This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

BrightStar Care's Shelly Sun: From Frustrated Consumer to CEO

(BrightStar Care's Shelly Sun is the fourth successful entrepreneur to be profiled in our series highlighting women in small business.)

GURNEE, Ill. ( TheStreet) -- Shelly Sun and her husband, J.D., started BrightStar Care, a health-care staffing company, a decade ago after failing to find suitable care for his grandmother.

As CEO, Shelly Sun has taken the company to far-reaching success, helped by the fact that the franchise is smack in the middle of one of the hottest growing sectors of business: elderly care. BrightStar Care now has 180 franchisees with 260 locations, employs more than 50,000 health-care workers and services more than 31,000 customers every day.

Besides running BrightStar, Sun is on the board of directors for the International Franchise Association, the industry's main trade association, has written a book, Grow Smart, Risk Less, and was even featured on CBS's popular show Undercover Boss last year.

>>>Janska's Erickson Breaks Mold for Older Entrepreneurs

>>>How One Woman Broke Into The Auto Supply Industry

>>>Style Me Pretty's Larson: Women Business Leaders

Sun has been recognized by the Women Presidents Organization and American Express OPEN as No. 1 in their Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Led Organizations in 2011.

A recent conversation with Sun follows.

How did BrightStar Care get started?

Sun: In late 2001, my husband and I were looking for home care for his grandma, and we needed the whole range of services from companion care, some help with bathing and then she needed nursing care. It was difficult for us to find one company that could do everything. We had to coordinate through multiple providers. None of them really seemed like grandma was the most important thing to them. [Instead] quoting us a rate, getting us off the phone seemed like the most important thing to them.

Unfortunately, she passed away the day before my husband and I got married. It was very impactful for us. And so we spent a few months kind of thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives. I was a CPA working in corporate America. My husband was a trader. We decided to take the funds we had built up and go into business for ourselves, helping grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads much like we were trying to do for [my husband's] own grandmother. We started our business in October 2002, about six months or so after she passed away.

Neither of us were coming from a health-care background, [but] I had seen so much from a consumer perspective. What we were looking for and feeling so passionate about was the difference we wanted to make for other families. We knew we could do this well. We knew we certainly could do it better than the horrible companies we had contacted by phone and got their answering machine or their answering service after hours.

What was the best piece of advice you received when starting the business?

Sun: We really tried to spend time and talk to entrepreneurs. What we heard from them most frequently was starting a business is hard; it's going to take resilience, but if you're really passionate about what you're doing and you stay committed, then you can be successful. The best piece of advice that I got was a realistic expectation that there would be good and bad days, but with hard work and resilience, positive attitude and a passion for what we were doing that would see us through.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.21 -0.44%
FB $117.80 -0.22%
GOOG $701.26 0.80%
TSLA $211.34 -5.00%
YHOO $36.94 2.60%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.71 +9.45 0.05%
S&P 500 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
NASDAQ 4,717.0940 -8.5450 -0.18%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs