Cynthia Tidwell, President and CEO at Royal Neighbors of America, has announced her retirement after nearly 17 years of service, effective immediately. She has led the organization through a critical period of turnaround, revitalization, and growth, according to the Rock Island-based company.
Royal Neighbors is a fraternal, mission-driven life insurance organization. During Tidwell’s tenure, Royal Neighbors has seen growth in sales, membership, assets, net income, and has earned several “Great Place to Work” certifications, according to the announcement on its website. Additionally in 2021, Royal Neighbors delivered over $21 million in social good through volunteerism and philanthropic impact.
“The Board would like to recognize and thank Cynthia for her visionary leadership and unrelenting dedication to the Society,” board chair Suzy Riesterer said in the company release. “Cynthia leaves the organization in solid financial standing with a strong leadership team and talented employees who will continue to transform the future for the next generation of success.”
“A leader always wants to make sure things are better when they leave than when they got there,” Tidwell said in a recent LinkedIn post, noting in 2021, Royal Neighbors enjoyed record revenue, increasing profits, growing philanthropic impacts, and an all-time high score from its Great Places to Work employee survey.
Tidwell continued in her LinkedIn post, “I will miss everyone and the next generation of leadership is ready to continue our success.”
Royal Neighbors of America Vice President Curt Zeck will serve as interim CEO.
“Curt, supported by the Board and the leadership team, are committed to ensuring continued focus on our mission, vision, and strategies as we transition leadership,” Riesterer wrote in a letter on behalf of the Royal Neighbors Board of Directors. “The board has expressed great confidence in Curt as interim CEO, the leadership team, and the 2022 Plan.”
Tidwell joined RNA as President and CEO in 2005. She is a member of the American Council of Life Insurers (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. She won the prestigious 2008 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 Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.
A sought-after speaker, television guest and author of numerous industry and leadership articles, Tidwell also was featured in Business Insider for her career advice along with 24 other “super-successful” people.
Curt Zeck joined Royal Neighbors in 2008 and has held leadership positions within multiple layers of the organization. In 2019, he was appointed to Vice President & Chief Product, Sales & Marketing Officer leading the organization’s Growth area. During his tenure, Royal Neighbors has achieved record growth in sales, assets, net income, membership, and philanthropic impact.
Zeck is also a member of the RNA Board of Directors, serving on the governance and investment committees.
“It has been an honor to work for and alongside Cynthia Tidwell for 13 of her 16 years at Royal Neighbors of America. With the support of a strong leadership team and the dedication of our employees, we are proud to say we’ve achieved growth in sales, assets, net income, membership, philanthropic impact, and culture during this period of time,” Zeck said Monday. “We are in a strong position for the next generation of success and continued dedication to insuring lives, empowering women, and building up communities.”