By Sarah Nguyen
It’s not often you hear the words microfinance and ministry in the same sentence, but for Ryan Holloway, they’re a match made in heaven.
Holloway (MBA’16) got his start on the mission field in the Dominican Republic in 2008, where — armed with a business plan and a degree in economics— he successfully launched a microfinance ministry helping women start small businesses.
“That first ministry opportunity was really formative for me,” he said. “I was a young guy, kind of entrepreneurial and really interested in serving God’s kingdom. Right out of the gate I got a chance to merge those two things.”
Yet as Holloway began to find success in the nonprofit world, he noticed a bit of a deficit when it came to qualified Christian leadership.
“I came to realize that in missions, and ministry in general, there was a need for good leaders. I wanted to be that kind of leader and marry my credentials with experience in a Christian setting.”
“I was already speaking the language of Regent and the premise of their MBA program — that business was a mission field — so it made sense to go to a school that is such a strong organization in the Christian leadership development space.”
Halfway through his MBA, Holloway started work as the director of marketing and communication with International Cooperating Ministries (ICM), a Christian nonprofit dedicated to establishing healthy churches in every community around the world.
He now serves as the executive director for Care Net, whose mission is to bring hope and resources to underserved women on the Virginia Peninsula facing unplanned pregnancies.
“If there’s a reason that an economics student became a missionary, and then a fundraiser, and then a marketer, and now an executive director … I think the thread has been that I’ve always enjoyed tackling problems that nobody really knew how to tackle,” he said.
That, combined with Holloway’s passion to bring a message of God’s redemption to every tribe, tongue, and nation.
“I just felt like God was saying, ‘There’s a main point here. I think you’d be pretty good at making it [His plan] happen and being a part of this on the frontlines.’”
Not only is Holloway finding success on the frontlines caring for those in need, but he’s also helping to inspire the next generation of business leaders.
“Recently at a banquet, a guy came up to me and said, ‘You probably don’t remember me, but 10 years ago, right before you left the DR, I came and served with you in microfinance for a week with my college. I circle that week with you as one of the most transformative weeks of my life.’
“He went on to get his doctorate in economics and plans to do microfinance in some capacity,” Holloway added. “A lot of people in ministry never really hear about these stories or the people they help, so that was a really sweet moment for me.”