Executive Leadership


Robert T-Ray Manley lll

Robert T-Ray Manley III joined as Executive Director in November 2019. Robert provides strategic leadership and operations, guiding the The Way Back’s mission and expanded impact. Robert is an experienced nonprofit professional with demonstrated success in philanthropy, community development, leadership and social change.

Robert previously served as Chief Impact Officer at Operation Blue Shield, Managing Director of Economic Development at Community Council, Chief Operation Officer at North Collin Habitat for Humanity and Community and Workforce Development at Dallas Leadership Foundation.

He has vast ministry experience including, church planting and community development in Atlanta, Georgia and the south Texas/ Mexico Border area. Robert also served as Executive Director of Vertical Ministries, a Community Development nonprofit. Robert holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Leadership from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts and Applied Science from Howard Payne University.

Our Staff


Katie Milholland

‪Katie joined The Way Back as the Director of Reentry Programs in January of 2020 and brings with her nine years of experience in reentry and prison ministry. Prior to coming to The Way Back, Katie was the front line coordinator for a Dallas based nonprofit organization serving over 600 individuals annually, both in and out of prison. She is deeply passionate about providing equal access to resources, jobs, and housing to returning citizens. Seeing lives changed, families restored, and our communities safer is the driving force behind her work in this field. ‬‬


Elsie Birdwell

Elsie joined The Way Back team in 2012 overseeing the administrative functions as Office Administrator whereby she completes various tasks to support the Director. Her responsibilities include managing all aspects of payroll, human resources, accounting, and coordinating office activities and board meetings.

Elsie’s completed several college computer and accounting classes and has more than 40 years’ experience as an administrative professional. Prior to joining The Way Back, she was a Human Resources and Payroll Coordinator for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and its 20+ branches. She also worked for Systems Contracting, managing their human resources, payroll and accounting departments. Additionally, she prepared multi-company taxes, payroll and bookkeeping/accounting for LJ Tax Services. These prior work experiences provided the perfect foundation for her current career.

Board of Directors

Harry J. McCalla

Board of Directors
Robert D. Hemphill
Richard Christy
Robert Billingsley
Jimmy Strawn
Jan E. Howell
David L. Echols
Ron Brown
Frank Able