Background about the Fire in the Belly Project

The maiden voyage of the Fire in the Belly Project was steered by an extraordinary group of five local business people.  When first approached with the concept, they each grinned, immediately "got" it, and were on board.  For the 2010 series, they recommended storytellers from the business community, business themes, venues, program formats, and committed to tell stories about their own experiences.  The 2010 Fire in the Belly Steering Committee included:  Don Banducci, Gregg Foster, Barbara Groom, Kit Mann, Angie Schwab, and Lynette Mullen.

Maggie Gainer

Maggie GainerMaggie Gainer grew up in a family where stories were always told to help get your point across.  She first became fascinated by business stories at the age of 12 when she accompanied her dad to interview the owners of several small town weekly newspapers around central Ohio.   A 37-year resident of California's Redwood Coast, she's continued to collect stories from her adopted home.  Her own hard-earned experiences in starting and operating Gainer & Associates in a highly competitive business climate, and other entrepreneurs' stories of determination, creativity, failure, resilience and resourcefulness inspired her to start Fire in the Belly.   For more information about Fire in the Belly, you may reach her through

Jeff  DeMark

Jeff DeMarkJeff DeMark served as consultant and coach to the entrepreneurs telling their stories in the Fire in the Belly 2010 series.  He has written and performed five solo theatrical works, he calls "modern storytelling."  His show, "Went to Lunch, Never Returned" was named "Best Theatrical Show of the Year" by the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, WI.  He inaugurated the tenth annual season of the Windfall Literary Series in Eugene, Oregon; and as part of College of the Redwoods' 2002 Visiting Writers Series, he was commissioned to write and perform the multi-media show "Hard as a Diamond, Soft as the Dirt."   In recent years, his performances mix songs and stories with a band that sings and plays their own tunes.  His shows are well-attended and his audiences come ready for a good time.  As Underwriting Coordinator for KHSU Radio, DeMark is well-known to the Redwood Coast business community.

Peter Jermyn

Peter JermynPeter Jermyn grew up on a farm and listened intently to the adults at the dinner table.  He could tell that their stories were meaningful to them in more than just the telling.  There were aunts, uncles and neighbors at those meals and their stories helped shape his life’s path.   A diversity of business involvements has challenged Peter’s character in many ways over 35 years.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to engage in both building partnerships and also developing employees.  Accepting those challenges has been a continuing source of more story material.   Having rural roots has made this Humboldt county entrepreneur at home with the immense variety of customers who make up this region. Those connections with both the workforce and the marketplace have reinforced his belief in the transformative power of sharing our stories.  Recently he has been working on his storytelling skills as a member of Toastmasters International.

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