products such as whole life, simplified issue, and universal life. Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Rock Island, IL, with a branch office in Mesa, AZ.
BNY Mellon Financial Advisor Playbook, 2016 pay issue brief final.pdf


Mary Staver

Mary Staver, PHR, CEAP, President
Rock Island, IL

Mary Staver is a native of the Quad Cities and has been a member of the Royal Neighbors of America staff since 2001. In 2006 she was promoted to Human Resources Executive and has served in that role for over 10 years. With over 25 years of experience in human resources, she has held a variety of positions in the HR field and also served as an employee assistance and human resource consultant where she provided human resource consulting for over 20 businesses.

She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a major in communications and a minor in business. She has earned the designations of Professional in Human Resources and Certified Employee Assistance Professional. Ms. Staver is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the Great River Human Resource Association and is active in the community. She is the management liaison to the Compensation Committee of the Royal Neighbors Board of Directors. She believes that offering “employment with a difference” and giving employees an opportunity to give back to the communities where they live is the cornerstone of building employee retention and engagement.

Under her direction, Royal Neighbors earned the designation of Great Rated! from the Great Place to Work Institute in 2014. The designation is based on the Trust Index© Employee Survey which was completed by Royal Neighbors employees. 

In addition, Mrs. Staver and her team have built a customized wellness program earning Royal Neighbors the Fit-Friendly Worksite designation from the American Heart Association and recognition as a Be Healthy Quad Cities Workplace from the Quad City Health Initiative.

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall, Ph.D., MSW, Vice President
Rock Island, IL  

Dr. Mendenhall joined Royal Neighbors as the Philanthropy Director in March 2015. He oversees member engagement programs including the Community Leadership Chapters, member savings programs, Nation of Neighbors, the scholarships program, and other programs that add value to the member experience of Royal Neighbors. He is a graduate of Cornell College and has a MSW degree from St. Ambrose University and a Ph.D. from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. He serves as Vice Chair of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Board and is on community advisory boards for WQPT Public Television, Western Illinois University – Quad Cities Campus, and the Quad Cities Food Hub. 

Cynthia Tidwell


Cynthia Tidwell, Director   
Rock Island, IL

Cynthia Tidwell joined Royal Neighbors of America as President/CEO in 2005. Her vision of leading an organization that empowers women to improve their lives, families, and communities; her experience with company turn-arounds; and her passion for financial education and giving back made her the perfect fit.

She is accomplished in all facets of insurance, including sales, marketing, claims, underwriting, agency management, information technology, and human resources, a true general manager with multi-functional, hands-on experience. Her results-oriented and team philosophy has helped build many successful companies and strong leaders throughout her career in the financial services industry.

Before joining Royal Neighbors, she was President of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (FFIC) Personal Insurance Business, part of the Allianz family of companies. In this role, she led change initiatives to regain business fundamentals and achieved record results, including annual revenues of $900 million.

Prior to Fireman’s Fund, Cynthia worked for Xerox Financial Services subsidiary Crum & Forster Managers/Coregis for 13 years. Her significant turnaround skills were developed through a series of difficult, risk-taking assignments.
Since taking the helm at Royal Neighbors, Ms. Tidwell has enhanced its portfolio of products and strengthened its sales capability, resulting in record-setting life insurance sales and an increase of member benefit utilization by more than 400 percent. She also has maintained an A- (Excellent) rating from the A.M. Best rating agency.

Ms. Tidwell has embraced Royal Neighbors’ century-old legacy of empowering women and aligned the philanthropic mission to meet the needs of today’s women. Under her leadership, Royal Neighbors’ Nation of Neighbors Program empowers women with financial assistance to achieve their full potential, realize a sense of renewed personal growth, and make a difference in their communities. More than $1.7 million has been awarded to more than 1,200 individuals since 2007.

Exhibiting philanthropy through leadership, Cynthia volunteers on behalf of Royal Neighbors by serving meals to the homeless, and joining with employees on various hands-on projects that benefit women.

In recognition of her keen business acumen and her leadership abilities, she won the prestigious Stevie Award as Turnaround Executive of the Year in the 2009 American Business Awards. She was named a Professional Woman of the Year in Insurance by the National Association of Professional Women; was the recipient of a 2010 Athena Business Women’s Award for excellence in her profession and for the significant difference she makes in her community; and was also recognized as the 2012 Small Business Leader by the Quad Cities Chamber.

In addition to her accomplishments in the insurance industry, Cynthia is a member of the ACLI Board of Directors and is chair-elect of the ACLI Forum 500 Board of Governors. She also is a member of the American Fraternal Alliance and the International Women’s Leadership Association. She has also recently completed a 7-year board of director’s role for the Quad City Chamber and was a member of its finance committee. She is a sought-after speaker on leadership and the improvement of women’s health and financial security. Because of her visionary leadership both at Royal Neighbors and within the financial services industry, she has participated in a panel discussion with Jim Collins, renowned author of books which teach leaders and organizations how to succeed by moving them from good to great.

She also was featured in American Executive magazine for her turnaround strategies; listed in the Global Directory of Who’s Who, the foremost network of worldwide leadership; and has been a guest on numerous TV talk shows and news channels.

