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Leadership

Our growth and commitment to women and those they care about remain strong due to the dedicated leadership at Royal Neighbors. The executive team is aligned in its vision of creating an insurance organization that is truly different and focused on giving back. The team is driven to excellence and is involved in the mission of Royal Neighbors.

Executive Team

  • cynthia-tidwell-2016

    Cynthia Tidwell

    President and CEO, Royal Neighbors of America

    Cynthia Tidwell joined Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s largest women-led life insurers, as President and CEO in 2005. Her stellar reputation for turning around companies and reshaping them into viable businesses led her to the organization to perform a major business reinvention.

    She is accomplished in all facets of insurance, a true transformational leader 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.

    Cynthia’s career as a go-to turnaround executive began at Xerox Financial Services and its insurance subsidiaries where she was given the opportunity to revamp departments, divisions, and then companies. Her career was diverse starting with the management of complex, litigated E & O cases. She moved to the P & L side of the business and led a public entity customer segment. While there, she increased revenues, achieved a 14.5 percent ROE in a soft market and reduced the claims ALAE litigation budget 25% in two years.

    Before joining Royal Neighbors, Cynthia was President of Personal Insurance for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, a part of the Allianz Group, with an annual revenue of $900 million. As its first female to lead one of its profit and loss centers, she used her proven turnaround strategies to steer the 1,300-employee division through an extensive revitalization reducing calendar-year combined ratio 29 points and achieving record profits.

    Cynthia joined Royal Neighbors to take on a new turnaround challenge, this time in the life insurance space. She led its organizational revitalization, reversing declining trends and achieving record sales. During her tenure, assets have grown to over $1 billion and revenues are at an all-time company high while maintaining industry-leading financial ratios. She led transformational initiatives to further clarify and understand Royal Neighbors’ target market and continue to meet the needs of its membership. As a membership organization, its member benefits have been updated and expanded; member engagement and philanthropy outreach have reached new levels; and, under her leadership, the Nation of NeighborsSM Program was launched, which to date has assisted more than 1,000 women and their families with close to $2 million in empowerment grants.

    In addition to her accomplishments in the insurance industry, Cynthia is a member of the ACLI Board of Directors and is chair 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. In addition, she recently completed a seven-year board of director’s role for the Quad City Chamber and was a member of its finance committee.

    She won the prestigious Stevie Award as Turnaround Executive of the Year in the American Business Awards; was named a Professional Woman of the Year in Insurance by the National Association of Professional Women; was selected as one of CEO Connection’s Most Influential Women in 2018; was the recipient of the Athena Business Women’s Award for excellence in her profession and for the significant philanthropic difference she makes in her community; and was recognized as the 2012 Small Business Leader by the Chamber of Commerce. A sought-after speaker, television guest and author of numerous industry and leadership articles, Cynthia also was featured in Business Insider for her career advice along with 24 other “super-successful” people.

    Cynthia is a graduate of Arizona State University and has achieved the LLIF and FLMI designations, as well as the Wharton AICPCU. Cynthia and her husband, Don, have two sons.

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  • curtzeck

    Curt Zeck

    Vice President, CIO/Operations Executive

    Curt Zeck joined Royal Neighbors in 2008 as leader of the Information Technology (IT) department. His duties have included establishing the strategic long-term goals, policies, and procedures for the department. He accepted the position of Vice President in 2018, and is a member of the board of directors serving on the governance and investment committees. A 20-year veteran in the IT field, he has held numerous positions in Marketing, IT Business Management, IT Development, and IT Operations for Bandag, Inc. He is experienced in IT Business Planning, Enterprise Architecture, and Product Development. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a business degree in management information systems. He is a Representative Payee for Alternatives for Older Adults, a member of his church council, and a Junior Achievement mentor.

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  • tom-myers

    Tom Myers

    Chief Financial Officer

    Thomas Myers Jr. is Royal Neighbors of America Chief Financial Officer. He oversees the Society’s financial, actuarial, investment and internal audit functions as well as provides support and counsel for the senior management team.

    A life insurance industry professional for over 30 years, Tom has extensive financial and operations expertise. He most recently held the position of President of United Insurance Company of America located in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, he has served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for United.

    Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Indiana University, he also has achieved the designations of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI). A sports enthusiast, Tom also enjoys the theater, art fairs and spending time with his wife, Therese, and son, Sean.

