Jim Guzdziol, MBA and Phyllis O’Brien, RN | Owners
Inspiration for opening a BrightStar franchise arose from a personal experience for husband and wife Jim Guzdziol, MBA and Phyllis O’Brien, RN, owners of the Naperville office.
“We witnessed firsthand Phyllis’ mother’s need for care and the difficulties a family faces when a family member is suffering. The demands of caring for a loved one cause a great deal of stress on the primary decision maker and caregiver. It is very fulfilling to provide such a needed service. Phyllis and I view this as a tremendous opportunity to leverage our career strengths and bring a higher level of service to this community.”
After experiencing Phyl’s mother’s journey toward the end of her life, we were inspired to combine our career strengths and the BrightStar business model to bring a higher level of home care and staffing services to the surrounding communities, help families and create jobs. Jim brings over 25 years of executive-level business experience, holding C-level positions for the past ten years. Phyllis has over 25 years experience as a registered nurse.
Kelly Winters | Branch Director
I have over 13 years experience in office administration, including accounting, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable and human resources. I value my relationships with coworkers and am passionate about building strong relationships with the medical staff, patients and their families. Maintaining quality service is something I continue to strive to provide. There is a great need for good home health services and I am excited to be a member of the BrightStar team in providing these services.
Maureen Wood | Director - Business Development
My background includes lengthy tenures in business education and professional services management. As a result of my Board service for St. Paul’s House, a Health Care Center near Wrigley Field, I launched my "encore" career into serving this nation's greatest generation. The last eight years I have focused primarily on marketing continuing care in a community setting.
My most recent position as Move Management Coordinator for a new independent / assisted living and memory care community has afforded me firsthand insight into the many challenges and difficulties seniors and their families face when transitioning from their homes to senior communities -- the thought of downsizing, preparing to sell your home, the actual sale and physical move --- can be daunting to say the least!
I am a strong proponent of the BrightStar model because our focus is to support seniors by providing excellent care and services in the comfort of their own homes. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz said, "There's no place like home."
Michelle Thornburg, RN | Director of Nursing
I have been in the Nursing Field for many years. My career started in the Newborn Intensive Care, it was challenging but very fulfilling to work with fragile newborns. About ten years ago, I took some time off to care for my ailing parents. I became very interested in home care after being involved in their care for several years. I have experienced first hand the many difficulties that families face when caring for their loved ones. I have over five years experience witha home care agency, where I was responsible for the day to day operations of the local branch. I am very excited to begin a new journey with BrighStar Care, and be a part of the wonderful team.
Scott Johnsen, RN | Care Coordinator
My start in healthcare began after my term in the military. After discharge, I worked as an EMT before attending Northern Illinois University where I obtained my baccalaureate degree in Nursing. Since then, I have worked on neurological and cardiac units for local hospitals. I have also served on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN), and am engaged with several regional chapters. I bring my acute care clinical expertise along with ACLS, BLS, and NIH certifications to the BrightStar team. The most well-run units in the hospital are ones where the staff has great camaraderie, something that is palpable just by walking on the unit. BrightStar feels like one of these units, and I am glad to be working at a place with that atmosphere.
Elaine Ludwig, RN | Care Coordinator
I always wanted to be either a nurse or a teacher, and when it came time to go to college there was a nursing shortage, so I pursued a nursing degree. I later became a registered nurse as a single mom of four young children. Once my children were grown I went back to school and completed my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. I have been a nurse for over 30 years and have a wealth of experiences, from hospital, to long-term care, to assisted living and finally to home care. As I oversee each client’s care, I thoroughly enjoy using this knowledge as a teaching tool for both the client and their family. Now, as a BrightStar RN Care Coordinator, I am able to fulfill my lifelong desire to be both a nurse and a teacher, serving others needs.
Amanda Hoff, RN | Care Coordinator
I have a wide range of interests, from swing dancing, to camping, to cats. However, the one constant interest I’ve held is my deep fascination with all things medical. It came as no surprise that I finally decided on nursing to be my calling, in particular home health nursing. In 2015, I started at BrightStar, as a field nurse, and found that the personalized attention I was able to give to my clients was exactly the kind of care I wanted to provide as a nurse. After graduating from University of Illinois at Chicago, with my Master’s Degree in Nursing, BrightStar took me on as a full-time RN Care Coordinator. This is not only the best job I’ve ever had, but I feel I’m the best nurse I’ve ever been working with BrightStar, and the biggest reason is because for each of my clients I feel that I can give 100% of myself.
