Accessibility of Leadership


(By Matthew R. Love) 

Hello Beach Community!

I sincerely hope this message finds you well as you continue to navigate through a year of unique challenges. A few months back, when Ed and Kim Ryan invited our team to share in this publication, they humored me by agreeing to let me share a few leadership-based thoughts. I am, and will no doubt be, a student of leadership each and every day I serve our community.

In the recent environment, so many of us have found leadership challenges thrust upon us like never before. Whether we are local business owners, board members, or members of our community striving to aid others through these times, we are leaders.

In this installment, I would like to highlight the power of your leadership ability, through accessibility. To do this, I rely on something you may be just as fond of as I am. We all have that thing, you know that thing in our lives that we just can’t quite see making it through the day without. For me, a hot cup of coffee is that thing. I really can’t imagine being productive without it, and in my mind, the smell of coffee represents the essence of what’s right in the world. In fact, you may likely see me around town early in the morning getting a little work done in some of our great coffee establishments. However, there is one thing I never expected to gain from this essential fuel, a leadership perspective from the marks of lessons learned through success and failure; what I call “Coffee Stains.”

A couple of years ago our family made the life altering move from Colorful Colorado to Tropical Florida. Like many major life changes, this leap was packed with lessons, challenges, and rewards far greater than I could have anticipated. We miss many things about Colorado; the seasons changing, the beautiful snow, and for me, the absolute and complete accessibility of my required daily fuel-good coffee.

In Colorado, coffee takes on a different standing in one’s life than here in Florida. In Colorado, I could be in my favorite coffee shop and simply look down the street to see another coffee shop of the same brand. I am sure this is part of a marketing plan based on convenience and product demand, which resulted in an unmistakable and reliable level of accessibility. It is this accessibility that provided me, the avid coffee drinker, with comfort. I knew that wherever I was, my little cup of joy was near. They opened early, closed late, and I always knew what to expect. My fuel was accessible, and that accessibility provided me comfort.

In Florida, things are a little different. Not only is my favorite coffee location not as prevalent, it takes some searching to track it down. As a foreigner in a new land, this lack of accessibility created discomfort. The reliability that I knew so well, that I depended on time and time again was absent, and this absence led to an uncertain, unreliable feeling.

As a leader, accessibility is essential to building a high performance team and adding value to a community. There are many stages of team development, all of which require time, planning, strategy, and growth. Within these phases of building the environment we desire, the need to model actions requires accessibility, which in turn provides reliable comfort for our team and community.

When others know they can count on us, that we will be there when they need us, experiencing reliability, we can gain the freedom to allow growth and development at varying levels. Just like my favorite coffee franchise right down the road bringing me a feeling of comfort in seeing that logo in close proximity, we can provide this same feeling to our team and community through accessibility. Accessibility provides comfort, and that comfort can be the needed link to unlock high performance results in our employees, teams, and community as a whole.

With great respect for the leaders out there in our community, thank you, you make our community what it is and we need you now more than ever before!

Matt Love

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department can be contacted at (239) 590-4200, by email at, or visit us on the web at

Comments are closed.