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  • johnfriederich

    John Friederich, JD

    General Counsel and Secretary

    John Friederich became a member of the Royal Neighbors staff in 1992 when he accepted the position of Assistant General Counsel responsible for legal review of investments. His successive roles have included Senior Assistant General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel. He was appointed General Counsel and Secretary in 2018.

    Graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, John earned his Juris doctorate at the University of Iowa. A member of the Iowa/Illinois and American Bar Associations, he serves as the secretary/treasurer of the RNA Real Estate Holdings, Inc. board; is secretary of the Royal Neighbors Foundation; and is a member of the law committee for the International Claims Association. In addition, he holds membership in the Association of Corporate Counsel, the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Association of Fraternal Benefit Counsel. He also serves on the Policy Development Task Force for the American Fraternal Alliance and the Deputies Committee of the Executive Committee of the American Counsel of Life Insurers.

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  • mary_staver_leadership

    Mary Staver PHR, CEAP

    Human Resources Executive

    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.

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  • Susan Cotter

    Susan Kenney Cotter

    Chief Marketing Officer

    Susan Kenney Cotter joined Royal Neighbors of America as Chief Marketing Officer in September 2017. She is an insurance marketing strategist and profit and loss leader with a proven track record in building, transforming and growing insurance businesses.

    Susan has expertise in leading the development and implementation of growth strategies to help insurance organizations meet customer needs and succeed in changing market environments. As a leader of people, she focuses on designing high performing teams and supporting career development.

    Prior to joining Royal Neighbors, Susan held senior-level marketing and product roles for industry leaders, including Colonial Life and AIG, where she was vice president, marketing and products and senior vice president and chief product officer, group benefits, respectively.

    She also has experience in the legislative and regulatory arena, having worked in Washington, D.C., on behalf of property casualty insurers and their customers.

    Susan began her insurance career at The Seibels Bruce Group, Inc., where she was the executive leader of marketing, sales and corporate communications.

    She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, and received her master’s degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

    Susan is committed to creating value for Royal Neighbors’ members, honoring the courage of the women who served before her and creating better communities through philanthropy.

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Board of Directors

  • veronica_jordan_board

    Dr. Veronica Jordan

    Chair – Boston, Massachusetts

    Dr. Jordan is an experienced entrepreneur, corporate executive and board director. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, general management, sales and marketing, business development, alliance management, corporate governance, global operations and mergers and acquisitions. She is the founder and CEO of BioInnovation Advisors, a consulting practice that advises companies developing novel healthcare products and services. Previously she has served as President and CEO of a venture capital-funded medical device company in the women’s health area, and in various senior executive positions at a major international firm providing worldwide clinical research services. Her considerable board experience includes Albany Molecular Research Inc.; Vermillion Inc.; the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance; the Boston Club; and the Board of Overseers for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Jordan earned a Bachelor 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.

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  • suzanne_riesterer_board

    Suzanne Riesterer

    Vice Chair – Edina, Minnesota

    A business leader with a track record of achieving profitable growth through setting strategic direction, developing highly effective cross-functional teams and driving broad organizational change, Ms. Riesterer has demonstrated substantial success in business line and finance roles. Her diverse background includes the hospitality, manufacturing, technology and learning resource sectors. Her areas of expertise encompass finance, sales, distribution, audit and strategic planning. Ms. Riesterer is on the board of trustees for Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis, which is the state’s leading children’s mental health center. She most recently served as the Chief Financial and Investment Officer for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and previously served the organization as Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration. She also held roles for Carlson as Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis and Vice President of Audit and Business Risk Management. Prior to joining the Carlson team, she was the Chief Financial Officer for Gelco Information Network. Ms. Riesterer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and business administration, summa cum laude, at Augustana College and a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in strategic management at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. She was named an Outstanding Woman Financial Executive by Treasury & Risk magazine in 2011. Elected to the Royal Neighbors board in 2013, she serves on the audit and compensation committees.

