OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD – Master Keys of Leadership

Written by Queen Nur

Oh, how we treasure the memory of our Beloved Founder Mary Carter Smith’s storytelling performance of Open the Door Richard.  And, Oh, how pleased we are to honor her legacy by sharing the keys of great leadership….….and bust the door of Greatness wide-open.

What does Mary Carter Smith, Linda Goss, David Walker, Carter G. Woodson, Booker T. Washington, Chancellor Williams, Geoffrey Canada, Gil Noble, Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer, all have in common?  They are all great Leaders.


Enthusiastic about Mission



Efficient in Best Practices


Jimmy and Tonja Caldwell of Caldwell’s Leadership Solutions presented the first NABS Webinar for Members Only on March 26.  Jammed packed with information and resources, we received four keys to organizational success in a 90-minute electrifying presentation.  We know that there are many kinds of keys…luggage keys, door keys, treasure chest keys…but the keys we received on the Webinar were all Master Keys.  How do you secure entry to success?  What key ignites the right team?  How do you unlock community engagement?  How do you open the door to good financial practices?

The Caldwells explain that the answers lie in a formula “W=TSD.  Words equal what we Think, Say and Do.”   So once again, we come to understand the un-deniability of Nommo – The Power of the Word.  It is always the mission of the organization that propels the TSD.  So the first master key is to be Mission-Driven.  Board members must embody the mission in heart, speech and action.

The next key has to turn an ignition – Getting the right people on the Bus and the wrong people off of the Bus in order to drive the mission forward.  The key is to get team members who are willing to serve not just to sit. Often folks say, “Oh, this is a volunteer thing, so we can only expect what folks are willing to give.”  DON’T set your expectations low.  The expectations for your organization should not be any less that what would be expected to run any other successful business.  We no longer have to pay the fare on the front of the bus, as did Rosa Parks, and then get off and walk to the back of the Bus to get on.   The entrance is in the front – meaning – board members should be dedicated to forwarding the mission of the organization at all times – Doing the working.

It is the actions of the team that influence the community and transform lives.   With this key, we are given entry into making a difference through Community Engagement, while at the same time, building an army of support for the organization’s mission.  The Caldwell’s reiterated, “You DO NOT want your organization to be the best kept secret.”  If you are not influencing the community, how can you mission be forwarded?

To open the door fully we need the fourth key – the key to BEST Financial Practices. 

Balance (Diversify Sources – Over 70% of donations come from individuals – Don’t just depend on Grants)

Evaluate budget monthly (Compare budget with actuals to assess current status)

Sustainability (Does your financials tell a story of sustainability?)

Timeliness (Honor Deadlines, File and Report on Time)

With the four keys now on our master key ring we are able to open the door to success.   But how do you make sure that none of the keys get jammed in the keyhole.  AAAH…. Four more FREE Webinars to go in this Leadership series.  The next is on April 10.  Members be sure to sign up at

* Open the Door Richard is a monologue made famous by Dusty Fletcher in 1947 and performed by such greats as Pigmeat Markham and Mary Carter Smith.



3 comments on “OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD – Master Keys of Leadership

  1. amasewa says:

    Interesting, motivational coverage of a webinar that evidently rendered much food for thought in regard to ongoing organizational development. In terms of Mother Mary Carter Smith, are any of her performances, particularly “Open the Door Richard” online?– (for the benefit of those of us who did not experience her enthralling performances.)

  2. nabstalking says:

    Great Question: It will take some research, but quite well worth it. Here is a tribute to Mother Mary from the induction of her Wax at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. It’s a great introduction to Mother Mary for those who never had the pleasure to meet her.

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