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KerryOn: Fire in the Belly

I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of my name. I wasn’t quite sure why my parents named me Kerry. Since college, I have met a few women named Kerry, all of whom were the youngest of three girls. Yet, growing up, the only people I knew with the same spelling of my name were boys. Honestly, my whole life I thought the reason my parents named me Kerry was because they thought I was going to be a boy [I am the youngest of three girls]. That is, until I recently found a baby book of names tucked away in my box of childhood memorabilia. One dog-eared page in the girl’s name section was a definition of Kerry: “One who through experiences discovers the law of change”. It should also be noted that it’s the only name on the page noted as Modern. All other names are referenced Greek or Celtic. Even the name directly above it is Kay; a Greek definition “Exultant; rejoicing”. My name is Kerry Kay.


I think even in the womb my mom could sense I was a Fire in the Belly. She knew I was destined to enter this world, experience it, and create change. Perhaps that is why my Chinese element is Fire. Since I was a young girl, I have had a fiery essence about me that can flame up quickly.  


When I get a Fire in the Belly it smolders within me. I must get it out or it will burn away my insides. These “fires” can take on many forms. They can be an action to create positive change, something I am excited to make happen. And they can be a reaction to something I consider unjust.


The injustice could be directly related to me, or the injustice can be something I witness. Either way, if an injustice becomes a Fire in the Belly, the core of who I am has no choice but to speak up and take action. This has repeatedly taken place throughout my life, and it's one of my personal characteristics that brings equal parts admiration, and frustration. When I get a Fire in the Belly, it can be all-consuming – almost as if it is a wildfire I am continually trying to contain. It can distract me from other important issues and important people. Yet, when I begin to identify the source and manage the situation, there can be positive outcomes. In each case of injustice, the Fire in the Belly begins with a little bit of heat, eventually growing into flames. Each “fire” will ultimately create some type of pain because it will burn, destroy, and damage anything it touches. Yet at the end of the destruction, it eventually leads to new growth.


You have the choice to use your Fire in the Belly as a catalyst for positive change. You can keep your Fire in the Belly inside and let it slowly burn you away. Or you can use your Fire in the Belly as fuel to take action and make a difference. What will you choose to do with your powerful Fire in the Belly?


I want to thank my parents for naming me Kerry Kay. I’ll never know the true origin of my name; all I can hope is that I live up to the definition.

KerryOn Questions

What do you do when you get a Fire in the Belly?

Does the Fire in the Belly slowly burn your insides, or do you use it as fuel to make a difference?

How can you use your Fire in the Belly as a catalyst for positive change?

The Kerry behind KerryOn

My name is Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D. (pron. Fear-Key) I have a unique combination of skills and experience – decades of fast-paced corporate experience in Fortune 100 companies and large health care organizations, combined with the academic rigor of a highly ranked research university. My focus is supporting others to create their own path to leadership development, lifelong learning, and a unique leadership legacy. Take a moment to focus on leadership, then KerryOn!

To see all KerryOn's and other leadership stuff, visit

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