Mary Bozarth is a problem solver, but based on her resume, problem solving is putting it lightly.
For the last two years, she’s worked at Little Sunshine’s Enterprises Inc., which is the parent company of Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool. There, she holds the title of in-house general counsel.
Bozarth graduated with a law degree from the University of Miami, but her job includes tasks beyond what she learned in school.
“Since joining Little Sunshine’s, I have essentially created a legal department from scratch,” she says. “In addition to duties that are traditionally ‘legal,’ I now also handle employee and parent issues and am essentially the human resources department for nearly 700 employees across 10 states and 22 schools – and growing.”
Bozarth says she believes in excelling in her career, so she can make a difference. Even though her job asks more of her than what she ever expected to do while attending law school, she just sees it as proof that she truly is growing her skills and expanding her leadership in the workplace.
“Many years ago, when I was in private practice in south Florida, a partner told me that people ‘vote with their feet,’ meaning, the better you are at your job, the more things you will have assigned to you,” Bozarth says.
Rochette Dahler, CEO and founder of Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, says Bozarth loves the law and representing the little guy.
“She has a passion for the law, education, working with children and families,” Dahler says.
Outside of her job, she is a member of the Junior League of Springfield, holding the positions of chair of admissions and currently management director-elect.
Bozarth says her proudest accomplishment was being named to the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board, which is an appellate board that reviews decisions made by the state Children’s Division. She says the role combines her JLS work with other past volunteer efforts.
“I have worked to advocate for disadvantaged children since I was a student intern at the University of Miami School of Law Children and Youth Law Clinic,” Bozarth says.
She’s also on the Greene County Domestic Violence Shelter Board and the Springfield Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations, as well as a board member of the Diaper Bank of the Ozarks and Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. Previously, she’s served as a Springfield Little Theatre associate board member and Big Brothers Big Sisters lunch buddy. She’s also worked in various capacities with the Campbell United Methodist Church.
“I hope my efforts in and outside the workplace do something to make Springfield a better place to live and work,” Bozarth says.
The congregation at Crossway Baptist Church is building a children’s wing at the west end of the church, and beginning in 2024, it will be home to a Christian academy.