Compassion, integrity, inspiration, excellence, diversity and generosity
Home Care Team
Heather Ratlieff | Branch Manager I came to BrightStar November 2018 with over 20 years of experience working in healthcare settings. I have many years of experience working with the Dementia population. My most recent position before joining BrightStar was as an Executive Director at an assisted living community. I feel the most rewarding aspect of my career is to help our clients live a purposeful life by providing personalized quality care to our clients in their homes. I truly enjoy leading my team of compassionate professionals so that together we can provide ongoing support to our clients, direct care staff and family members.
Carolyn Estela | RN Case Manager I joined BrightStar at the end of 2020 and have quickly fallen in love with our home care clients. I use my many years of experience in assisted living settings, and while I enjoyied my relationships with so many residents over the years, am finding it so rewarding to help our clients stay successfully in their homes.
Medical Staffing Team
Valerie Heiser | Staffing Operations Manager I come from a long background in healthcare. I started working the floor in a skilled nursing facility at age 16, and it really opened my eyes to the ever-demanding need for quality and compassionate nurses and caregivers. I moved around the industry over the years, from Unit Coordinator at a local hospital, surgical tech to scheduling and HR. I was brought into the BrightStar Care family in 2018 and never looked back. I manage client satisfaction, fulfillment and quality for our staffing clients throughout our territory. BrightStar has given me the support I need to grow within the company, and I have passed along that same support to the staff that I manage so we can all shine bright together. We aren't only a team, we are family.
Tony Moore | Account Manager I came to BrightStar Care in March 2020 with over 12 years' experience working in healthcare settings. Before Brightstar, I had been a private caregiver and worked in Cardiac & ER as a CNA. My most recent position before joining BrightStar was as the GM of Butcher & Barrel Gastropub in Downtown Racine. The most rewarding aspect of my career was the change in lifestyle and the ability to help others. I truly enjoy helping our Staffing department employees to enjoy every day at their jobs.
Tyler Koepke | Employee Engagement Manager I joined the BrightStar team in 2022 and I am excited to create close relationships with our employees working in our medical staffing division.
Susan Rather | Owner I hold a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and a master’s degree in human relations from Oklahoma University. I have 25 years experience working in medical facilities and laboratories in Alabama, California, Colorado, Germany, and Wisconsin. Before opening the BrightStar business with my husband, Jeff, I was the Laboratory Manager at the Veteran’s Hospital in Madison. While this is a second career for me, helping out families in need and providing quality jobs for our great staff is the most meaningful and rewarding work I’ve ever done.
Jeff Tews | Owner I earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota, and spent 30+ years in corporate positions at US West, Qwest and US Bank. A re-organization of US Bank started my search for an opportunity to run a small business. When Susan and I heard about BrightStar, we decided it was a perfect opportunity to help families, create jobs, and establish a business in this growing industry.
Ryan Tews | Owner I joined the BrightStar team after running another business in the service industry for many years, first taking on oversight of our assisted living properties and then day-to-day financials for BrightStar Care. I enjoy working with all of our managers and coaching them on problem-solving. In my spare time I enjoy traveling and sky diving.
Sean Morrison | Director of Operations I came to BrightStar Care with over 20 years of expertise in healthcare leadership and business development. My experience working in payor, technology, and provider segments provides a unique understanding of the healthcare system. I am passionate about providing exceptional care and delivering the best possible outcomes to clients, families, and community partners. My goal is to ensure BrightStar operations are client-centered, compassionate, and focused on delivering a higher standard of care.
Lori Tebrinke | Director of Nursing Before coming to Bright Star, I was a night RN at UW Hospital and Clinics on a general internal medicine unit that specialized in Geriatrics and Special Pathogens. I am excited to bring my evidence-based, best practice nursing skills, experiences and training into the private setting. My Bachelor’s degree in Nursing is from UW Madison; additionally I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Iowa State University in Communication Disorders with a minor in Psychology. Working here at Bright Star as an RN Case Manager, I feel I have truly come full circle by being able to provide this level of care to my clients in their own home!
Laken Wehrmann | Assistant Director of Nursing I was working at a facility in the Janesville area when I first heard of BrightStar, there was a nurse on my floor that was from BrightStar Staffing. I have worked in many different healthcare settings, mostly assisted livings, and memory care units. Throughout my time at BrightStar, I've found that the part I enjoy the most as an RN Case Manager is coordinating the 1-to-1 individualized care we provide. I’m excited to contribute to greater levels of clinical excellence through my new role as Assistant Director of Nursing.
Hattie Truss | Business Office Manager I joined the team at BrightStar Care in 2016 after working in pharmacy and hospital settings. Though my current role with BrightStar Care is more on the administrative side of our business, I enjoyed working with direct care staff and our clients for nearly four years as a Customer Care Manager. I was drawn to BrightStar Care because of the care and compassion shown to both our employees and clients, and I continue to be inspired to live those values in my daily work. Outside of work, I love to travel and spend time in nature.
Erin Peters | Talent Acquisition Director I recently returned to BrightStar Care after working here as a Recruiter from 2007-2015. I truly found my passion for serving others after realizing the impact we made by providing quality job opportunities for our CNA, nurses, and medical support staff. I earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Business Administration and have spent the last 16 years working in Human Resources, with a focus in talent management and employee relations. My goal is to ensure that our hiring and onboarding provides the ultimate experience for our caregiving and nursing staff and that we make lasting impressions on those who work for BrightStar Care for years to come.
April Kaiser | Talent Acquisition Specialist I chose Brightstar as I have previously worked as a CNA and really enjoyed working with patients. I got my bachelors degree from UW-Platteville. Before Brightstar I was a HR intern at Deal health plan. After receiving my degree in business with an emphasis in HR Management I wanted to find a job where I could incorporate my education with my background in healthcare. I enjoy getting to interact with all the different caregivers daily. I enjoy hearing how passionate the caregivers are and hearing about how they find so much fulfillment working with our clients.
Dacia Riggs | Talent Acquisition Specialist I started with BrightStar in Feb. 2018 as a Recruiter for SCW-Home Care. Prior to Brightstar I graduated from UW-Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, managed CBRF group homes and served as the In-Home Services Manager for Independent Living Inc. After being in management for many years I decided to change career paths. I became a Recruiter for a large call center where I learned WAY more than just recruiting (it was crazy…to say the least). Then when I saw BrightStar had an opening for a Recruiter, I realized it was my two passions bundled into one. Here I am…4 years later with a new title that I can barely spell, but still have the passion to help applicants realize the opportunities and rewards they can experience working for BrightStar Care.
Wanita Day | Talent Acquisition Specialist I have been in health care for 22 years now. I worked as a CNA for 19 years in a skilled facility, hospital, and hospice. I joined Brightstar in July 2020 as an Employee Engagement Manager and an Account Manager for Medical Staffing and recently joined our Brightstar Care Talent Acquisition Team. I am excited to use my experience in healthcare to educate new employees and grow our team so we can continue to fulfil our mission of providing rewarding work and a Higher Standard of Care.
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my daughter Jordan and my chocolate lab Wes, I also enjoy photography and traveling!
Dylan Hefty | Talent Acquisition Specialist I hold a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Although I am new to healthcare, I am passionate about finding quality candidates to support our enterprise. I hope to make a difference in the communities I recruit for by having happy employees and clients. Outside of work, I like to fish, hike and travel to new places.