Our Staff at BrightStar Care® St. Croix Valley

Our experienced and compassionate staff is dedicated to caring for your loved one as if they were family. Get to know our team.

  • Sini Stjernsward Ross

    Owner of BrightStar Care of St. Croix Valley

    How many years that you’ve been in your career? I opened our St Croix Valley office in 2011. I am originally an Architect but was called to serve in this capacity after experiencing the benefits of Home Care with my mother in law Nancy. She was able to live out the last 2-1/2 years of her life in her home surrounded by her family, grandchildren and puppies. It was thanks to her journey that my husband and I felt that we could make a positive difference in the lives of the families that we serve and our employees. 

    What you like most about working for BrightStar? I feel truly blessed. I work with the most amazing people. I am an only kid and I only have one daughter so I have a small family, but thanks to employees and clients, I really feel like I have a huge family and it gives me the opportunity to make a positive difference when it can be some of their darkest times. 

    The best piece of advice I've ever been given is: Crisis is Equal to Opportunity. I know that it’s hard to navigate adversity but life is about change. The best way to try and find comfort is to not give up on your dreams and find a way to leverage the challenges that you face and figure out how to make it a positive. Some of the worst things that have happened to me have actually turned out to be huge blessings. 

    If I weren't so good at my job, I'd probably be a Horse Trainer and an Artist. I rekindled my passion for horses by taking up Reining and two Quarter Horses and I train with the wonderful team at Brian Welman’s Training Stable in River Falls Wisconsin. 

    Cats or dogs? Both, I would never be able to choose between my Shiba Inu, Kokomo or Kitty, whom we adopted from our neighbors when they moved to Florida. 

    If I were a superhero, my superpower would be Innovation. I love making things and solving problems. When I retire, I am going to need a huge sewing, art and woodworking studio…I just love creating things. 

    When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a Lawyer. I used to sit in the courtrooms in the mornings when my mom brought me to work while I was waiting for the stores to open. I was fascinated by the court cases. The only issue was that I have dyslexia and my spelling was horrible. This was way before spell check and computers. I went the Architecture route because I could draw, and present my ideas easily and luckily math and science wasn’t an issue. See, Crisis is equal to Opportunity…So, don’t let a setback keep you from chasing dreams. Who knows, maybe when I retire, I might just go after that Law Degree!

    Sini Stjernsward Ross
  • Brenda Hartmon, RN DON

    Director of Nursing

    How many years that you’ve been in your career? I have been an RN for 24 years. I have worked in a variety of settings including: Clinics, Hospitals, Schools and Home Care. Home Care is where I have found what I love to do!

    What you like most about working for BrightStar? I genuinely Love to help people. I have great empathy for people in varying life situations, and love to help figure out ways to make life easier for them. Working at BrightStar allows me to come together with a team of nurses, caregivers and staff members all working toward a common goal for our clients. 

    1.    The best piece of advice I've ever been given is: Always do the right thing; even when no one is looking. I was taught  this as a young child from my parents. It’s advice I’ve passed onto my 3 boys as they grew up and proudly watch them practice this now.

    2.    If I weren't so good at my job, I'd probably be a Functional Medicine MD. I am fascinated by the food/health connection and holistic overall well-being.

    3.    Cats or dogs? Dogs, You cannot beat the loyalty of a DOG :)

    4.    If I were a superhero, my superpower would be Teleportation. Just think all the home visits we could do in a day eliminating drive time!

    5.    When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a Veterinarian when I grew up. I grew up on a farm and was always around animals, constantly admiring our local Vet and all she could do

    Brenda Hartmon RN DON
  • Marlee Haroldson, RN

    Assistant Director of Nursing
    I have been an RN for two years. I spent a year working in a hospital and now a year in home care with our team at BrightStar Care. While I was in nursing school I worked as a CNA and HHA in North Dakota. I enjoy working for BrightStar and being a home care nurse because I have the opportunity to help our clients improve their quality of life and reduce the stress they may be experiencing due to complex medical problems and treatments. I get to work with a great team of nurses, therapists, caregivers, and support staff to ensure our clients have excellent care.

    If I were a pasta shape, I would be…a spaghetti noodle because I enjoy simple, classic things like reading a book or listening to music.

    Cats or dogs? Cats, I live in the midwest and I don’t want to take my dog for a walk when it's -20 degrees.

    The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…there is no such thing as a coincidence, everything happens for a reason.