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  • julie_bauer_board

    Julie Bauer

    West Orange, New Jersey

    Ms. Bauer has extensive experience in developing online marketing strategies and overseeing technology and operations management for global retail enterprises. She is currently the co-founder and CEO of Parker Naturals LLC. Parker Naturals is a privately held business focused on improving the health and well-being of families, athletes, women and pets. The four sub brands are Parker Naturals Family, Parker Naturals Sports Nutrition, Parker Naturals Organic Beauty and Parker Naturals Pets. She is the former President of Panasonic’s consumer business of North America. Panasonic Corporation is one of the largest electronic product manufacturers in the world, comprised of over 634 companies. It manufactures and markets a wide range of products under the Panasonic brand to enhance and enrich lifestyles around the globe. Previously she had served as the Senior Vice President of Digital and Global Commerce for Guthy/Renker where she was instrumental in creating seamless experiences for customers regardless of whether they want to learn, shop or play online, in stores or via telephone. Under her leadership, the company’s online sales increased 40% in one year. She also has served as Vice President of Global Online and Retail Channels Technology for Mattel Inc. and American Girl. In this position, she led the development of a multi-channel strategy across website, call center/catalog, and stores. Additional areas of expertise include executive leadership and large business transformation initiatives, strategic planning, marketing, cross channel analytics content management, and profit and loss management. Her experience crosses many industry lines including financial services, health care, retail, beauty, fashion and manufacturing. Ms. Bauer received her Bachelor of Science degree in business/marketing at the University of Wisconsin, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. A member of the Royal Neighbors Board of Directors since 2013, she is chair of the investment committee and serves on the governance committee.

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  • marla_glabe_board

    Marla Glabe

    Northbrook, Illinois

    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. Ms. Glabe is Lead Managing Director for MasterMind Advisory Board (“MasterMind”), a corporation offering advisory services to CEOs and business entrepreneurs and Senior Advisor for Management Control International, Inc., a privately owned family asset management firm. Prior to founding MasterMind in 2011, Ms. Glabe served as a senior executive with Northbrook, Illinois ¬based Allstate Insurance Company and as a Board of Director with Allstate Life 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 Northwest Community Healthcare, and on the Executive Committee for First Insurance Funding and Wintrust Life Finance. 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 audit committee and is on the compensation committee, and serves as a Board of Director for the Royal Neighbors Foundation.

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  • patty_jones_board

    Patricia Jones

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Ms. Jones is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Capital Officer at TCF Financial Corp. She previously held executive positions with Arctic Cat, Lifetouch, Inc., Allina Health Systems, H.B. Fuller Company and Delta/Northwest Airlines, Inc. Ms. Jones’ experience crosses several disciplines, including human resources, law, corporate governance, operations, process improvement, communications and public and community relations. Ms. Jones received a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations/Spanish at the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor at William Mitchell College of Law. A member of the Royal Neighbors board since 2013, she is chair of the compensation committee and is a member of the governance committee.

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  • lisakro

    Lisa Kro

    Orono, Minnesota

    Ms. Kro is a co-founder and Managing Director of Mill City Capital, L.P. Mill City Capital is a private equity firm specializing in acquiring consumer and industrial companies. Ms. Kro started her career in public accounting and enjoyed 17 years of working at KPMG spending a portion of her tenure in KPMG’s Munich office and served as the Practice Leader for the Retail, Food & Manufacturing practice in the Midwest. Ms. Kro currently serves on the boards of directors of Herman Miller, Inc., a publicly held company, and four privately held companies, Behrens Manufacturing, Wholesale Produce Supply, Impact Confections and Horizon Hobby all of which are portfolio companies of Mill City Capital. She is also active in the non-profit sector as a board member of Ecumen, an organization operating a variety of senior housing options and services. Elected to the Royal Neighbors board in 2018, Ms. Kro is on the audit and compensation committees.

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  • ruth_mcgregor_board

    Justice Ruth McGregor

    Phoenix, Arizona

    Ruth McGregor served on the Arizona Supreme Court from 1998 until 2009 and as Chief Justice from 2005 until her retirement. She also served on the Arizona Court of Appeals and as law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Justice McGregor received BA and MA degrees from the University of Iowa, her JD from Arizona State University and an MA from the University of Virginia. She has been a board member and officer of the American Inns of Court Foundation, the National Association of Women Judges and the Conference of Chief Justices. She currently serves on the boards of the Center for the Future of Arizona and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. She was elected to the Royal Neighbors board in 2012, and is chair of its governance committee and serves on the investment committee.

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  • cynthia-tidwell-2016

    Cynthia Tidwell

    President and CEO, Royal Neighbors of America

    Cynthia Tidwell joined Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s largest women-led life insurers, as President and CEO in 2005. Her stellar reputation for turning around companies and reshaping them into viable businesses led her to the organization to perform a major business reinvention.

    She is accomplished in all facets of insurance, a true transformational leader 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.