Donna Pena, RN | Care Coordinator
I have been a RN for 35 years and it has been quite a ride. My nursing experience has been 11 years hospital, many years in infusion, home health, and in the clinic setting spending many years providing education and infusions for cancer patients. From management to hands-on, the reward has been being with the patient providing love and care. My life is full of hard work and love – I have a husband, daughter, son-in-law with a new baby boy on the way. Now, I begin with a strong and wonderful BrightStar Care Team of professional nurses and caregivers to complete my career.
Brittany Ryburn | Customer Care Manager
I received my Medical Administrative Assistant Certification from Olympia College and have eight years experience in scheduling coordination and medical office administration. My role is to match the skills, personality and availability of our field staff with the needs of each client. My first priority is to be sure that each of our staff members knows where they need to be and when to be there. In the healthcare business, our clients’ needs change with every passing hour. How’s that for job security!
Maria Diaz | Customer Care Manager
I have ten years experience in customer service and love working in a field where I can help people. I’m very friendly and like to laugh. I have two boys who, with my husband, make life adventurous and worth living. I’m excited for what’s to come working at BrightStar. I believe some of the key ingredients for success at our company are dedication and teamwork and I am honored to be part of the team.
Diana Banigan | Staffing Manager
I have been working in the medical staffing field for over seven years. I began working as a Customer Service Supervisor, and later moved to a full desk, meaning I was responsible for the entire staffing process, from recruiting through credentialing and finally placing a Field staff member in a facility for per diem, temp to perm and permanent placements. All my positions had common ingredients: great customer service and working with people. I am a real people person and enjoy working with them on the phone or in person. I bring with me strong recruiting and staffing skills and look forward to doing great things at BrightStar.
Jennifer Kotlarz | Administrative Support
I have over 10 years of administrative assistant experience, along with payroll, accounts payable/receivable & benefits accounting. I’m looking forward to incorporating my various working experiences along with learning new skills to become a valuable member of the team with BrightStar! Teamwork divides the task and doubles the success!
Megan Bennett | Recruiting Manager
I’ve spent many years working as an Executive Director of a non-profit that I founded, and I am now ready to utilize my administrative experience, organizational skills and compassion to be an integral part of the caregiving experience, from assisting in the caregiver hiring process, to payroll, to client needs and administrative support for the entire BrightStar team. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my kids taking them to all kinds of activities. I have a set of teenage boy/girl twins, who play travel sports and keep me busy, and I also have a 10 year old daughter and 6 year old son. I am very honored and excited to be a part of the BrightStar family!
Sara Fromer | Recruiting Assistant
I'm 23 and a recent graduate from College of DuPage. I've lived in Lombard all my life and graduated from Glenbard East in 2013. I'm a big foodie and a huge dog lover, I love my Boston Terrier, Tony. I also love fitness and health.
I'm very excited to learn more about BrightStar and I love how rewarding what we do is! It's great to clients happy and healthy with the care we provide!
Brittany Terrana | Social Media Coordinator
As the social media coordinator, as well as a CNA at BrightStar, I feel a strong connection to my work. I am responsible for growing our social media presence, connecting and networking with others in the home care community, and creating various blogs and newsletters for our BrightStar location. I also provide homecare and staffing duties for our clients.
Taking care of our clients has driven me to help find the best staff to provide care for them, and show the community how amazing the company and our BrightStar Family truly are.
Cory Guzdziol | Admin Support
I am in the process of obtaining my nursing degree. I assist in a variety of ways, including accounting and record keeping. I've been with BrightStar for four years, so I can pitch in and help any team member who has the need.
Our caregivers are carefully screened by our staff to ensure they are experienced and meet our rigorous hiring standards. Each new hire is credentialed through online testing, in-depth face-to-face interviews, reference checks, drug tests and background checks. Our field staff receives training in fall prevention, Alzheimer's and dementia care, infection control, home safety and hospice care, just to name a few. They are also CPR certified and every employee is bonded and insured.
Each month we recognize and reward a caregiver Star of the Month to honor them for excellence in care and their passion for this labor of love. We are proud of our field staff and hold them in the highest regard. Nothing is more important than the quality of care they provide each and every day.
Our entire staff is committed to the community and to each of the residents and businesses we serve. We invite you to experience the passion and professionalism they exude in all of the services we provide.