B o a r d   o f   D i r e c t o r s

Betty Hoeffner is a bullying prevention expert, keynote speaker, author & co-founder of Hey U.G.L.Y.-Unique Gifted Lovable You, the national nonprofit organization that empowers youth to be part of the solution to bullying, substance abuse, racism and suicide. Content on the website, and in their school assemblies, are saving the lives of young people who are suicidal due to bullying and childhood trauma.

She developed and wrote the highly effective Stop Bullying Task Force Program, a peer-to-peer learning experience which allows older students to help younger students uncover ways to stop external and internal bullying. She created Deal, Feel, Heal, a program that empowers youth to get in touch & heal their inner pain. She also created: Bullying Bystanders Unite to Stop the Development of a School Shooter, the HUE-MAN Being Ending Racism program, Project Apologize, Laughtercising(tm), Cyberbullied Unite and, much more. In 2008, Hoeffner created, and hosts CHOOSE TO CHANGE which streams worldwide on WRHC-FM. Together with teen DJ’s, the show features songs with lyrics that inspire positive self-esteem, diversity, a healthy planet, peace and never giving up.

This former public relations expert, whose advice is featured in the book 303 Marketing Tips, developed a teen grooming program for Supercuts; teen safe driving program for Precision Tune; a social studies project for Willy Wonka Brands. While serving as partner at FTF, she helped develop a program teaching students the importance of exercise to counter the obesity epidemic. She is executive producer of the award-winning film, “Things You Should Know Before Entering the Hospital.”


Nana Gilbert-Baffoe is president and founder of Tracking202, a San Diego, California based PPC Affiliate Marketing Analytics company. He contributes his web development, marketing and e-commerce expertise to Hey U.G.L.Y. with unwavering dedication. 


Dr. Sue Bryant, PhD, Treasurer, has been in education more than 40 years having taught college  (Florida State and St. Mary’s at Notre Dame), middle school, grammar school and educational laboratory schools. She was a school principal for 17 years.

Cortney Holt, BS Pyschology at Purdue University North Central know first-hand the impact Hey U.G.L.Y. can have on bullied youth. She has been using the tools provided on our website since she was 17-years old and is advocate for youth and suicide-prevention.

Victor Vargas, President, is president of Hey U.G.L.Y. and a presenter of our self-esteem and empathy-building bullying/suicide/racism/gang prevention school assembly. He is a rapper known as Lil Sylnc, music producer and author of  ALMOST BULLIED TO DEATH,  which chronicles how his life was saved by Hey U.G.L.Y. after years of being emotionally, physically, and spiritually bullied in school. His artwork made it into Hey U.G.L.Y.’s Hue-Man Kind A Book To End Racism and was featured on Nick News Tonight. Vargas deeply understands the differences and similarities among his peers. His rap music is lyrically created to help and educate youth to know they are not alone. He brings relateable and positive lyrics from his life experiences of being bullied, and seeing drug abuse, family problems, romantic disappointments, etc. His powerful anti-bullying anthem, No Fist Up, is a song about not retaliating with fists, instead be the bigger and better person.

B o a r d   o f   A d v i s o r s

Al Baker is a filmmaker, website designer/developer, marketing expert, animator, app-builder, and strategic thinker who helps his clients achieve their desired results and grow beyond their dreams. He has been an integral part of Hey U.G.L.Y. for many years, often donating his immense talents to help. He is the designer of the website which is saving the lives of young people who are suicidal due to bullying. He is always on the lookout for ways help Hey U.G.L.Y. find the revenues needed to sustain our nonprofit, which is no easy task. Baker’s fundraising, grant writing and product promotion ideas and insights are invaluable. Beyond which, he diligently ensures Hey U.G.L.Y. remains on the cutting edge of technology to help us continually reach more youth, counselors, educators, and students.

Paul DeCeglie, journalist and former president of the Screen Extras Guild, launched his career as a newscaster with American Radio News (ARN) covering the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, the first-two manned space flights from Cape Canaveral, and the United Nations Congo Crisis. He segued into newspaper writing as a staff reporter for the daily Journal of Commerce in New York, later joining the staff of the Washington, D.C., bureau of the American Banker, and then Managing Editor of the National League Journal. Over the years, DeCeglie transitioned into freelance writing for the New York Times, California Business, Nation’s Business, Entrepreneur, Small Business Startups, and a host of businesses and PR firms. His vast Hollywood connections landed him a part in a movie, then parts in TV, film, and commercials as a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Moving from LA to Pattaya, Thailand, in 2001, DeCeglie became a columnist for Pattaya Today and Pattaya Trader, at the same time contributing his writing skills in support of Hey U.G.L.Y., Kitty Times, and Make Beliefs. Hey U.G.L.Y. co-founder Betty Hoeffner worked with DeCeglie during her 30 years in public relations and attributes much of her success to brainstorming with DeCeglie on the press releases he wrote for her vast array of clients ranging from Muhammad Ali to Supercuts.

