NANCY LAMBERT, M.S., CRC, CFT, DAC HR Manager, U.S. Rubber

A skilled relationship builder and professional psychiatric rehabilitation counselor, Nancy Lambert brings a good humored and fiercely passionate approach to her role as HR manager at U.S. Rubber, a California-based manufacturer that diverts discarded truck tires from local landfills to make sustainable fitness flooring, acoustical underlayment and vegetation control matting while employing a second-chance “Bounce Back!” workforce.

Lambert’s work screening candidates and meeting confidentially with employees to help them resolve issues inside or outside the workplace is essential to Bounce Back!’s success. Since she was hired in 2021, her efforts have increased employee satisfaction, decreased turnover and catalyzed personal and professional growth for dozens of people. Today, about 66 percent of the company’s employees are formerly incarcerated people now living productive, crime-free lives, up from about 50 percent when Lambert joined the team.

Lambert has more than 30 years’ experience working with justice-involved populations, and at U.S. Rubber she draws on past roles working with gang members in South Los Angeles and serving as a federal parole and probation officer. During those years, Lambert says the most important lessons she learned were how to disarm tension with humor and recognize everyone’s humanity—while helping them to do the same.

Lambert is a personable expert source on the difference between offering a job to a potential second-chance employee and building a program designed to help them bring their best self to work every day. She can talk in detail about best practices for screening, interviewing and hiring second-chance candidates, including qualities to look for that indicate a higher chance of success. She can share why knowing how to listen is more important than knowing what questions to ask during an interview and why trust should be extended to second-chance (also known as fair-chance) and “traditional” employees equally. And she can describe the kinds of services (transportation, housing, clothing, and so on) that second-chance employees may need, and how to help them access those services.

In addition to her role at U.S. Rubber, Lambert offers her services on a volunteer basis through Attorney Therapist to couples navigating divorce and participates in Executive Connections, an Orange County networking group. She earned her B.A. in sociology with a minor in psychology and social work from the University of Southern California and her M.S. in psychiatric vocational rehabilitation counseling from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Nancy Lambert

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