    If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve…shutting off the lights across the country so that we could all enjoy the stars without light pollution.

    What is the most inspiring part of your job? The most inspiring part of my job is when I can sense the relief of clients and their families that someone is able and willing to help them improve their circumstances and navigate difficult health situations.
    Marlee Haroldson, RN
  • Christine Schell

    Customer Care Manager
    Meet our Customer Care Manager, Christine who is the person behind all of our scheduling. Christine has been in the home care field for 5 ½ years. What she enjoys the most about working for BrightStar is the opportunity to work with the staff and clients. Some fun things about Christine: "In another life I'm pretty sure I would be a bird and fly like and eagle in the sky freely" "If I won the lottery I would start a animal shelter and adoption center" "The best piece of advice I've ever received is to keep your chin up and never look down up is the only way to go" "When I was 5 I was sure that I would be a veterinarian"
  • Hnue Lo-Vue, LPN

    Case Manager
    I have been a nurse for 24 years this year. 4 years with Brightstar care. I love working with BrightStar because they are very flexible with scheduling and they care about how we are doing. I feel like they are my second family. I love my clients, and I just love our team here. The most inspiring part of my job is how the clients feel after you spend time with them in their home. Most of my clients that I do HHA with are so appreciative about warm cook meals and time spending with them playing card games. It's not everyday that they have someone with them, and they show you how much they appreciate you. It really just makes you feel very humble and blessed. When I was 5 years old I remember I wanted to be a fashion designer up into my early high school year actually. But when I had my son and I was far from home, I was lucky to have wonderful caring nurse who taught me how to take care of my newborn and myself. She opened up my eyes to being a nurse. The best piece of advice I've ever been given was from my mother in law. She said that working hard can not kill you, only sickness can. You can't die from working too hard, maybe exhausted but not die. Only sickness can kill you. I believe this is true. In another life, I'm pretty sure I was a fish because I love water. I love swimming even though I can only swim enough to save myself. I love the beaches and the lakes. Dog or cat? I choose neither because I can't even take care of my needs along with my kids. Cat or dog, no way. Too much responsibility that I can not take on.
    Hnue Lo-Vue, LPN
  • Cheri O'Connor

    Care Consultant
    Cheri is passionate about helping, consulting, educating, and bringing care and knowledge to all those who may be in need. She is motivated by helping others and her own good health. When she is away from work, she loves to spend time with her daughter and granddaughter, travel, make quilts, feed wildlife, and be outdoors. Cheri has spent more than 28 years working in the healthcare industry. Her merits include: CMA in Ophthalmology, CNA, Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Ward Clerk, sales, marketing, and educational presentation experience. Additionally, she worked as a Travel Consultant, which inspired her to create her own international travel tour business and explore over 30 countries in the process. Cheri's career journey then brought her back to the health industry. She has worked with clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, in-home care, private care, and treatment centers. Cheri started working as a Care Consultant with BrightStar in June of 2015. She describes BrightStar Care’s work as compassionate, empathetic, and fulfilling. She firmly believes in her work and views it as a team effort and opportunity to help others navigate through their journey of life.
    Cheri O'Connor
  • Ryan Peterson, CNA

    2021 Midwest Regional Caregiver of the the Year
    Ryan is passionate about being thorough with his care and making personal connections through art. He is motivated by art, and he loves to bond with his clients by sharing his artwork with them. His journey as a caregiver began in 2014 when he began dating a woman who was paralyzed from a spinal injury. Caring for her inspired him to become certified at St. Paul College, which eventually led him to start working with BrightStar in January of 2017. One of his longterm clients then encouraged him to get into making his own art, which he is very grateful for. Ryan associates BrightStar with integrity, dedication, and trustworthiness. He loves that he is allowed to be himself at work and feels as though clients can connect with and easily trust him because of his autism and extensive experience working with different types of disabilities. When Ryan thinks of BrightStar, it reminds him of home. He feels that our caregivers do not only do in-home care, but that they also act as the strong foundations that keep families together at home.
    Ryan Peterson, CNA
  • Nicole Lippert

    Physical Therapist PT, MPT
    I have been a PT for 21 years What I enjoy about working at Brightstar is the teamwork and flexibility, and the challenge of working in an ever changing environment. In another life, I'm pretty sure I was a fish, I have dreams of being underwater all the time. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd start an animal sanctuary. And, you know, keep working here. The best piece of advice I've ever been given is this too shall pass, or take two aspirin and get to work. Both from my Grandma, a very cool lady. If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve mandatory mimosas What advice would you give a candidate who wants to join our team of superstars? Be flexible, think outside the box and work hard for your patients. Cats or dogs? Cats, with a sprinkling of dog every once in a while.
    Nicole Lippert
  • Alyssa Cutcher

    Physical Therapist PT, DPT
    I received my doctorate in physical therapy almost 12 years ago and have been working in the field ever since.