    Cynthia’s career as a go-to turnaround executive began at Xerox Financial Services and its insurance subsidiaries where she was given the opportunity to revamp departments, divisions, and then companies. Her career was diverse starting with the management of complex, litigated E & O cases. She moved to the P & L side of the business and led a public entity customer segment. While there, she increased revenues, achieved a 14.5 percent ROE in a soft market and reduced the claims ALAE litigation budget 25% in two years.

    Before joining Royal Neighbors, Cynthia was President of Personal Insurance for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, a part of the Allianz Group, with an annual revenue of $900 million. As its first female to lead one of its profit and loss centers, she used her proven turnaround strategies to steer the 1,300-employee division through an extensive revitalization reducing calendar-year combined ratio 29 points and achieving record profits.

    Cynthia joined Royal Neighbors to take on a new turnaround challenge, this time in the life insurance space. She led its organizational revitalization, reversing declining trends and achieving record sales. During her tenure, assets have grown to over $1 billion and revenues are at an all-time company high while maintaining industry-leading financial ratios. She led transformational initiatives to further clarify and understand Royal Neighbors’ target market and continue to meet the needs of its membership. As a membership organization, its member benefits have been updated and expanded; member engagement and philanthropy outreach have reached new levels; and, under her leadership, the Nation of NeighborsSM Program was launched, which to date has assisted more than 1,000 women and their families with close to $2 million in empowerment grants.

    In addition to her accomplishments in the insurance industry, Cynthia is a member of the ACLI Board of Directors and is chair 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. In addition, she recently completed a seven-year board of director’s role for the Quad City Chamber and was a member of its finance committee.

    She won the prestigious Stevie Award as Turnaround Executive of the Year in the American Business Awards; was named a Professional Woman of the Year in Insurance by the National Association of Professional Women; was selected as one of CEO Connection’s Most Influential Women in 2018; was the recipient of the Athena Business Women’s Award for excellence in her profession and for the significant philanthropic difference she makes in her community; and was recognized as the 2012 Small Business Leader by the Chamber of Commerce. A sought-after speaker, television guest and author of numerous industry and leadership articles, Cynthia also was featured in Business Insider for her career advice along with 24 other “super-successful” people.

    Cynthia is a graduate of Arizona State University and has achieved the LLIF and FLMI designations, as well as the Wharton AICPCU. Cynthia and her husband, Don, have two sons.

    Read More
  • estella_vallejo_board

    Estella Vallejo

    Peoria Heights, Illinois

    Estella Vallejo is an attorney with the law firm of Shay Phillips. She is an experienced legal and business adviser, leading 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 worked at John Deere and Caterpillar Inc. where she held a number of senior legal and business positions for over 20 years. Serving as a founding member of several women-focused organizations, she has led efforts to build business networks for women in the U.S. and Singapore. She has served on the boards of various philanthropic organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and non-profit foundations. 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 is a member of the governance and investment committees.

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  • curtzeck

    Curt Zeck

    Vice President, CIO/Operations Executive

    Curt Zeck joined Royal Neighbors in 2008 as leader of the Information Technology (IT) department. His duties have included establishing the strategic long-term goals, policies, and procedures for the department. He accepted the position of Vice President in 2018, and is a member of the board of directors serving on the governance and investment committees. A 20-year veteran in the IT field, he has held numerous positions in Marketing, IT Business Management, IT Development, and IT Operations for Bandag, Inc. He is experienced in IT Business Planning, Enterprise Architecture, and Product Development. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a business degree in management information systems. He is a Representative Payee for Alternatives for Older Adults, a member of his church council, and a Junior Achievement mentor.

    Read More
  • marieziegler

    Marie Ziegler

    Bettendorf, Iowa

    Ms. Ziegler has extensive board leadership experience. She is vice chair of QCR Holdings, a $4 billion bank holding company, and serves as its audit committee chair. She is a community leader, chairing the Two Rivers YMCA Board of Trustees and St. Ambrose University’s College of Business Alumni Advisory Board in addition to serving on several other not-for-profit boards. Ms. Ziegler is the retired Deputy Financial Officer of Deere & Company where she had responsibility for global treasury operations, risk management, pensions and investments and investor relations. There she also served on the Chairman’s Global Leadership Council. Her expertise includes strategy, finance and communications. Ms. Ziegler graduated in Accounting from St. Ambrose University and earned an MBA from the University of Iowa. She was elected to the Royal Neighbors board in 2018 and serves on the audit and investment committees.

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Insuring Lives, Suporting Women, Serving Communinites
Form #: P00003; Rev. 11-2018