Last edited 12:06 p.m., Nov. 8, 2019
Trysta Herzog isn’t afraid to speak up.
She’s an active voice in the community for women and children who are experiencing homelessness, sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse disorders or mental health.
Herzog does so as a member of the Mayor’s Commission for Children, Me Too Springfield, the Homeless Youth Task Force through the Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness and the Junior League of Springfield’s At-Risk Youth Committee.
“Having a personal experience of each of those challenges, I am uniquely able to use my story to bring those survivors to the table with me as we discuss issues and solutions facing that population,” she says. “No one chooses to be homeless, and once you are, the stigma alone can keep you there forever.”
Herzog knows she can’t solve the problems in Springfield alone.
“We must have a unified vision for what that even looks like and bring many voices to the table to hash out what the framework and action steps are,” she says, “and then pass the microphone to those who are not like me or you, so their experience can be validated to make this the most beautifully inclusive place to live and work.”
Herzog was the first whistleblower in 2017 of the alleged misuse of public funds in Greene County, which resulted in a state auditor’s investigation. She was serving as the director of communications and public engagement for the county at the time.
“Frankly, it was isolating and terrifying … witnessing the mistreatment of others, standing by as laws were being flouted and facing daily intimidation to stay silent. It was a risk I felt compelled to take,” Herzog says.
After Herzog left her job at the county, she joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks Inc. as chief relations officer. However, amid budget cuts earlier this year, the nonprofit could no longer fund her position.
The next step was starting her own company, Monarch Marketing and Business Solutions LLC, in September.
She says she’s hopeful to work with both nonprofits and private companies.
“(Nonprofits) need to be able to tell their stories in compelling ways so that donors will commit and the community will rally behind what they’re doing,” she says. “I foresee it being a little harder each year for nonprofits to be able to have those key communications and marketing professionals.”
Before working for Greene County, she was the strategic communications specialist at Missouri State University, co-publisher at From Our Nest Publications LLC and editor for a quarterly journal, Inside Homeland Security.
The Forward SGF comprehensive plan was born from the input of residents, and one message that came through loud and clear was their desire for connection.