Jennifer Jimenez, MSN RN FNP-BC earned her Master’s in Science of Nursing from Indiana University South Bend, and is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She is passionate about suicide prevention and empowering youth to make good choices by learning positive coping skills. A registered nurse since 2000, Jimenez has worked in a variety of settings, including pediatrics; primary care; community health, and behavioral medicine. She has always enjoyed working with youth and families, having been a youth worker in juvenile detention, a charge nurse in adolescent residential psychiatric services, and a travel nurse on a variety of pediatric units in Los Angeles, California. She has been a leader in the healthcare community, speaking out against the stigma of mental illness and raising awareness to prevent suicide. Jimenez participates at  mental health awareness fairs and community panel discussions, works with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and hosts an Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. At the same time, she continues to work with inpatient and outpatient psychiatric clients. She is also a part-time clinical instructor for the Department of Nursing at Purdue University North Central. She is working toward board certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She aspires to work with the medical community by integrating family practice and mental health and promoting awareness and depression screening in primary care and school settings.

John E. Keilly is a managing partner of Strategic Partner’s, LLC, a firm that helps clients better understand and act on the rational and emotional drivers of “big ticket” consumer purchases. Previously, he was a marketing and product planning executive with Ford Motor and one of the company’s first brand managers. Keilly was a key player in the company’s project to better understand the wants and needs of today’s youth. He later led a similar consumer insight project that targeted the Baby Boomer generation. He is active in mentoring and helping young people make good choices and navigate their way through the complex modern world.

Rieva Lesonsky, former editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine has been covering the entrepreneurial marketplace for over 22 years, believes that the path to success lies in taking control of your own destiny. Her motto: “If you believe and if you persist, all things are possible,” applies whether you’re a 40-year old business owner or a 14-year old teenager. While she loves living in Irvine, CA, she remains a New Yorker at heart.

Ira McCray II, Founder/CEO, Incite Digital, is a Creative professional in web management experience coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit and vast experience leading cross functional teams, designing, developing and managing corporate internet and intranets. He is a key player in saving the website when it was close to crashing. His lavish airbnb in Kissimmee, FL is the latest in his entrepreneurial endeavors.

Anthony Pratscher is a musician, film & audio editor, Photoshop expert, archivist, writer, comedian, and 31-year retired letter carrier for the USPS.  He is a devotee of self-improvement, meditation, kindness and nature. His years of traveling the country and Canada in a rock band serve to help Hey U.G.L.Y. reach youth through the power of music. He is also a frequent guest DJ on Hey U.G.L.Y.’s Choose To Change Radio show and is currently writing a book about his life experiences which is bound to contain a lot of humor. His help with graphic design and uploading of videos to our Bullying Prevention TV youtube channel is a huge help.

Brick Casey, rapper, songwriter, co-producer

Leslie Kolber is national accounts manager, new business development at EdGate Correlation Services LLC, a learning management and instructional technology solutions company. Their products include INFORM, SCHOOLNOMICS, EDUCATION WORLD, SCHOOLNOTES, TOTAL READER and SUCCESS. Leslie brings a passion for improving the lives of children and 20 years of sales and marketing experience to the Advisory Board. She is dedicated to helping kids get the tools they need to deal with the tough issues they face today.

Elise Nothstine, B.A. Liberal Studies has over 11 years experience working in child abuse and neglect prevention/crisis intervention.  She also developed and coordinated an art project for the “boys” of the Domincan Republic which she is currently writing a book.

Erik Pocock is an LGBT+ activist from Massachusetts, where he is an active leader in his community. Erik understands that the coming out process can be tough. He went through a lot and he wants to make sure others don’t have to go through what he went through. He is studying accounting and finance at college. 

Jill Zimmerman Rutledge, M.S.W. LCSW is a psychotherapist who has been counseling youth since 1984. Jill maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Avon, Colorado. She has had a long association with ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), an international self-help organization.  She is also on the clinical advisory board for Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique Gifted Lovable You. Zimmerman has published two award-winning self-help books for adolescent girls, Dealing With The Stuff That Makes Life Tough: The Ten Things That Stress Girls Out and How To Cope With Them (McGraw-Hill, 2004) and Picture Perfect: What You Need To Fell Better About Your Body (HCI, 2007).

Christine L. Thomas, CFP – Former financial advisor who has been with Hey U.G.L.Y. since it’s founding in 2002. Her connections to supporters, such as comedian, author, and frequent David Letterman Show guest, Tom Dreesen, have been important to our outreach and fundraising efforts.

Stephanie Melgar – Stephanie, who holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology, is a former deaf student teacher, customer service representative, and technical support expert. She runs her own executive virtual assistant business that helps her clients grow their businesses by creating websites, generating leads, setting appointments, cold calling, and managing email and social media. Stephanie is integral in Hey U.G.L.Y.’s social media marketing. Stephanie was bullied as a child and diagnosed with postpartum depression; She is thankful that God helped her survive and that she is able to contribute her skills to improve our social media accounts..