Tabitha Branum. Courtesy of RISD.

The Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce will host RISD Superintendent Tabitha Branum to deliver her “State of the District Address” at a networking luncheon Feb. 20 at Royal Oaks Country Club. Surprised to learn the leader of Richardson schools will be in Lake Highlands to speak with a group of East Dallas business folks? Well, that’s a story ten years in the making.

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Back in 2013, Lake Highlands High School graduate Ted Hill recruited a band of neighborhood friends and business associates to form the Lake Highlands Chamber. The group supported community businesses — especially small ones — by hosting ribbon cuttings, networking groups, leadership forums and happy hours. They founded Restaurant Week in 2017 and began giving business and community awards in 2018.

Over the past year, the LH Chamber began the process of folding into the bigger and more storied East Dallas bunch. The history of the GEDCC dates back to 1967, and their current president is Chuck Kobdish, a graduate of LHHS.

“The Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce was very interested in bringing the Lake Highlands Chamber into the mix,” says Kobdish. “Prior to taking on the role of Chair, I discussed with the board my desire to further support the interests of Lake Highlands. This was met with great enthusiasm. The chamber has a lot of LH members. We have board members and committee members that live in Lake Highlands. We are connected with the community and determined to continue strengthening these connections.”

Just one month into the year, GEDCC has had numerous opportunities to connect with Lake Highlands neighbors. Their Young Professionals Group met at SoCo, and their Table Talk with Chairs gathered at Vector Brewing. Cedar and Vine will host their monthly Happy Hour on Feb. 27, and Top Golf will be the site of their Young Professionals kickoff event in March. Last year, Momo Italian Kitchen participated in their inaugural Cocktail Passport.

“Networking opportunities abound at various locations inside the loop. Monthly luncheons will include keynote speakers and panel discussions on relevant topics of interest to our community.  We have a mobile app, allowing access to our member directory and member-to-member coupons. A Jobs Board connects eager job seekers with potential employers. There are sponsorship opportunities for every budget. We post Member Spotlights on social media, and members can be featured on our Chamber Chicks podcast. Our quarterly Food for Thought is a popular business development lunch n’ learn addressing subjects like Social Media Best Practices, Google Business Profiles and How Best to use AI in Business. Our Economic Summit, held in October, is our largest event of the year, with marquee speakers sure to educate and entertain. For those under 40, our Young Professionals Group is active, engaged and lots of fun. And soon, members will have access to our Community Calendar where they can post special events. With well over 50 events a year, there are countless opportunities for our Lake Highlands neighbors to get engaged and have their businesses well-supported,” says Kobdish.

Though he now lives in East Dallas, Kobdish says he cherishes memories of his days at LHHS and Forest Meadow.

“In junior high, I far too often skipped school at ‘The Ghetto’ and made the walk to Brother’s Pizza for a slice. I grew up in LH, and though I now live a few miles south, I still hang out in my old stomping ground. I love Lake Highlands and the LH community.”

You may join the GEDCC online here. To learn more about attending Tabitha Branum’s luncheon, click here.