Ms. Tidwell is a graduate of Arizona State University, earned the LLIF designation, and was a participant in the Wharton AICPU Program and Hagberg Executive Development. In addition to her President/CEO responsibilities, she serves on the executive committee of the Royal Neighbors Board of Directors. She and her husband, Don, have raised two wonderful sons.

Estella Vallejo

Estella Vallejo, Director  
Peoria Heights, IL

Estella Vallejo is General Counsel for a group of manufacturing and services companies and an attorney with the law firm of Shay Phillips. Ms. Vallejo is an experienced legal and business adviser, leading geographically and culturally diverse legal and business teams in assessing, developing, and executing strategically significant product and services growth initiatives in the U.S. and abroad, including Asia Pacific and Europe. Ms. Vallejo’s corporate career began at John Deere and continued at Caterpillar Inc. where she held a number of senior legal and business positions for over 20 years. Serving as a member of several women-focused organizations, she has led efforts to build business networks for women in the U.S. and Singapore. Ms. Vallejo is actively engaged in a number of community organizations, including the Bielfeldt Foundation and the Royal Neighbors of America Foundation. Past board memberships include McClarin Plastics where she also served on its compensation committee and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria where she also served as secretary. She served as a Commissioner on the City of Peoria Human Resources Advisory Commission for several years. She has a B.S.B.A. from Drake University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa. Ms. Vallejo has been on the Royal Neighbors board since 2012 and serves as the Chairman of the Board. She also is a member of the investment and audit committees.

Marla Glabe

Marla Glabe, Director  
Northbrook, IL  

Ms. Glabe has in depth experience managing and providing leadership at sophisticated nationwide organizations in highly regulated businesses. Her background includes executing major business unit turnarounds and Six Sigma initiatives. She currently is Lead Managing Director for MasterMind Advisory Board LLC and vice chair for Northwest Community Heathcare. Prior to founding MasterMind in 2011, she served as a senior executive with Northbrook, Illinois ¬based Allstate Insurance Company where she gained extensive experience in building and developing new businesses and in leading major operating organizations within the Allstate Financial Group. Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in actuarial science from the University of Illinois, Ms. Glabe is also a graduate of Duke University’s Strategic Executive Education Marketing Program, is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, and a former board of director for Life Office Management Association. Ms. Glabe serves on the Board of Directors for Wintrust Financial Corporation, Wintrust Wealth Management, and First Insurance Funding Corporation. She is past President of the North Shore Chicago United Way Board of Directors, a member of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Advisor Network and the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers, and is an Executive Mentor for The Menttium Program. She has been on the Royal Neighbors board since 2013 and is the chair of the investment committee and is on the audit committee.

Veronica Jordan

Dr. Veronica Jordan, Director  
Boston, MA

Dr. Jordan’s entrepreneurial drive has resulted in various successful start-up companies and new corporate endeavors. She is experienced in raising venture capital and participating in public offerings. Her skills include strategic planning, general management, sales and marketing, business development, alliance management, customer focus, global operations, and international acquisitions. She is the founder and CEO of BioInnovation Advisors, a consulting practice that develops and implements growth strategies for science and technology-based companies. This company provides business strategy, market assessment, product development, and outsourcing expertise to companies developing novel healthcare products and services, and to contract research organizations providing drug development services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. She has served as President, CEO, and board member of Medelle Corporation, a venture capital-funded medical device company formed to develop technology in the women’s health area, and in various senior executive positions at PAREXEL International Corporation, a leading contract pharmaceutical outsourcing organization providing worldwide clinical research services. Her considerable board experience includes Albany Molecular Research Inc.; the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance; Life Science Council, Springboard Enterprises; the Boston Club; and the Board of Overseers for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Jordan earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in biochemistry at Cambridge University, England, and her Ph.D. in biochemistry/cell biology at Oxford University, England. She has been on the Royal Neighbors board since 2013 and serves as its vice chair and sits on the governance and compensation committees.

John Friederich

John Friederich, Secretary
Rock Island, IL

Mr. Friederich became assistant general counsel in Royal Neighbors’ investment department in 1992. He currently serves as senior assistant general counsel. Graduating from Iowa State University, Ames, with a bachelor of arts degree, he earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of Iowa.  He is a member of the Iowa/Illinois Bar Association and serves on the board of directors of St. Joseph the Worker House and RNA Real Estate Holdings, Inc.

Steve Norberg

Steve Norberg, CPA, FLMI, Treasurer
Rock Island, IL

Mr. Norberg has been part of the Royal Neighbors Home Office staff since 1992, and is currently serving as Senior Internal Auditor. He is responsible for assessing the adequacy and effectiveness of internal financial and operational controls within the Society. Earning his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, he also is a Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow, Life Management Institute.  He has been a member of the AlWood School Board; a Trustee for the Oxford Township Fire District; treasurer of the Village of Alpha; and Teens Encounter Christ board member.

Form #: F00008; Rev. 8-2016
Royal Neighbors of America
  • Contact
  • (800) 537-1396
    8A.M. - 5P.M. CT
  • Royal Neighbors Foundation
    230 16th Street
    Rock Island, IL 61201-8645
Royal Neighbors on Facebook
Terms of Use • Privacy Policy
Insuring Lives, Suporting Women, Serving Communinites