BrightStar Founder to Deliver Haslam Spring Undergraduate Commencement Address

BrightStar’s founder and CEO, Shelly Sun (HCB, ’02), is a recognized leader in the healthcare industry and recently endowed a franchise certificate program at Haslam.

April 13, 2023

Shelly Sun (HCB, ’02), founder and CEO of BrightStar Group Holdings, Inc., will be the speaker for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business undergraduate commencement, which will be held at 9 a.m., May 20, at Thompson-Boling Arena. The ceremony will also be viewable on livestream. For complete details on the commencement proceedings, including parking availability and security measures, please visit

BrightStar encompasses BrightStar Care, BrightStar Senior Living and BrightStar Care Homes. BrightStar Care provides a national network of medical and non‑medical home health care and medical staffing services, while BrightStar Senior Living and BrightStar Care Homes offer assisted living and memory care in a senior living community setting.

Under Sun’s leadership, Inc. Magazine consistently ranked BrightStar Care among America’s fastest growing private companies, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise has placed the company on its 500 list for the last 13 years, Franchise Business Review continuously ranked BrightStar Care on its Top Franchise list and the Franchise Times placed it on its Top 400 list. Global Franchise Magazine also named BrightStar Care a top women-centric business.

In addition to these achievements with BrightStar, Sun has commissioned major clinical and health care data studies, written a book on franchising—Grow Smart, Risk Less: A Low-Capital Path to Multiplying Your Business Through Franchising—and recently endowed a franchise certificate program at Haslam, the Franchise Certificate Program. Run through Haslam’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the certificate program opens entrepreneurial options for potential future business owners.

Sun’s innovation, tenacity and thought leadership have been nationally recognized. Glassdoor named her one of the top 25 highest-rated CEOs during the COVID-19 crisis and McKnight’s Haymaker Media identified her as a 2023 Women of Distinction in the health care industry. Also, the Global Franchise recently honored Sun on its prestigious 2023 Powerlist as one of the Top 50 Era-Defining Women to Watch.

Before founding BrightStar, Sun held positions as vice president and controller at Avolar and vice president of financial reporting at CNA Insurance. After graduating with her B.S. in accounting from Haslam, she earned her MAcc from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

About BrightStar, Inc.

BrightStar Group Holdings, Inc., is the parent company of BrightStar Care, BrightStar Senior Living and BrightStar Care Homes. After founding BrightStar Care in 2002 in the Chicago area, Shelly Sun expanded the business through franchising, beginning in 2005. Today a nationally recognized brand, BrightStar Care operates more than 365 franchised and corporate-owned locations nationwide, employing 15,000 caregivers and 5,700 registered nurses overseeing the care and safety of each client and generating more than $639 million in revenue.

About the Haslam College of Business

Founded in 1914, the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, consists of more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its graduate and executive education programs, seven departments, six centers and institutes and four forums reach across the for profit, not-for-profit and governmental sectors of business, with a heavy emphasis on practical research. Its nationally ranked supply chain management, business analytics, marketing and accounting and information management programs are well known for their innovative curricula and experiential learning. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was founded in 1794 and was designated Tennessee’s land-grant institution in 1879.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,