    I enjoy working for Brightstar because of all the fascinating patients we get to meet and help!

    What's the most inspiring part of your job? The most inspiring part of my job is watching people grow and improve, I feel lucky to be part of their recovery process.

    If I won the lottery tomorrow I would buy a vineyard and learn how to make amazing wines.

    Cats or dogs? When given the choice between cats and dogs I would 100% always pick dogs, dogs, dogs and always dogs.

    If I was a superhero, I would want the superpower to be in 2 places at once! Get twice as much done and be with my loved ones at the same time!

    When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be astronaut when I grew up. I wanted to walk on the moon!

    Alyssa Cutcher
  • Jennifer Olofson

    Field Support Specialist
    I have had many jobs over the years but nothing has brought me more joy than working in this field. I have been a caregiver for about two years in total, and now I have been in the office for a couple of months as a customer success team member and I am loving every minute of it. What I like most about working with Brightstar is, the people. From clients to staff it is my favorite thing to get to know someone and get to know them a little better. I also love being in a field where I can help people, it has always been my passion and I am so happy I can do that here! When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a dolphin trainer when I grew up. In another life, I'm pretty sure I was a cat. I'd love nothing more than to sleep and eat all day and cuddle up and get head scratches! If I were a superhero, my superpower would be teleporting because then I would never have to wait at an airport ever again! What's the most inspiring part of your job? The most inspiring part of caregiving for me is giving our clients the tools to be able to live a healthy happy life and to be able to give them support. Every senior that I work with I treat with respect and care like I would my grandparents. To let them know they are cared for and not alone. If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve naps and food and more naps!
    Jennifer Olofson
  • Joel Cepukenas

    Occupational Therapist
    I have 25 years of OT service. My favorite word in the english language is Peace... In a previous life I believe I was a rock star. If I wasnt so good at my job I would be lying on a beach; My Super power would be kindness... Dogs over cats of course... Peace!!
    Joel Cepukenas
  • Addison Welman

    Community Outreach and Social Media Manager 
    How many years that you’ve been in your career: I graduated from Fresno State University in May 2022, and I have been with BrightStar since December 2022. What you like most about working for BrightStar: I enjoy working for BrightStar because we are in the business of helping people improve their lives. Providing peace of mind for our clients is what is it all about, and I am proud to say that I work for a company that does so. What I enjoy most is Riding and showing Reining horses. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd buy more horses. And, you know, keep working here. The best piece of advice I've ever been given is lead with kindness. If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve giving back to the community. Cats or dogs? Definitely horses. If I were a superhero, my superpower would be lightning speed, because I like to go fast. When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a country singer when I grew up. Because even though I am not good at singing, I still enjoy it.
    Addison Welman
  • Jolena Steinmetz

    Talent Acquisition Manager
    I have worked for BrightStar for 7 years. I started out as a caregiver and last year I was given the wonderful opportunity to become the Recruiter at our new Hudson office. What I love about BrightStar is the amazing opportunities for growth, flexible scheduling that work well for a busy mom. I also love our clients and the entire BrightStar team! If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve my family and a tropical destination. If I weren't so damn good at my job, I'd probably be a travel blogger. The most inspiring part of my job is seeing the positive impact that our caregivers have in our clients lives everyday. If I were a superhero, my superpower would be telekinesis. It would be fun to read minds. When I was 5, I was pretty sure I'd be a police officer when I grew up.
    Jolena Steinmetz
  • Margaret McIntyre, RN

    Case Manager
    I have been an RN for 44 Years. The best thing that I like about working for BrightStar Care is the flexibility. In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a Mermaid. The best piece of advice I received from my father was to call people by their 1st Name and be interested in them. My favorite word that has no direct English translation is “joie de vivre”. The most inspiring part of my job is the incredible clients and families we work with everyday. When I was 5, I was pretty sure that I was going to be a ballerina when I grew up…but the I also highly considered being a Nun and a Scullery Maid… If we held an office talent show, I’d wow everyone with my “Color Analysis” talent.
    Margaret McIntyre, RN

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