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Meet Jess Tofany


Over the next few months, we’ll get to know some of the Happy Hearts staff and share what drew them to early intervention. We’ll start with Jess Tofany, founder of Happy Hearts and the leader of its team of early intervention specialists. 


In college, Jess took a career aptitude test which suggested she should become a pilot or a speech therapist. As someone who talked a lot with her hands, learning sign language sounded fun and aligned with her goal of finding a rewarding career that helped others. She transferred to a school with a speech therapy program and began taking sign language classes. As graduation neared, she applied to a range of masters programs, hoping to combine speech therapy with a teacher of the deaf masters degree. Despite a high GPA she was waitlisted everywhere she applied. The school year had already started when she got a call from Bloomsburg University asking, “Can you come to class tonight?” She was next on the list and they had a spot for her if she could start immediately. After a two hour drive and a three hour class, she was on her way towards a speech therapy degree. Despite the hectic start, things fell into place, and she even found housing with some friends of a friend.


As she searched for a specialty in her first semester, she discovered she was most intrigued by working with those with hearing loss. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to combine the two programs at the masters level, so she switched to the hearing program to become a teacher of the deaf. This decision was affirmed when one of her classes visited a clinic that taught kids who were profoundly deaf how to listen and speak. By the end of the visit, she knew that’s what she wanted to do.


She completed a fantastic internship at the clinic, but a post-graduation job fell through due to circumstances beyond her control. Instead she found a position at the recently opened Clarke School for Hearing and Speech in Bryn Mawr. There she was able to achieve her dream of helping kids successfully learn to listen and speak despite their profound hearing loss. She also worked closely with parents and learned how to teach them how to teach their children.


After she got married, her family needed to relocate. Jess and her boss established a contract with Berks County Intermediate Unit for their listening and spoken language classroom so she could work there as a Clarke employee. Two years later, while on a maternity break, she decided to start her own business to give her more control over her schedule so she could balance her career and family. In August of 2010 she established a contract with the birth to three early intervention program in Berks and Schuylkill counties and started working with her first client, a child learning to listen and speak after receiving a cochlear implant. 


In January 2011, Jess hired her first special instructor. Since then, Happy Hearts has grown to a team of over 20 independent contractors specializing in hearing, speech and language, occupational, and behavior therapy and special instruction. She named the business Happy Hearts because her goal–and the company’s tagline–is to make a positive difference in a child’s life. At the core, she wants to make each family they work with happy. Their logo of two smiling hearts represents a mom and a baby, because early intervention is a collaborative process between caregiver and child.


Jess has found her career to be extremely rewarding, especially when she gets to see progress in the families she works with. Parent coaching is a critical component to everything she does. She loves teaching parents how they can help their children reach their goals. Her sessions are filled with cool moments and empowering breakthroughs, like when she recently witnessed a child do the sign for “more” in front of his dad for the first time. Although it’s been a winding road, each stage of her career journey has given her the knowledge, skills, and opportunity to make a positive impact on so many lives.

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