Simple: It has to be a “God thing.”
Making Up the Rules Anne Holland, President and CEO of Mayco Oil can see that now. But, as with many success stories, most of the time she thought she was just making the rules up as she went along. Little did she know what God was up to behind the scenes.
Not the Best Start Anne didn’t get the best start in life. When she was only three, her father ran out on the family, leaving Anne’s mother to raise Anne and her four siblings alone. Life was difficult for the young Ukrainian family. Anne even had to get a job at age 12 to help make ends meet.
Six years later, Anne married a much older man and moved to the United States. She hoped this would mean a new future for her, but the marriage ended only four years later. With only a high school degree and now a single mother herself, Anne worked as a secretary to provide for her children.
After several years, Anne had the opportunity to become a partner in a corporate travel business, for which she would handle the marketing. This new job suited Anne well. Before long, she made extensive contacts in the Texas business community, particularly in the oil industry.
Opportunity Knocks Around this time, Anne was approached by Jim Hogue, president of a crude oil marketing company in Dallas. Recognizing Anne’s flair for sales, he asked her to come work for him. At that point, however, leaving a stable job to take on anything seemed like too much of a risk for Anne, who was the sole provider for her children. But she did agree to volunteer part-time at the oil company while she learned the ropes. After a year, she would decide whether or not to make the leap.
“So I gave up my social life for a year,” Anne says. She travelled across the States learning about pipelines, trucking and refineries. She even spent New Year’s Eve, 1981 with some “roughnecks” bringing in a well in Wise County, Texas. Anne wanted to learn everything there was to know about the business before she got into it.
She Took the Risk Finally feeling confident enough to do the job, Anne left the corporate travel business and went to work for Jim. But it wasn’t long before he challenged her to go even further: to open up her own oil marketing business. With Jim’s help, Anne did just that. Using her extensive contacts from her travel consultancy days, Anne quickly signed up several new clients and started marketing their oil. The result was an instant success story. “We were profitable on opening day,” Anne says, “and we’ve made a profit every single year since.”
With her business career on track, Anne’s future looked bright. But lingering in the background was a spiritual restlessness, a search for the right church, the right faith, the right God. Although Anne was raised in the church she got little out of church services or Sunday school growing up. Thus, as an adult, Anne wandered through a number of churches and denominations, even dabbling in New Age practices for a short time. But nothing seemed to satisfy her heart.
Finding Satisfaction Then one Sunday morning she heard about a women’s conference at the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles. Anne decided to attend, thinking it would be a nice getaway. At the conference, Anne met Mamie McCullough, one of the key speakers who happened to be from Dallas, where Anne was then living. She recommended Anne check out Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) when she arrived home. Mamie seemed certain Anne would find a church home there.
Anne arrived home that weekend just in time to attend Prestonwood’s evening service. During the service, the pastor shared the gospel and invited anyone in attendance to become a Christian. Surprisingly, Anne found herself weeping and she knew she had finally found what she had been missing: not a church or a faith, but a person - Jesus.
Shortly after becoming a Christian, Anne was baptized - in the Jordan River in Israel no less. She also began to experience a number of changes in her personal and business life. For one thing, she was happier and more content. While she had always spent her life in search of “the perfect man,” now she knew she already had him in Jesus. Anne also discovered Christians coming “out of the woodwork” to help her in her new faith, and it seemed like every business investment she made turned to gold.
Anne also felt God calling her to devote more of her time and money to serving others. Thus, Anne became involved with World Vision, Campus Crusade for Christ, and several other ministry organizations. She currently serves:
- on the board of International Christian Children's Homes which builds orphanages in developing countries,
- New Life World Aid, the humanitarian arm of Campus Crusade for Christ
- Impact XXI, also under the Campus Crusade umbrella,
- Vision Communications a TV Ministry for the Middle East, North Africa and Europe,
- Light of Life Ministries, Bedford, Texas and
- Mt. Zion Ministries in Arlington, Texas.
As God blessed her financially, she was able to contribute more and more to these organizations, helping with everything from micro-enterprise programs to building orphanages, schools and medical facilities around the world. Through it all, Anne discovered a wonderful truth:
“I can’t out-give God. The more I give to charities, the more He blesses me. I never dreamed I’d be able to do that. I honestly don’t even know where all these blessings have come from.”
One of those blessings turned out to be the perfect man - Anne’s husband Gene, whom she married three years ago. When she met him, she couldn’t believe it, because he matched her “shopping list” of qualities exactly.
“It just goes to show you should be careful what you pray for,” Anne says. “You just might get it.”
Anne also comments that:
"A business principle God has taught me is if you ask Him to lead you in serving Him with your business, job or career, you'll be successful beyond your wildest dreams. But to do this, you must devote your captial, your profits, your resources and your time to a cause that has been given to you by God. Then look out, because God will help you so you can devote even more of your capital, profit, and time to His purposes."
So all of this begs the question: Why Anne? Why did God choose this little Ukrainian girl from Northern Canada and elevate her to a position where her influence, abilities and resources are felt around the world?
“Probably because he knew I’d help children all over the world,” Anne says. “I’ve always had a servant’s heart. I just didn’t realize it until the last few years.”